I have a swearing problem. I love Jesus. I want to be as much like Him as I can. But far too often my language is more Billy the Kid than Billy Graham. Sometimes I drop s-bombs, or even f-bombs, in casual conversation. Why? Beats me. It just comes out. Maybe subconsciously I’m trying to sound more cool, sort of like the joke about the two little boys who decide one morning they’re going to start swearing.
One decides he’s going to say “damn” and the other one will say “ass.” (Geez, now I’m swearing in my blog!) The boys come down for breakfast and when Mom asks what they want, the first one boldly declares, “Gimme some damn Cheerios.” Mom immediately slaps him across the face, then directs a fiery gaze at the other boy. “And what do you want?” she asks. Shuddering meekly, the second brother meekly bluts out, “I don’t know, but you can bet your ass it ain’t Cheerios.” There’s something about profanity that dupes us into thinking it adds power to our message. Maybe it’s because, like the boys in the joke, swearing makes us feel grown up. Now we’re using big-boy words.
Much of my swearing is directed at inanimate objects. Fram has yet to make an oil filter that I haven’t tried to loosen from my vehicle’s underbody with the strongest verbal lubrication I can dispense. Household projects were made for swearing, it would seem. Pipe won’t fit, try calling it an f***ing son of a b**ch. Nail bending the wrong way? That no-good piece of sh**. Does this really work? Do hardware and auto parts really have the fear of God beaten into them just by strong language? Obviously not. But somehow, swearing relieves tension, and directs focus. When a project seems to be at it’s most dire, launching a barrage of profanity seems like the only option left. And once you cut loose, suddenly you find yourself calmed, able to re-focus and evaluate what it really will take to get the job done.
By now I’m sure you’re like, “What the h*ll is your point.?” Simply this: as a Christian, what does God really think of all the language that we utter. The Bible states that it isn’t what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what comes out of him. Several passages speak to the importance of taming the tongue. But is God condemning all of us potty mouths? Isn’t gossip and hurtful talk directed at our fellow man much worse than a few obscenities directed at a leaky faucet?
Does righteous indignation still preclude use of the strongest language available to express that indignation? I’d love to hear what Jesus exact words were to the money changers in the temple. If there were ever an occasion for Aramaic profanity, that was it. Or when his dad was in the workshop and his hammer met his thumb, did our Lord grimace if a Hebrew f-bomb was Joseph’s response? I hope when I get to heaven I can get the definitive answer.
I know God wants his children to conduct themselves with dignity and honor, and in today’s society that means watching your language. So I will continue to pray for the Lord to help me tame my tongue. But when that next oil filter sticks a little too much, will I treat it to the same verbal onslaught as all the others that came before it? You bet your ass.