WHAT IS IN A INSULT?

What it is like to be mooned by a peacock
What it is like to be mooned by a peacock

choosing language carefully – being considerate byvioletwisp is an interesting post. I suppose it is also a relatively harmless post. It only begins with what thinks of Christianity.

What is ‘s focus for the use of considerate language? Well, she does not like certain insulting words, especially “retard”. Here we can sympathize, but we still need perspective. “Retarded” is a word that people use to describe people with learning disabilities. It is simply a word that describes a problem nobody wants to have. “Cancer” is the same sort of word. “Retard”, on the other hand, is a word that some people decided would be cute to use as an insult instead of “stupid” or “dumb”. Hence, the problem is the desire to hurt or insult, not the word.

Why do we insult people? Generally, this desire comes from a deficiency in character. In our pride (see the peacock above), we want elevate ourselves over others. Thus, we can get into these discussions over whether my stuff is better than your stuff, or whether my way is better than your way, or whether I am better than you. Hence, as The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux indicates in the comment thread on ‘s post (see here), intent matters. Are we trying to help someone or put them down beneath us?

silenceofmind makes a different observation in the comment thread. He observes that ‘s post (see here) “is an ode to political correctness and is thus a disgusting insult to the free exchange of ideas”.

Political correctness is a method of shutting people up by shaming them into silence. Supposedly, the politically incorrect are mean and selfish because they don’t use the right words and believe the right things. Political correctness is ironic, actually. When those propounding the glories of their own beliefs angrily shame the “politically incorrect”, they are just engaging in another form of bigotry. To silence their opponents, they end up being at least as insulting and hurtful. Because they can put an end to communication, such exchanges risk unraveling our nation.

What is the alternative? Is it not liberty, the freedom to believe what we wish, the freedom to exercise our own beliefs? So long as we do not infringe upon each others liberty, we do not have to pay attention to people spouting senseless insults. We still retain the right to choose better company.

What about our personal conduct? How do we avoid insulting people? How do we avoid political correctness? To some extent we cannot. No matter what we do we cannot control what others think of our words. We can only work on what is in our own hearts.

Matthew 5:21-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

We can also strive for reconciliation, but that works only to the extent the fault is within our own heart. We cannot make our brother or our sister repent of the their sins. We can only repent of our own.

33 thoughts on “WHAT IS IN A INSULT?

  1. This has been an interesting debate all about the intertoobz. Judgy who is about the precise opposite of Violet politically, wrote a pretty good obscenity laced post about the evils of language and tone policing. I haven’t really jumped into the fray because I can see all sides to the issue. It is somewhat amusing however,Violet for all her language policing has no problem calling Christians names and in fact, her previous post is about moronic commentators. Do as I say, not as I do, I guess.

    For me, I think it’s not about political correctness, it’s not about causing potential offense, it’s about sheer intellectual laziness and wasted opportunity. If you’re going to insult someone at least put some effort into it and pull your dictionary out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If you’re going to insult someone at least put some effort into it and pull your dictionary out.

      Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
      😆

      It is difficult is to chastise the sin without saying we hate the sinner. Of course, these days the sinner wants to be seen as a victim. So it is doubly difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought violets post was very good. Also see the whole pc argument. But your use of Matt 5 28 as “murder begins in the heart” isn’t really true to the text. The whole point of Jesus’s saying in the matt 5 passage wasn’t that murder ‘begins’ in the heart, but that if you hate someone ‘in your heart’ or even are angry with them ‘without cause’ it is the same as having done the crime of murder.
    To be honest, this kind of ‘thought crime being the same as actually doing the deed’ is not something we slow down long enough to consider, and from a person’s perspective who has now actually taken the time to do so, it’s morally repugnant to actually say thinking it is the same as Doing it, but I just had to point out that the passage goes much further than “murder begins in the heart”.

    Like

    1. @KIA

      What I believe Jesus wanted us to understand is that we can control our attitude. It is one thing to think about murdering someone. It is another matter entirely to hate another, to so despise another person that they become an abomination in our eyes.

      We must never forget that God made each of us in His image, that He loves each of us. We have no business hating someone God would save from damnation.

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      1. The follow up vs is 28 that Jesus said if you look with lust, you have committed the act of adultery. Apply the same standard to what Jesus said before and you have thought crime

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        1. @KIA

          Some thoughts are not evil?

          Let’s look at the verse.

          Matthew 5:28 New King James Version (NKJV)

          28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

          Compare that verse with the Tenth Commandment.

          Exodus 20:17 New Revised Standard Version

          You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

          Again, this refers to what you would call a thought crime.

