Friday, May 27, 2005

Why do we swear?

Recently I've been thinking through swearwords. It's seeming to be a hot issue in my context right now. Students in the ministry often ask me, "Is it ok for a Christian to swear?" To which I wonder - what kind of a jacked up question is that?

There are several blogs out there that talk about variuos levels of swearing, from the god understands view to the there's swearwords in the Bible view. And there is a whole myspace blog (which will remain linkless) that is becoming dedicated to showing how much you can love Jesus and swear too....I put it under the God understands category too though.

While those explanations may be fine and good to others - it just doesn't make any sense to me.

I don't see how swearing helps you to be a better person.

And isn't that the point - that the way of Jesus is better? In the past few months I have been becoming more spiritual, more disciplined and I have become a strong believer in impulse control. What is the impulse reaction? And is it controlled or does it control.

I think for many potty-mouths the deeper question is what is controlling? Are there moments of loss of control, sure - but God doesn't want to understand - he wants to transform.

So, bluntly, swearing is stupid. Plain stupid. Whether or not it is a sin is a useless waste of time arguement - people who disagree with me can feel free to flame me on myspace, though. Swearing doesn't help your faith, so I'm not going to waste my time with it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Swearing doesn't help your faith, so I'm not going to waste my time with it."
You did waste your time. Wearing glasses doesn't help your faith. Driving to the store doesn't help your faith. Getting tattoos on youth trips doesn't help your faith. Saying jacked up doesn't help your faith. Honestly, I'm offended by you saying "jacked up". I thought it was rather harsh. Couldn't you have said "messed up"?
"but God doesn't want to understand - he wants to transform." Are you putting limits on God? I think God understands before he transforms. Jesus is the Ultimate Counselor. It's his job to understand. How could he get anywhere to change you without understanding you?

Loving Jesus has nothing to do with your language.

Anonymous said...

"Swearing doesn't help your faith, so I'm not going to waste my time with it."
You did waste your time. Wearing glasses doesn't help your faith. Driving to the store doesn't help your faith. Getting tattoos on youth trips doesn't help your faith. Saying jacked up doesn't help your faith. Honestly, I'm offended by you saying "jacked up". I thought it was rather harsh. Couldn't you have said "messed up"?
"but God doesn't want to understand - he wants to transform." Are you putting limits on God? I think God understands before he transforms. Jesus is the Ultimate Counselor. It's his job to understand. How could he get anywhere to change you without understanding you?

Loving Jesus has nothing to do with your language.

Eruetelehtalme said...

Ok so several questions:
1. why didn't you put your name on this comment(I must know who you are because you must have been at youth group to hear about the tatoo thing)?

2. So here is my question to you about swearing, is it something you think Jesus would approve of or be a bit disappointed in?

Personally I have chosen not to swear.

~Eruetelehtalme

T said...

wearing glasses doesn't help your faith...but it helps you now run over things and bump into walls...
What does cursing help do? Does it make you a better person? Does it make you a better Christian? Loving Jesus may not have anything your language, but everything you do reflects Jesus. Jesus had no need to curse- so why should his followers?

Anonymous said...

I personally know the girl that James is talking about and I barely ever hear her cuss. Jesus hung out with the sinners. He didn't ask them to change their speech when he came around. He takes people how they are and so a youth pastor should be the same way. If he's teaching us to be like Jesus then he should be a better example of Him than we are. And the reason I'm anonymous is because I don't want any preconcieved judgements. I want you to take what I have to say.

James said...

Nice discussion - who doesn't love getting flamed on their own blog?

To clairfy, this post is not aimed at a single individual. Different people have asked me different questions on swearing - interactions with this individual did cause me to clarify my thinking on it.

One of my favorite answers is "o.k." - people who know me can attest to that, but there are times when I feel like throwing my opinion out, even though I realize there are peeps who won't like it.

Here's the thing - I don't put weight on anonymous comments. Flaming someone without your name attached lacks integrity.

but, I'm going to leave the comments that are anonymous up - on this post and on others - because maybe they are worth what they are worth - I just think it's impossible to have a reasonable conversation with a faceless name.

Of course, if you swear, I'll delete you comment.

:)

Moses said...

i don't think its a quesiton of whether or not you should curse for me...i feel its more of a whats cursing and whats ok....like for me i say pissed off when im pissed off.(feel free to erase this comment James) but i don't see it as cursing....and i could be wrong and will stand corrected.

Moses said...

but spending most of my life as a non-christian with people who curse a lot! its become part of the way i think. its something that, i feel, i've done a very good job of breaking and im still working on it. i get mad and curse sometimes. im not perfect and i'v never claimed to be....i think that we all have things in our lives that we should change and allow God to transform us in but i don't think God sees them any different from another....sin=sin.

