Tag Archives: curse

Cussing Christians

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I grew up in the Bible Belt – in the Deep South. In that area, religion pervades every area of life. Even though most people are only marginally Christians, the Christian ideals influence the moral compass of that society.

In the South, there are ways a person is supposed to behave and ways they aren’t. In the South, you’re supposed to treat women right and work hard to provide for your family. In the South, what church you belong to can function as a status symbol that can help you out in social and business circles. In the South, your language matters.

Growing up in the South and in the church, I was taught often about what I am not allowed to say. I remember being told that “crap” was a bad word when I was a child. By the time I reached my teenage years, “crap” was being used by adults at church. I remember being shocked the first time I heard it used by an adult I thought was spiritually elite.

I had learned about the “B” word, “D” word, “S” word, “A” word and “F” word. I knew these words weren’t to be used in social settings, and if I stubbed my toe and said one of these, I needed to repent because saying such was a sin.

I have seen how media has increasingly incorporated each of these words into mainstream media. On TV you can hear most of these in regular programming. If you watch original programming on Netflix, you may encounter all of these words.

So, the question poses itself: are these words really bad?

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
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.

James 3:8-10 (ESV)
…but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

See? The bible talks about curse words!

Really?

If you look at the context of scriptures that talk about our language use, time after time you will see that our language is to be used to build others up. If we are tearing people down with our words, then we are sinning against others.

You can use “four letter words” to tear people down. People do it all the time – cussing someone out. But you can also tear people down with socially acceptable words that can even inflict worse damage.

Calling some “good for nothing” or “worthless” is no better nor more acceptable to God than using profanity against them. To call someone stupid or fat does the same or maybe worse than any four letter word. When we ridicule and cut and deride and slander and gossip, we are sinning against those whom the Lord created in His image to be His children.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cut to the heart.

The scriptures, when talking about “unwholesome talk” isn’t addressing the times when you stub your toe and say a colorful euphemism. The scriptures are addressing the way you speak to others around you. Are you building them up or tearing them down?

Words are like money and guns. They are not inherently evil by themselves. Their worth is determined by how we use them.

So, is it ok to flippantly use words our culture considers “profanity”? The context of your conversation matters tremendously. When speaking about eating meat sacrificed to idols, Paul refers to the context of the meal to convince Christians that their actions may inadvertently cause others to go against their consciences.

To cause someone to go against their conscience (even unintentionally) is to sin against Christ (1 Corinthians 9). So we must be always on guard with our language.

So, can Christians cuss? The scriptures don’t really address much of what goes for cussing today. What the scriptures speak to directly is our treatment of others with our words. Build others up. Don’t tear them down – no matter what words you use.

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Do You Approve of the Disapproval?

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We are all very opinionated people. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t feel strongly about at least a few things they are involved in.

Maybe you are passionate about your opinion of politics. Maybe you are passionate about the environment. Maybe you are passionate about whether or not it is ethical to use live bait for fishing (yes, there are some strong opinions out there about this).

Whatever our opinions, we tend to actively try to persuade others that our opinion is not only valid, but right. In fact, I’m writing this column in the “opinions” section of the Matagorda Advocate. Of course, my opinion is right, and you should heed my words. See what I mean?

Mass media has been actively trying to persuade us to take on different opinions about various topics through the years. If you believe in global warming, then it is not because there is good science supporting it. The biggest supporters of global warming are government agencies and mass media.

Our culture in which we live also persuades us. If we spend enough time around a group of people we tend to think the way the group thinks. It’s sad, actually, because we as people give up our right and ability to think for ourselves when we succumb to such influence.

Over the years, the influence of culture has changed the minds of the masses – even the masses in the church. For example, when I was born, the “d” word and the “c” word were absolutely forbidden. When I was a teenager, they were commonplace on the television and in movies, and they became more commonplace in the language of the Christians I was around. Then, as television adopted the “a” word, it has become culturally acceptable. Many people are still holding out, but an entire society has changed its mind about the severity of these three words because of the influence of popular culture.

One of the things that concerns me as I look at the state of the church around the nation is the change in the church’s perception of sin.

Within the last ten years I have seen a trend in teaching shift from dealing with the hard issues of sin and it’s consequences to become more about love and peace and non-threatening topics. Because of this shift there has been a loss in the church’s understanding of the severity of sin.

The other night I listed 48 sins for my teenagers to rate in terms of the severity of the action or thought. For about 20 minutes I had to explain what several of these sins even meant. Then, as I looked at the lists they had ranked, many of the teens listed several of the items as “not a sin”. When we start talking about these sins and pointing them out in public we get attacked as hateful from every side. So, we shrink back and hold it in.

What I’ve noticed is that the generations coming up do not understand what many sins are. They do not understand how the scripture places equal consequence on each sin – “the wages of [all] sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Each day I see teenagers that actively sin. But what concerns me even more in the masses of the church as a body is the acceptance given by the church to others who actively sin. I see people singing songs about being drunk. I see people posting about sex and drugs and homosexuality on their Facebook posts. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see them say “I am in 100% support of Insert sin here“.

Romans 1 says this: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Not participating in a certain sin is important, but in this passage we see that we are called to go beyond mere action. It says we aren’t acting right when we not only do the sins but also when we approve of others who are doing those sins. If you’re wondering what kind of sins are being talked about read Romans 1. There’s a pretty good list there.

We approve of things with our words. We approve of things with our money when we buy, or rent, or give money to them. We approve of things with our actions when we stay in places or do things that show support of something immoral.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we shouldn’t support the people that are sinning. What we can’t do is support the sin. This is difficult though, because our culture has equated the sin with the sinner, so if you disapprove of one you are perceived as rejecting the other. I do not approve of alcoholism, but there are many people that I love that struggle with this sin.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for a cleansing. It’s time for a refocusing of the morality of the church.

May you be the kind of person who initiates this change in your life. As we work together we can once again be a people who actively pursues God and all things righteous. As we fudge our morals the Adversary move closer in to our lives.

I’m praying for this in my life and yours as well. Please pray too that God will cleanse us and refocus us through His Holy Spirit as we recommit our character to being in submission to his good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives.

If you’ve never given your heart to Christ in the first place, then you still have sin in your life. That sin separates you from God in a severe way. You need the healing that can only come through the blood of Christ. If you’d like to know more about having a relationship restoration with God, then feel free to contact me at 245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net. I will not chastise or ostracize you. Jesus invites you. He’s re-inviting his church as well. God bless you all as you refocus on what’s needed.


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