          What is the definition of covet?

          covet
          verb (used with object)
          1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another’s property.
          2. to wish for, especially eagerly:

          How about lust?

          lust [luhst]
          noun
          1. intense sexual desire or appetite.
          2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
          3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually followed by for): a lust for power.
          4. ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish:

          When we covet something or someone, we actively think about possessing what we want. When we lust for a woman, we do not merely gaze upon her momentarily. We daydream about her. If the lady is your wife, that is probably a good thing. if she is the wife of another man, it is not.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. You said I was saying some thought are not evil. Wasn’t saying that at all. I was saying that Jesus called lust and hatred in your Heart the same as sin acted out.

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        3. @KIA

          Before Cain actually killed Abel, Cain had to kill Abel in his heart.

          Before we commit adultery — betraying our spouse — we must commit adultery in our heart.

          Because we are thinking creatures, our thoughts and our words have as much moral significance as our deeds.

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        4. @KIA

          A crime is not necessarily a sin, and a sin is not necessarily crime.

          How are criminals judged? Each criminal — if we can bring him to judgement – is judged in a courtroom. He then stands before a mere judge and a jury of his peers.

          How are sinners judged. We stand naked — known completely — before our Maker.

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        5. You’re straying again. The point was that the thought is not the action nor is it ‘sin’. Neither hatred in the heart or lust in the mind are actions. To call down hell fire and say they are themselves punishable as if they were the same as sins or crimes is just dishonest and not reality.

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        6. @KIA

          Hell is separation from God. What exactly that means,… well, nobody knows exactly what heaven is either.

          The Bible says God will judge us. He will decide which of us He will keep with Him for eternity. He will evaluate our hearts, not our actions. That’s why those who repent and turn to Him are given new hearts. God will not accept the ones we would choose to have on our own.

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        7. He’ll is real? And you know this how exactly? But that is off topic I suppose. There are plenty of even Christians that disagree of course. But you are still left with the idea of Thought crime. That the bible or Jesus says it doesn’t validate it. It rather invalidates them. But there I think you will disagree as I did once.

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    1. Hi mike-

      Thoughtful people may find it insulting that you would cite scripture to make a point…….

      ……..being that you yourself find scripture insulting………….for if you didn’t, then you would no longer rail against that which was allegedly precious to you.

      It’s that doubled mindedness kinda thing. Just sayin. Be that as it may, the word of God is hardly threatened by your own disappointments or misunderstandings.

      But really mike, you are pretending to teach believers? Seriously? This ‘Jesus’ that you speak of. Is He the buddha of christendom which many have fell prey to, or is He the Lord Jesus Christ of heaven and earth? Careful how you answer, lest you insult yourself.

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      1. No cs, Scripture doesn’t seem offend me. As you know because I told you, people use my posts on my family to preach after they’ve been asked not to. That offends me.

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  3. The greatest deception of liberalism is that you have the freedom to say falsehoods. Insults would naturally fall into this category. It is making a statement about someone or something that is false–i.e. calling them a “libtard” or a communist or whatever–and calculated to harm them–emotionally of course–or their reputation.

    With the understanding that insults are this way, then even if you are a libertarian and believe in the horrible logic of the harm principle, insults of any shape or form are not permissible. You simply cannot argue that something “politically correct” and be a Christian. It is absolutely antithetical. You will all now likely cite the instances where Christ said such and such to so and so. News flash: you ain’t Christ. Blaming “PC Culture” for people calling you out for saying something offensive is just a justification for your own sin. It is a shameless self-indulgence. You may argue, “What about times when he are just ‘telling it like it is.'” Trust me: if you are actually telling it like it is in a manner that is blameless, you won’t have people trying to shut you up for being offensive. It probably means that you decided to go Trump on them and then played the victim to hide your own guilt for using the Truth to bludgeon people.

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    1. @plainandsimplecatholicism

      You getting incoherent. I would throw your first sentence right back into your lap, but I am not sure what you are trying to say anyway. Instead, I will point out a sentence that misses the truth by a mile.

      Trust me: if you are actually telling it like it is in a manner that is blameless, you won’t have people trying to shut you up for being offensive.

      You know better than this. If I just say one word, you know better than this. Jesus.

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      1. Punchy? Yes. Incoherent? No. The idea that you have the freedom to say whatever you like is a lie. You do not have the freedom to do that. You have the freedom to speak the truth, not to lie, injure, and deceive. I feel I was quite clear on that.

        I will have to respond to your one word with two and a contraction: you ain’t Christ. I had anticipated that objection and actually addressed it already.

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        1. @plainandsimplecatholicism

          I don’t know what you are talking about. You are making claims you cannot support.

