Suffering Succotash: Is Swearing Healthy?

    By Jeremy Thursday, July 16, 2009

    recent study that has been making the rounds lately, claims that swearing is a natural way for us to deal with pain. The study showed that test subjects were more tolerant to pain (putting their hands in ice-water for as long as possible) when they were allowed to curse rather than when they were forbidden to.

    I don't understand how they could realistically link the two, in my opinion, they're missing a critical layer. Those who were acclimated to cursing have probably done so for their entire lives. It has become second-nature to them, of course they will be more tolerant to pain when they are allowed to do what comes naturally to them. In anything and everything that we do, if we do it in what feels more natural or more comfortable, we are most likely going to do it better or faster. If we are restricted one way or another, our initial result will most certainly be suboptimal.

    The study should have included students who do not normally curse under such circumstances. Their tolerance to pain should have then been measured when they were told to act naturally versus instructed to curse (going against their natural inclination). I would have been very surprised if they were more tolerant to pain when told to curse in that case.

    Ah, but unfortunately, finding such students would have been a study in and of itself.

    Personally, I detest cursing. It really irks me when I hear someone curse casually in a conversation, using it as a way of describing or emphasizing one thing or another. I find it extremely unnecessary and rude and I know I'm not alone. Regardless of religion, I know there is a good amount of people who hate cursing just as much as the next guy, but alas, it has all but been completely socially accepted. Everywhere from your local restaurant, to the grocery store and even in the workplace, cursing is rarely given the subtle backlash or look of disapproval it deserves.

    Regrettably, the habit of cursing is largely adapted at a young age. I'm always amazed at the potty mouths I hear from young children, both behind the veil of internet anonymity as well as in person. Needless to say, the fault lies solely on us -- the youth group leaders, parents and older siblings -- who have a direct influence on these spongebob minds.

    Whether you, personally, believe that cursing is or isn't a "big deal" (although I'm not sure why you wouldn't), we all need to be careful when we're around children and those younger than us. I know we all slip here and there (myself included), but we need to remember that whether we realize it or not, those kids look up to us as an example. We are a direct influence to those around us and when we slip with a word here or there, you can bet that you've opened up the door and made it "not a big deal" in their eyes as well. The blame cannot be put anywhere else, especially as a parent or older sibling (we're even more responsible in that case). So don't blame the duck.

    Pastor Ed Young has a great video on this exact topic here.

    Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
    (Ephesians 4:29)

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