Deadyouthpastor Walking said...

watching something catastrophic happen to your life or something/someone you love, and trying to phrase something to God to communicate the absolute desperation you feel in trying to ascertain some level of understanding of how such gruesome things "made you a better person" could be about the best way to help you understand the setting where cussing happens. unfortunately I live a life trying to avoid putting others in such a position as to need to cuss, so I will trust that at some time during your life, you will experience something and say, "oh. that's what he meant."

It's not that we always choose to be better people. Sometimes we just ... need to say something that isn't going to be productive. It happens in many scriptural contexts.

iHippo! said...

i dont kow i dont swear but i always kinda wonder who decided certain words were bad? why those words? and i mean they are just words....i kinda veiw it as the old sticks and stone can break my bones but words will never hurt me... words are words to me

Court said...

Words do matter. Words do have meaning. And words can hurt. Even worse than sticks and stones. Ask an abused person if words are just words. Ask an abused child if it didn't hurt him when his parents cursed at him. Ask an abused wife if it didn't hurt her when her husband cursed at her.
II. Peter 2:11-12 and 3:15-16 tell us that as Christians, we represent Christ on earth.
Titus 2:6-8 tells us to exercise self-control, and specifially mentions "sound speech."
James 3:5-12 tells us how destructive words can be.
In Matthew 12:35-37, Jesus himself warns us that our words come directly from what's in our hearts. And that we will be accountable to God for every word that we speak.
I. Corinthians 10:31 reminds us to glorify God in everything we do.
When I think about whether or not swearing/cursing/cussing/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is right for a Christian, I have to ask myself this:
Do I show self-control if I curse?
Am I building others up if I curse?
Do I want to stand before God one day and give account for every bad or negative or discouraging word that I have ever spoken?
Will nonbelievers glorify God because of me, if I curse in front of them?
Am I glorifying God if I curse?

Being a Christian is a process of spiritual growth. I pray for wisdom, that God will change my heart, so that I will not even curse in my thoughts. With God's help, I eradicated cursing from my speech a long time ago, but it's still in my thoughts sometimes. I know that God forgives me for these sins...but I still pray for his guidance and his wisdom, so that I can allow his Holy Spirit to change me fully into the kind of person he wants me to become.
The kind of person who glorifies him in every deed and every thought.

According to God's Word, it is not okay for a Christian to curse. But according to God's Word, he forgives us our sins, and he will help us to wipe them out. If we make up our minds to submit to his will and let him.

Katy Joy said...

Hey James and evryone else.
I totally understand where everyone is comming from. I grew up in a home where shut up was a bad word and if you said gosh you got your mouth washed out with soap.
But in growing upi my own views have ... slid and I have alowed myself to be stumbled. When I was in first grade I heard the first real bad word ever! And actually it was more like several minutes of swearing. From that point on I was unable to get those words out of my head. It has been a constant struggle since then to keep those words out. My family started to fall apart and long story short swearing became a routine way of expressing oneself in my home. I didn't pick up on that habit. Well later I started to fall away from the Lord a little and allowed myself to become hard and angry and The words began to fly around in my head. Well I allowed myself to take that extra step and as some of you saw I began to write it. I am sorry if it affended anyone, but I didn't mean for it too and I erased it a little while later, but I know that swearing does nothing for me or anyone else. I don't think That I am the person everyone is referring to, but I just wanted to appologize and say ... I understand how you can allow yourself to be angered and allow yourself to swear. It's our sin nature an dI also have seen how damaging it can be. I know that God's word says it is wrong and much like Court I pray that God would help me to keep my heart and mind pure of any language or talk that is not pleasing to him, But I understand teh struggle. I don't think you should feel hopeless if you swear, but I do thin you should feel remorse about it. I undestad what It is like to be in the heat of the moment and jsut say what's on your min, but The tongue is harpere than any double edged sword. ok I don't really know where I am going with this, but I thought I would just say a fe wthings about it. We are all sinners and mess up.
Hope you all are well.
Katy Joy

Brooke said...

iHippo! said... "they are just words"

Court said... "Ask an abused person if words are just words. Ask an abused child if it didn't hurt him when his parents cursed at him."

As a girl who grew up in a verbally and physically abusive home I can easily say that words are not just words. Words are never just words. Everything you say is a matter of heart. And I know that there are times in life when the only thing you can muster when you're talking with God is a curse word. There are times when you are so angry with God that cursing is all, at least for me, I can seem to get out. I am sorry James that whoever posted the anonymous comments made you feel attacked in some sort of way. I never meant to cause' such a disruption. But if cursing is stupid...then why has this issue put such a huge hole in my heart and why have I felt so... erased from my home? (South.)