I got some good advice on cussing during confirmation class.

I didn’t know much about the bible when I went through confirmation class at 14. One thing I did know however was that one of the Ten Commandments was: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7). And I did this, a lot. Now, I’d learned where and when I could use profanity and get away with it (See “Cussing” here at my blog) but I took the whole idea that I was going to be religious of my own choosing seriously and I wanted to do what was right even though I had never heard or didn’t remember the verse from James 1: 26: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

Part of our confirmation was a one-on-one meeting with our pastor, John Ewton. John was a young pastor, very approachable and we were encouraged to come up with questions we wanted to ask about anything. One of my burning questions was if I could cuss and still be considered a Christian. I prefaced my question with my only knowledge on the subject about taking the name of the Lord in vain and waited for his answer. To his credit John didn’t quote a bunch of scripture at me. He acknowledged that, yes, taking the name of the Lord in vain was wrong and should not be done. He also said that I should never use words to put someone down or hurt their feelings and especially not these kinds of words. I didn’t know it then but he might have been thinking of the verse from Colossians 3: 8: “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” From the perspective of being a good person, I completely agreed with him.

John also talked about the effect my words could have on other people. He said that part of my duty as a Christian was to be a light in a sometimes dark world. I imagine that might have come from 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.” He said it didn’t follow that on the one hand I considered myself a Christian but on the other hand I used language that showed otherwise. I have to think he was thinking about James 3:10 when he said that: “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so,”

I left our meeting with my question answered and resigned that if I were to curse I ought to do it under my breath and certainly never use the Lord’s name in it or swear about someone else. I’d like to say I’ve kept that in mind the past 38 or so years but that wouldn’t make me a very good Christian or person. It’s true, I’ve measured my words and chosen them carefully at times and at times I’ve stifled swearing when I really wanted to let it fly. It’s also true that I’ve let the expletives go on occasion and cussed at times that were inappropriate and I’m ashamed to say, hurtful. One thing is 100% true however; the bible has a lot to say about what we say and watching our mouths. (There’s even some stuff in there about cutting off our tongues, yikes!)

So, once again, I’m resolved to watch what I say and to cut out swearing. I have to smile a little that a project like “Quitting Thursdays” has brought me back to a resolution that’s 38 years old. I guess the lesson is that right is right, whether you’re 14 or 52. Advice from the bible is as accurate as it is timeless. For me whether I’m able to hit the mark and do what it says or I fall short sometimes the bible’s everlasting lessons comfort me and I’m good with that too.

I don’t imagine anyone would say that being a Christian means cursing like a sailor but still; we do it. Hopefully this gave you some encouragement towards curbing that practice and if you know someone that could use a nudge in that direction I hope you’ll share this post.

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