To begin, if you continue reading this post, I hope you will not find this post (or me) offensive, but I have something I need to get off my chest and here is where I plan to share that. I will not post this on fb, or twitter, or wherever else, but here. Here is where I can be honest and vent a little about things that may bug me.
I hope if this does offend or convict you, you'll feel free to share. Please DO NOT turn this into an attack or I will delete your comments. I do hope you'll not base your experience with me on this one post; however I do not plan to apologize for posting this either.
With that said, let's dive in...
I became a Christian at the age of six. Too young to have a truly rebellious stage, but old enough to understand that I needed Jesus. Still do and praise Him that we're together. Growing up though I was often influenced by my peers in regrettable ways. One of these ways I still regret is trying to 'fit in' one day on the playground (playground! in 3rd grade! ugh!) by learning bad words and then saying them out loud. To this day, I hate how wishy washy I was and how into the pressure I was; however honestly I was, at the beginning, in third grade. Still learning.
I wasn't very good at cussing. These new words didn't feel right in my mouth. They sounded weird to my ears. But I felt a part of things and that was fun.
This didn't last long as I soon after that learned that Jesus told us not to cuss or take His name in vain. (In case you haven't figured out yet, I was not much of a rebellious kid. Even in my teen years, about the most I did was talk back a little. My punishment? I didn't get to go to youth group at church. Honestly. I know, I'm weird.) Anyway, I immediately repented and stopped saying such 'bad' words. I didn't really understand the point anyway.
As the years passed, it became evident to me through conversations with other high-schoolers and other people in my circle of influence that they could see a difference in me. Learning from others, I saw the value in NOT beating people over the head with the Bible or yelling at someone until they finally saw the error of their ways. In other words, living Jesus was impacting others. Yay!
But over and over and over again, I can't tell you how often I heard this-- the very first impression of Jesus some of these folks had was that they never heard me curse. It finally dawned on me one day! Something as minor as not using foul language influences others to immediately see a difference in me! Wow. What an easy impact for me to have on the world around me!
That right there is the number two reason I don't curse. The number one reason? Right here. Or here's an even better translation. Jesus likes me to use His name reverently, lovingly, carefully.
So I try.
But let's be honest here. I still sin, all the time. I hate it. I have struggles and temptations like everyone else. To be gut-honest, foul language is one of my biggest weaknesses. I'm serious. It's hard for me to not say things and especially once they're in my head, it's REALLY hard to get them back out again. For this reason, I do my best to avoid hearing these things. Dirty jokes. Bad words. Mean or hurtful things I might be thinking. You name it; it gets in my head. Again, though, I'm called to holiness. So I don't say the things I want to say. Even when it's hard. Because that's the first way people see I'm a different creation, and that matters way more than my own desires.
Which brings me to the root of this post...
It bugs the snot out of me when I hear other Christians cussing. How are we to sound different from everyone else when we're saying the same stuff they are?! Our faith is all the more difficult to see when 'potty mouth syndrome' is occurring.
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." ~James 3:9-12 NIV 1984
I understand it's difficult and oh so easy to say something to be funny or for impact. You wanna talk about impact? Hello! Jesus makes the biggest impact there is in someone's life!
It's okay if you're not convinced. Let me give you one more thing to think about and I'll get off my soapbox for today...
"Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall." ~ 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 NIV 1984
Basically, if you aren't convicted in this way, that's between you and the Lord. I am in no way trying to cast blame. But I will say that as a follower of Christ, I do not want to cause others to stumble. If my cussing causes someone new in their faith (or even old in their faith, doesn't matter) to sin by cussing because they think it's okay, that is a very real problem. And I for one don't want that extra responsibility.
The other night we were watching "Bunheads" on the ABC Family Channel. We refer to this new show as "Gilmore Girls 2" for those of you wondering. Honestly we're not convinced this show is quite worth watching as it's not nearly the same as "Gilmore Girls," which will forever live in infamy as one of the greatest TV shows ever. But I digress. On the FAMILY channel watching Bunheads the other night, the lead character, Michelle, was wearing a tshirt with the words "Dance Your A** Off." As the lead character on a family show, I have a significant issue with the problem that her shirt was in EVERY scene, visible to all who can read. There was no way to avoid seeing her shirt if you wanted to watch the show. And she had that shirt on for a large portion of the episode. Very aggravating. And now that word is back in my head and what do I do with that?! The answer's obvious but I for one found it frustrating.
Now I ask you to please hear my heart. If you cuss or struggle with this, please please please don't read that I'm beating you over the head. In fact, I probably love you more because I struggle in the same way. But I feel called to share that this an issue for me and ask that you respect that by checking yourself and seeing if this might not be a problem for you too. And then it's up to you what you do with that.
I hope you come back and read more on a day when I'm not on my soapbox. I thank you for listening to me while I was on my soapbox. I'm done now...