Choice Four-Letter Words

Have you ever been “cursed out” by someone? I mean had a stream of four-letter obscenities hurled at you? What happens inside you? Isn’t your natural reaction to strike back? To begin to a counter-attack with a few choice four-letter words of your own?

It’s natural to feel this way; it’s a very human response.

On the other hand, have you ever been “blessed out” by someone? Had someone shower you with niceties and accolades and compliments? What happens inside you this time? Isn’t your natural reaction the complete opposite? Don’t you want to say, “Well, I think you’re pretty special, too”?

It’s natural to feel this way; it’s a very human response.

But Jesus commanded us to do something counter-cultural, something which requires a spiritual response: “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). Paul amplified this thought: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14).

These words curse and bless are challenging for me. Curse means to hope for someone’s downfall; bless means to say good words to or about someone. Cursing can be done internally or verbally; blessing has to be done verbally. Eugene Peterson captures the essence of this in his paraphrase of Romans 12:14—”Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.

If my natural response is to match curse for curse, obscenity for obscenity, then to respond in a Christ-like fashion is going to take a change of character. To respond with the right four-letter words, I have to do the opposite of my natural response.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for bless carried the understanding that it all hinged on God—He is the focal point. All of the definitions of this word involve a close relationship with God: (a) bless God; (b) bless men in the name of God; (c) ask for divine favor for persons or things created by God; or (d) salute someone because we know God has saluted us.

In the New Testament the Greek word for bless makes it clear that this has to be done verbally, out loud. It is impossible to bless under your breath. In the Greek, bless is the compound word eulogeo = eu- (good) + –logos (words) → saying good words out loud.

Only God is good. So only a closer relationship with our good God will help us say good words to others; especially to those who curse us.

The right four-letter words to use—the un-natural words to use—are: Good words.

I’m challenging myself today to bless others, especially those who curse me. I only want to say good to and about others today. I’m attempting to live out Ephesians 4:29—

  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up (New International Version)
  • Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others (Amplified Bible)
  • Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift (The Message)
  • When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger (New Century Version).

How have you learned to say the right four-letter words to others? What challenges you about this?

6 Responses to “Choice Four-Letter Words”

  1. barney Says:

    I am going to have a glorious day no matter what the “church people” say or do. God loves us, we are the ones that need to change for him not him for us but so often we try to get him to bend to our wishes. I love you God thank you for another day, you are glorious, holy and awesome, there is know one to compare to you. I am a young christian but I think God wants us to embrace each other not repel each other. Today I will spend my time embracing. Have a glorious, embracing day everyone.

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  2. Sherry Pfaltzgraff Says:

    What a Godly Challenge you have put before us today. Holy Spirit come and fill us now with the power of God and the strength of God and the Spirit of God.

    Like

  3. beahale Says:

    Pastor this is great. Never thought about it that way. Guess I should read my Bible more. Bless U and URs

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  4. Steve Says:

    What a great word, I have the natural man in me who desires to return what I receive at times. This is a daily process that requires my flesh to continually be crucified. Thanks for this reminder!

    Like

  5. Denise Says:

    Great, great reminder! I need to work on that blessing outloud part 🙂

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  6. Karen Says:

    Hi Pastor Craig, was going over some of my old emails and came across one of yours. I started reading the four-letter words and “coincidently” we just finished Eph 4 with our 2/42 group and it was all about the unity in the body of Christ and about communication. And boy! I have never been so aware of what’s been coming out of my mouth lately! I need some cleanin’ up! Thankfully, God is patient, ’cause I’ve got some work to do! Bless You!

    Like


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