The Cussing Christian

It was sixth grade and AOL's Instant Messenger was the new big thing. My friends and I all had our own 'Buddy' lists of our friends. It was then that I began to take a real notice for cussing. A lot of my friends were doing it. A little piece of my sinful heart began to wonder about it.... Should I do it too?!

I knew it was wrong. Neither of my parents ever said a cuss word. I had learned from my older brothers to not say certain things simply because they were no-no's. In my young age, I was ignorant of what the words even meant. They were just things people said when they were angry... or simply because it was another word to insert into a sentence. After so long of witnessing it, I gave in. Only virtually, that is. During IM conversations I would blurt out one of those words. It made my sinful self feel better.. I felt like I fit in a little more.

What is it about cussing that causes people to take part it in anyway? Is it because those words actually mean something? Is it because it's just what 'everyone' does? Is it just one of those bad habits? Does cussing even mean very much anyway?
Should we be concerned?

It turned out that my God-given and never waning conviction turned the tide in my wrestling with cussing. Shortly after, when the guilt became too much for me, I admitted my little online chatting mistake to an older brother. That was the end of it for me.

Since that time so long ago, I've had a variety of conversations with many people about cussing and whether or not it's right. Some say it's just words. Some don't do it just because they know it's forbidden. Some do it only if they believe their emotions are so heightened that it then gives them the O.K. to blurt out a word or two.

Truthfully, the cussing Christian is one that has always had me baffled. Why do Christians do it? And why do they think it's okay? For those who know me exceptionally well, they know cussing is something I feel strongly about, and something I never waver to (Partially because I've already had my brief experience with it, which was more than enough, and also because, thankfully, God has given me an overwhelming amount of grace to keep me from it). The idea of a Christian cussing simply perplexes me.

I've seen Christians in all areas of my life who cuss. Church. Work. School. Close friends.

Not too long ago, I was inquired by someone about a certain word that is typically deemed a cuss word. They questioned whether or not I believed it was a cuss word. Without a doubt I said yes. Their response was somewhere along the lines of... It's not so bad or as bad, and their use of it is only when necessary. Strangely enough, this wasn't the first time the word had been brought to my attention in a question form.

With so many mixed feelings in the air, what is a Christian to do?
Here are my thoughts, take 'em or leave 'em.
(Skip straight down to #4 if you want to be straight and to the point).

1. Words do matter. They show the state of the heart.
One of the biggest arguments is that cuss words mean nothing. It's just a word, they say.
Well that can't be true. Otherwise we could all say God's name in vain and it would be no big deal. Right?

Luke 6:45
"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

Matthew 15:10-11
"And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Talk to a person for a little while. Simply by what they talk about, you'll know a lot of what they value and care for. You'll be able to tell at least a little about where their heart is. Does cussing reflect a heart that is saying "Jesus is Lord over my life and in all things I want to serve and glorify Him"?

2. Speak with intention.
Matthew 12:36-37
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Often times, cuss words are spoken vainly and without much thought. They are thrown out simply because they can be. Does this show a desire for wisdom? Or does it show a lack of self-control through speech? Speak not carelessly like the above verse mentions, but instead speak with intention and purpose.

3. Speak only words that edify you and others listening.
2 Timothy 2:16
"But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,"

Ephesians 4:29
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

Ephesians 5:4
"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."

As long as I can recall, I have yet to hear a cuss word spoken in joy, in thankfulness, or in a positive way. Cuss words are infamously known to reflect negative events, people, experiences, objects, etc. Would God encourage His followers to use these words to build ourselves and others up?

4. Be honest with yourself: Does cussing glorify God?
1 Corinthians 10:31 says,
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

While the other points I mentioned above are important, they all lead to one main point: Does cussing glorify God?
It is the most simple yet most important question. If I am to be straight to the point about the topic of cussing, that is the question I would ask.

And it is not a question just for cussing, you should ask that question in regards to all the things you do in life. If the chief end of man is to glorify God and to be satisfied in Him, then whatever goes against that, we should not do, or at least not desire to do.

As Christians we should not dabble in things that are worldly, even if it's just a little bit - like my friend asking me what I thought of a certain cuss word. We should not say, "Well I think it's OK to go this far, because it's not really crossing the line, and it's really not that bad..." Saying that doesn't show a genuine concern for what pleases God. It shows a concern for how far we can go without entering major sin yet still pleasing our sinful desires.
As Christian's, we are representing the name of Jesus Christ. If someone honestly looks cussing straight in the eye, can they say that it pleases and brings glory to His name?

My goal in this blog post was not to condemn or to make people feel guilty. I realize that once someone has cussed for so long, it is a very difficult habit to break... as they say 'Old habits die hard.' The goal in all of my blog posts is to make people think, to make people connect their life and what they think and do, even the simple things, with their relationship with God. My goal is to encourage and motivate readers to be willing to sacrifice things or make changes, whether easy or hard, small or big, in order to be closer to God and glorify Him more.

As Paul says,

Romans 7:22-25
"So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"


Are you loving?

A few weeks ago, I finally picked up the best seller Crazy Love by Francis Chan. In one of the chapters, it presented a great exercise that I never thought of before.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

I would say most of us, if not all, are quite familiar with this passage of scripture. Here's a new way to look at it. Every time you see the word "Love", replace it with your name. I.e. "Rachel is patient..."
When I did, I was really convicted of the ways I struggle with regarding love.

Let me know what you think!

Note: Crazy Love is a great book, if you haven't read it, you should definitely check it out! The exercise I borrowed comes from chapter 5.


His Unconditional Love

"...to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy law, and this is my solemn vow."

Recognize these words? They are probably some of the most said phrases, being said in some form or fashion at nearly every wedding. Over this past weekend, I had the joy of attending my uncle's wedding. It was beautiful and I'm so happy for them!
However, as I sat there admiring the picturesque scene of two people pronouncing their love for one another, I had a thought.

When two people get married, they essentially pronounce their unconditional love to one another. Saying that, in their union, they will love each other no matter what happens, whether good or bad.
In Ephesians 5, Paul shares about the comparison of how a husband is to a wife as Christ is to the church. Here comes my thought... 

Something we struggle with as Christians is remembering that God loves us, every part of us. Even the parts about ourselves that we hate. God is not pleased with the bad parts of us, of course, but He knows the sinful state we are in and promises a way of deliverance.
If as humans we promise our spouse our unconditional love, then why do we struggle so much with the idea that Christ promises this too, especially when He promises it with heights and depths of infinity and eternity?

Romans 8: 37-39
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Personally, I have trouble understanding how God could love someone like me, a wretched sinner with nothing to offer besides mistakes, regrets and selfishness. But that is where the unconditional love kicks in and is most beautiful.

I think a lot of Christians out there need this reminder:
God does love you, all of you. Through better spiritual times, and worse spiritual times. Through when you're feeling spiritually rich and spiritually poor. Through spiritual sickness and health. NOT until death do us part, but in fact, especially in death, when we are reunited and made brand new. Instead of running away from our darkest parts because we have the assumption that Christ "can't handle them", we can know that God will meet us even in those dark places, be with us through them, and provide the way out.

Psalm 139: 11-12
"If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you. "

Note: I know wedding vows are not necessarily biblical, but I think the general idea presented can be considered truth.