.... a damn. This is one of the most famous lines in movie history as Rhett Butler expressed his displeasure with Scarlett O'Hara in the final scene of the movie. I remember my grandmother telling me it was the first cuss word ever used in a movie and that she was not permitted to view the over three hour movie as a result. She shared with me that her teenage "wild side" led her to put on a friend's hat and sneak into the theater to see the movie.
How far we have come as a culture to where the words being used are far less gratifying and often extremely offensive. With social mediums, there appears to be an even larger use of profanity as the confrontations take place online and people are willing to use vulgarities without having to look someone in the eye. I have visited several public and private school practices where the music, the players and the coaches were using profanity. I found this disheartening as it appears coaches have capitulated and ceded the ground of common decency to the cultural norms.
It would appear much of this language is captured in what is labeled today as "trash talking". Sports are highly competitive and have been for thousands of years. Trash talking is prevalent throughout most competitive sports. As a matter of fact, we can find many instances of trash talking in the bible and even by Jesus himself. For example, in Mark 2:25, Jesus asks the Pharisees (I’m guessing rhetorically), “Have you never read what David did…” Maybe this isn’t super-obvious trash talking, but to imply that a Pharisee wasn’t familiar with every nook and cranny of David’s life would be pretty insulting. Another example is David himself when he calls out to Goliath and says he is going to cut off his head. That is a pretty bold statement given the circumstances.
So, what is different about trash talking in the bible from much of the discourse today? The audience, the intent and the delivery are where we should focus. When David is addressing Goliath it is on the field of battle, his audience are his allies and his enemy, he is not at the table negotiating peace. Likewise, Jesus is addressing his adversaries, the men he knew were plotting to kill him and his message, and not some earnest biblical scholars seeking to learn. You must always keep in mind who you are confronting when using derogatory language.
In both of these biblical examples, the intent of Jesus and David is to push the Lord's agenda. David is serving notice that by cutting of the head of Goliath he will be exhibiting to all God is mightier than any human and can use a lowly shepherd to cripple a mighty army. Jesus is serving notice to the Pharisees by letting them know he has come to right the many wrongs they have perpetuated through their laws and self aggrandizement.
Finally, notice the delivery did not require profanity from either man. Each man simply spoke the truth as the Lord would have us all do when speaking to one another. If the player across from you want to say something about your mother, then do not return a similar degrading insult. Let your play do the speaking or simply let him know he will not be able to achieve his goals on the field/court of play today. If your brother has decided to use profanity in practice let him know this is not necessary as it detracts from the team's mission to rise above opponents. If you want to be a champion, then seek to rise above those around yourself and set a higher standard in all you do. If you want to be a champion, then you must practice and play like a champion.