I’ve felt the need over the last few days to write about this issue. It’s one of those sticky ones in the church today, and I’ve spent time on it before at churches that I’ve been at. I’m a pretty open guy when it comes to lifestyle decisions that aren’t directly addressed or wrongly evaluated from a biblical basis, such as drinking (bible says don’t get drunk, unless you’re under 21, then no drinking!) tattoos (fairly ambiguous on this count, although some like to translate certain portions of Revelation as stating that Jesus will return with one), smoking (regularly smoking cigarettes will kill you, bottom line, and the body is God’s temple, but the bible doesn’t specifically address tobacco use), who you vote for, how you dress, the color of your hair, you know “whatever” I say. But cussing, cursing, profanity, whatever you want to call it bugs me. Now I’m not overly judgemental, and I enjoy my share of R-rated movies with a little too many f-bombs, but a great story (The Usual Suspects), and a few of my favorite preachers have a reputation of letting one slip out, but I firmly hold to the fact that the bible is rather clear on the use of foul, profane (as culture would deem) language. I just believe Christians, after being redeemed and willingly engaging in a relationship with the risen Christ, should not use cuss words with any kind of regularity. Does the occasional wirty durd slip? Sure it does, we’re human, we’re sinners. But many Christians, especially young Christians (both age-wise and time as a Christian-wise) have somehow determined that profanity, as a part of common dialogue, is okay. My point with this post is to say it just isn’t. That’s where I stand. Now, I’m not asking anyone to change their speech when they’re around me, that’s dumb, what I’m saying is search your heart and search Scripture about the use of foul language when you talk. Below I’ve listed a few relevant passages. Again, don’t pretend to be something else around me. I love you, always will. I’m not so shallow that this would change my relationship with anyone, but really ponder this and let God speak to your heart. Okay, now I don’t have to take a Sunday on this one…
These quotes are from the Message paraphrase, which I try to steer clear of when I’m engaging in teaching because it is a paraphrase, but I think Eugene Peterson translated these passages well for our current culture.
Guard your tongue from profanity, and no more lying through your teeth.
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift
Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, Christians have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
8 But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. 9 Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. 10 Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.
No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverant use of his name
With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. 10 Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! 11 A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? 12 Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?