Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What the ...?

Can you call yourself a Christian if you cuss?

I have been known to use some pretty colorful language to communicate my feelings.  I cuss.  Btw, I married a sailor, doncha know.  It's funny, I didn't cuss nearly as much while my husband was active duty navy as I do now.  I think this may be because our son was young and I didn't enjoy hearing my four year old using the "f" word.  Now he is 24 and he uses the WHOLE alphabet.  Thankfully, he has enough respect for his dad and me to keep from using it in front of us, ...mostly.  I, on the other hand, am not so good at keeping from using the foul language in front of him.

I just read a status update on the page of a favorite blogger of mine, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary.  She is a christian missionary and she cusses.  I think JTVWM is the real deal.  I see the love of Jesus shining through her blog posts.  But, yeah, she cusses.  The status on her fb page went something like this.
JTVWM is very clever.  She has a clever mind and a quick wit.  I like this about her.  I have a tendency to have a quick retort, as well.  And, I cuss.

Of course cussing isn't the worst of the sins one can commit.  (as if God rated the sins on a graduated scale)  But how we speak does give an indication of what kind of person we are.  I know my mom and dad hate to hear cussing.  So, when I visit my mom and dad, I don't cuss.  See, I can clean up the language when I want to do it.  I have wondered if people exclaiming "Oh My Goodness" as opposed to "Oh My God" were doing a better job of being a Christian than I am.  Believe me, these phrases are just the tip of the iceberg of my inappropriate language.  And, come to think of it, is cussing really a sin?  The bible tells us not to use God's name in vain, but it doesn't say anything about the "f" word or any of the other lettered words.

For the most part, I think the use of the bad language is me just being lazy.  I know if I put a bit of effort into my day to day convos I could avoid the cussing.  I know, because I can do it when I want to do it.  Another thing I've found to be true, for me, is I cuss more when I'm around people who are cussing.  It's contagious.  Another thing about cussing, I think, is it makes me look kind of dumb.  I'm sure I can think of better words to use to emphasize my feelings than the cuss words.  I mean, I'm trying to think of myself as a writer and writers are users of words.  They use lots of words.  On the positive side, does my cussing allow me to "fit in" situations that I may not fit into if I didn't cuss?  I wonder.

One part of the bible always comes to my mind when I ponder my language and the use of appropriate words.  The verses are Isaiah 6:6 & 7; Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

I know this doesn't say anything specifically about bad language, but if sin begins with what we think, then grows with what we say, and then blooms in our actions, it seems like cleaning up the language would be a good place to "nip this in the bud."  (to continue the metaphor)  I think the imagery of angels picking up hot coals with tongs and touching these coals to the lips of the prophet represent purification of the prophet's words as well as his sin.  The prophet MUST speak the truth to the people.  His words must be pure.

Back to my cussing issue.  I think, in my case, I'm going to need to begin with just saying nothing at all, instead of cussing.  People may begin to think I've developed a stutter while working on this "stop cussing" project.  Maybe the look on their faces as they watch me try to speak will help me with my smiling project, too.


15 comments:

  1. I used "bullshit" in my latest post, although I usually stick with "horsecrap." I made a reference to kicking the devil's ass, once. I rarely cuss in my writing, and I try not to cuss in my speech...not so much because I think the words themselves are sinful, but because I want to be sensitive to others, and I realize they'll be less likely to tune out the other (more important) things I say if I don't cuss. It goes to Romans 14:13b (NIV): "Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." I taught Clementine that "crap" and "stupid" are bad words, and, boy, was that a mistake; they're "bad words" I actually use, and now she's on me like stink on poop.

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  2. "People may begin to think I've developed a stutter while working on this "stop cussing" project." That's funny! I sometimes cuss when I'm with certain people in Mexico. Spanish is my native language and cursing in English doesn't have the same impact. ha! To me cursing in Spanish sounds stronger.

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  3. Love this! It is amazing what comes out of our mouths without us even thinking about it. I'm read a book now "Enemies of the Heart"  and it refers to those words as more being a heart issue. So, I've been trying to evaluate my speech and it so seems that when something comes flying out of my mouth usually anger or frustration is involved. So, I am guarding my heart these days. Or trying to anyways ... great post.

