With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? James 3: 9-10 NIV
I place value on being real and authentic. I like down to earth people who dabble in sarcasm and inappropriate humor. I’m drawn to interesting people who color outside the lines.
Fake people wearing masks of perfection bore and irritate me. Show me your scars, your flaws and I’ll show you mine.
I also like to express myself in creative ways – sometimes the best descriptor is a swear word. I know, not popular in Christian culture but I notice the occasional swear word has become more acceptable.
Recently, a friend called me out on some adjectives I used to describe something. He reminded me God in His Word says not to use profanity.
“I prefer to call them sentence enhancers.” I quipped.
“Well, your sentence enhancers hurt Jesus.” he replied. Ouch. I never thought about it that way. He went on to say he wanted every area of his life to honor God – including his speech.
Ever have a humbling moment with someone?
I thought we were having fun and I got called out – rightly so.
The truth is I can get sloppy in my Christian walk. I know I’m not supposed to swear.
- I don’t say the Lord’s Name in vain.
- Swearing isn’t part of my every day language, it’s an exception
- I don’t use big swear words – only minor ones.
- Jesus doesn’t expect me to be perfect
- I’m forgiven
These are things I say to myself about using language not honoring to God.
Sadly, I didn’t think it was a big deal. The problem – I’m not sure it would be included in the Bible if God didn’t.
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4 NIV
I get to choose what I listen to, read, watch, where I go and how I speak.
I can pretend it doesn’t matter to God but it does.
He cares about how I live and the choices I make. He notices when I choose things that honor Him and when I don’t.
I want my life, my words, my actions to honor God.
I want this because He descended from Heaven’s perfection to reside in the dirt and dust of humanity on a mission of rescue. He came to rescue and redeem me from a debt of sin I can not pay – a sentence that includes all He willingly took on.
He endured rejection, abandonment, ridicule, slander, brutality and a crushing death in the person of Jesus for me.
I would not use those words, the ones I defend and justify, in front of my pastor or in the Presence of Jesus.
It is conduct unbecoming – it hurts my testimony.
Imagine a non-believer overhearing language seasoned with swearing and discovering I’m a Christ follower – I don’t want the words I say to discredit my Savior or block a lost person’s way.
I can be authentic and real and still honor God. There is no need to wear a mask or pretend to be something I’m not. God made me, He can use me – a plastic, stereotype version of me is not the goal.
Instead, I continually surrender my ways, my speech, my life to the One I follow.
When I fail and fall, I bring it to God, ask for forgiveness and begin again.
- I willingly bring chaff to the fire and allow Him to burn the dead wood.
- I remember I am here to serve not be served.
- I guard against yeast.
“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. Galatians 5:9 NIV
I leave you with two sayings:
“God is in the details”
“The devil is in the details.”
Both are true – which details will I choose?