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Be polite….all the time October 22, 2011

Posted by daniel ayad in Behaviour.

There seems to be a lot of rude people in the world today. I mean I’m sure you know countless people who are impolite and disrespectful. People who are rude and uncooperative are everywhere; you don’t have to travel too far to meet these types of people. You may have some rude people at your school, university, workforce and even your church.

Is being rude a big deal? Everybody, at times, behaves rudely right? Surely it’ ok to throw in a few low key swear words, name call somebody every now and then, and say a not so innocent joke occasionally…..it’s all just part of normal conversation.

Is being rude and impolite a big issue? Surely it’s not a real issue compared to lying, stealing, adultery, and murder…..

Did you know that in America, 72 percent of men and 58 percent of women swear in public. The same is true for 74 percent of 18 to 34 year olds and 48 percent of people who are over age 55[1]. That’s incredibly high percentages. 

What exactly are the reasons that people choose to swear. Here are some:

  1. Swearing is an instinctive response to something painful and unexpected (many researchers say swearing helps relieve stress and blow off steam[2]).
  2. Establish a group identity
  3. Establish membership in a group and maintain the group’s boundaries
  4. Express solidarity with other people
  5. Express trust and intimacy (mostly when women swear in the presence of other women)
  6. Add humor, emphasis or “shock value”. Here is an example (“This concert is f***ing awesome!”). Sure, we could just say “This concert is awesome,” but the addition of the swear word emphasises the emotional reaction we have toward it — and easily conveys that emotional reaction to others[3].  
  7. Attempt to camouflage a person’s fear or insecurity
  8. People also swear because they feel they are expected to or because swearing has become a habit.

Despite swearing being common in society many people do not think that it is ok. Thus swearing is wrong…..but is it bad enough to be illegal? It is interesting to note that in America you cannot be arrested solely for using explicit language. However, you can get arrested if swearing involves[4]:

–          Language that incites people to violence or illegal activity

–          Libel and defamation

–          Threats

–          False advertising

Maybe there is more to swearing then at first glance…….

More than 100 years ago the media was banned from using provocative statements/words. Now people like Gordon Ramsey can swear on a cooking series more than 5000 times. 

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the problems we have of crime and violence occur because the media encourages immoral behaviour. If the media portrays swearing as the norm, why shouldn’t anybody swear when they want?

But back to the original question….is swearing/being rude/impolite a big deal?…….you bet. It makes a BIG DEAL.

The bible puts swearing on the same platform as lying, killing, stealing and adultery, “By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed” (Hosea 4: 2).

Jesus Christ never swore in His life in the flesh. He never swore when He was on the cross, despite experiencing excruciating pain. He never taught us to relieve pain by swearing.

The bible says it is unacceptable to praise somebody and also curse with the same mouth. “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3: 10).

Swearing offends the creator, and the bible never mentions a single swear word anyway.

If we can’t swear, can we ever be rude?……. “love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own” (1 Cor 13: 5)

If we can’t be rude, can we be impolite? …… “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Pet 3:8)

There is no doubt that the language of heaven is full of praise, without any trace of rudeness or swearing. Aim very hard to emulate this language on Earth.

A Christian should stand out from the crowd and lead the way in behaviour. He should not swear at any time. He should not act rudely at any time. He should not be impolite at any time.

It’s hard to uphold these positive behaviours all the time, but Christianity calls for it. If you see the level of swearing and rudeness from many people today you know how desperate society is in need for you to show the true colours of Christianity.

There can be no excuses if you choose to act inappropriately towards others. Being polite, respectful, kind and courteous is very important. These characteristics make a big difference to the other people you interact with, and it makes a big difference to how people interact with you.

Treat people the way you would like to be treated………I for one enjoy the treatment a polite world makes.   


[1] http://people.howstuffworks.com/swearing.htm

[2] Ibid

[3] John Grohol Why do we swear (2009)

[4] See ref 1



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