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  4. Sometimes certain words come out of my mouth if I'm provoked in traffic, but I try not to do it. Good luck with that.  :)

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  5. It happens. We're only human. I'm sure the good lord will forgive you.

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  6. SouthernGalThoughtsFebruary 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    I hope you are successful in nipping it in the bud.  ;)

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  7. it def takes some self control...i drop a few here and there...smiles...i do try though...i know this was a big deal with a certain christian celeb as well a couple years ago....people questioning...

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  8.  I guess I'm not a christian celebrity follower.  I don't know who you are talking about.

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  9. You're going to have to teach me some Spanish.  :)

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  10. So, do you think using those words is a sin or not?  For some it would be a stumbling block, but for others it's the vernacular of day to day life.

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  11. I don't think the words themselves are sinful, no. There are times when horsecrap just doesn't do the job and only bullshit will do. HOWEVER, if I am cussing with more than just the intention of conveying my feelings...if I am cussing with full knowledge that I will hurt or offend those in my presence, and especially if someone tells me I am bothering him/her, and I take delight in that and keep cussing: I'm sinning. I said all of that moreso with "real life" in mind. As in, it's sinful for me to cuss up a blue streak at the movie theater in the presence of other people, especially when they have kids, especially when they ask me to stop. Now...in blog land things get a little weirder. The reader has the choice to walk away. I do it all the time. I did it just this week, in fact. If someone's words offend me, I quit going to that person's blog to read his or her words. And that goes way outside the context of cussing. If someone gets under my skin, I have the choice to stop reading. So in reference to Jamie the missionary, it's her blog; she has the right to free speech; and she's not taking anyone hostage. She's doing big, important things in the name of Jesus, and I'm not going to judge her. It seems possible to me that she's doing more good than harm. Maybe young Christians who like to swear are being drawn to and strengthened by her; I don't know. I'll probably never follow her blog, personally, especially if she cusses all the time, because I'm turned off by continuous cussing. I'm not judging, just trying to explain my POV. It's the same for me in terms of cussing in movies and has little to do with Christianity. If a movie contains a cuss word or two: fine. If it has continuous cussing, I'm not going to appreciate it. Bottom line: do unto others as you would have them do to you. I am at complete peace with the "bullshit" in my last post, because it's what I meant, and I wasn't trying to dismay, hurt, or shock anyone. Personally, I have way bigger sins to worry about than the occasional "I'd like to kick Satan's ass," which is EXACTLY what I'd like to do. Trust me: if I ever get to the point where my biggest sin is the occasional cuss word spoken with no malice: Lord have mercy, I will have won big victories over sin. One more thought that I think worth mentioning: the Lord doesn't convict us of all our sins all at once. If He did, our heads would pop off. So I think the important thing is to be true to your convictions. If you feel like it's wrong to cuss: don't. If you feel like there are times when it's appropriate to cuss, and you don't feel like you need to ask the Lord for forgiveness, afterwards: great. Be true to yourself and the Jesus within you; be at peace; and hold your head up high.

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  12. I think this answers my question.  Thanks Brandee.  I think, for me, cussing in inappropriate.  I'm just not cute enough, anymore, to get away with a dirty mouth.  :)

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  13.  Eh, I'm probably not either. I think I'll try to follow your example, Evie.

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  14. For me, I watch my mouth for two reasons.  The first is that I have small children. :) But I find that profanity tends to carry strong negative connotations.  I want my speech to be edifying, not filled with angry/abusive/hate-filled words.  That said, I personally think there is a time and place for profanity.  And in those places, I often will use it.  

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  15. It amazes me when I hear Christians cuss or drop the f-bomb.
    I have heard some of my Christian friends and a few time heard my associate pastor
    occasionally drop the f-bomb and I stand there staring… wondering why? I do not
    want to sound self-righteous or holier than thou, but I wonder
    if this is some sort of exhibition of their imperfectionness. Yes, it all about
    grace, for we are saved by grace, but come on, is not what we say comes from
    the heart? Is it just me?

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