          I am a Conservative. That is basically a Classical Liberal. No Conservative or Classical Liberal advocates lying or claims to be Jesus. We advocate limited government because we concede the fact that none of us has the character required to make any other kind of government work.

          Before you call others liars, consider yourself. You spend a bunch of time whining about my politics and the political positions of others. Yet you rarely shed much light on your own politics.

          Apparently –even that is not quite clear — you support the Solidarity Party. So I suppose I could look up what the Solidarity Party stands for, but if you cannot be bothered to advocate for it, why should I?

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        2. “You are making claims you cannot support.” Or you simply do not understand them.

          “No Conservative or Classical Liberal advocates lying or claims to be Jesus.” Actually, so long as you advocate absolute freedom of speech, you permit any person to print whatever they desire on any subject they desire and deceive whomever they desire. The “freedom of the press” spread obvious lies about Cruz’s wife and father. The press did not have the right to lie. To you liberals–whether you are red or blue, it doesn’t matter–it is perfectly permissible for a man to have his family’s reputation called into question without any evidence. This is you “free speech,” your liberty to lie.

          “You spend a bunch of time whining about my politics and the political positions of others.” So now criticism is whining? For all your criticism of how some people are too PC to accept criticism, this strikes me as some hilarious hypocrisy. I have an opinion and I express it. Because it is contrary to your’s, you call it whining.

          That said, my positions are immensely clear. My blog is free to read for anyone. I know I have stated before that my political leanings follow Church teaching. All of these things are fully available to anyone to see. I haven’t hid anything. From my point of view, you and the rest of the people I have sparred with seem to be too lazy to actually look up anything and content yourselves with defaulting to accusations of communism or socialism or the other isms you have incorrectly defined or perceived in overly simplified rhetoric fitting for pundits, not people.

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        3. @plainandsimplecatholicism

          Classical Liberals do not advocate absolute freedom of speech. We support slander and libel laws. We throw people in jail when they yell fire in crowded theater, and we support laws that prohibit threats and vulgarity. We expect policemen to be treated with respect.

          What you are complaining about — whining about — is the difficulty of regulating political speech and just plain stupid speech. You don’t like the current laws? Then what do you propose? As usual, you did not say. That’s chicken!

          Without Jesus in charge, how are you going to get people to only tell the truth — and not just your truth, but the actual absolute Truth? When we don’t even know what it is, how are you going to get them to do it?

          Note that I claim my political leanings comply — as best I can make them — with the Bible. Since the Bible describes man as sinful — me too — I support limited government.

          Power corrupts. Hence, when confronted with a problem like freedom of speech, I tend to err on the side of leaving good enough alone.

          Better is the enemy of good. — Voltaire (from => https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good)

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        4. “Classical Liberals do not advocate absolute freedom of speech.” You must not have read many classical liberals. Should people be thrown in jail for saying Ted Cruz’s father assisted in killing JFK?

          Force of law is not sufficient. We need to build solidarity through the integration and collaboration of the various social actors. Government is only one part of that. A law restricting lies in the press and elsewhere would not be sufficient. We would need a culture that valued the truth over the convenience of lies.

          Voltaire was the enemy of the Good because he believed that goodness was found in the marketplace. The Good is a matter of virtue and public virtue is a matter of solidarity.

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        5. Force of law is not sufficient. We need to build solidarity through the integration and collaboration of the various social actors. Government is only one part of that. A law restricting lies in the press and elsewhere would not be sufficient. We would need a culture that valued the truth over the convenience of lies.

          What does that tell me? How is it different from the Classical Liberalism you so much detest?

          Voltaire was the enemy of the Good? How judgemental can you get? Have you ever consider the possibility you have a log in your eye?

          Like

  4. I’m sure you already know this, Tom, but Matthew 5:21-26 outlines one of my favorite concepts, murder in our heart, our intent and motivation. So pretty words can be cloaking contempt, hatred, while rough language can simply be culture. So working class men for example, sometimes their language can be all wrong, but their heart is in the right place. Conversely, someone highly educated can use all the right language but be full of venom. So language requires some discernment, some recognition of what is in someone’s heart.

    What bothers me the most about PC speech is that they are policing language and not the condition of someone’s heart, not the intent behind it. I personally think it’s wrong to call people “retards,” but on the other hand, we project far too much into these conversations when we than accuse someone of hating people who are disabled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @insanitybytes22

      Of course, you know the PC police can only police language. Our hearts they cannot know, but some people want to play at God.

      Only God can police our heart. We just have to give it to Him, but that is all that matters.

      Liked by 1 person

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