Christian Cussing

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths” (Ephesians 4:29)
“Therefore come out from them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

It is with a little bit of fear and trepidation that I get up on my soapbox for this one. It is not my intent to be legalistic, judgmental, or condescending. However, I think this is an issue worth pondering. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this, but it’s something to think about.

Some of the research done by the Barna Research Group has found that there is often little difference between the lifestyles, activities, and values of those who call themselves Christians versus those who do not. It occurred to me several years ago that one of those areas might be in our language. Many Christians think that one of the ways we distinguish ourselves from our non-Christian friends and co-workers is through our language. We don’t cuss or swear or take God’s name in vain. But is this really true? Granted, we have a different vocabulary, but is our speech really any different? Maybe there is something to be said for cultural acceptance of one word over another, but does using a synonym change our intent? Which is more important, the spelling of the words, or the attitude and heart condition from which the words are spoken? They say “f— this,” we say “screw this,” or we say “freaking” instead of “f—ing.” We say “crap” instead of “s—,” “heck” instead of “hell,” “gosh” instead of “God,” and “dang” or “darn” instead of “damn.” We’ve trained ourselves to use different words, but we express the same sentiments. When something doesn’t go my way, why do I feel the need to express my frustration by using one of my selected “substitute” swear words? Rather than using a “non-swear” word, why not rise above it and not get upset?

On another note, one of my personal pet peeves is the phrase “you suck” or “this sucks.” Before I started hearing people say “you suck,” I used to hear non-Christians say “suck mine,” which is a slightly abbreviated version of a more explicit phrase.  Maybe I’m wrong and the two phrases are not connected, but I have heard innuendos in sitcoms and movies that seem to confirm the obscene meaning behind the phrase. Is this the way people who should be known by their love ought to talk?

Well, I hope I haven’t alienated anyone. If you know me, feel free to call me on the carpet when you hear me use a “substitute” swear word, ’cause I do it too, but I really think it would be better if we didn’t.

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