Why Christians Should Swear
I am not saying that Christians ought to adopt foul mouths. In fact, I find people who swear all of the time grating. My qualm comes with Christians who avoid four letter words and yet express the heart of those words. Let me give you an example from a concert I was at in the last month.
“I am so fricking pissed that he said that. He’s such a jerk.”
“Yeah, what the eff?”
“Frickin-A, I bet he was talking with that skank because we’re out of town.”
“OH MY G*D, You’re right. I’m gonna text him.”
As an adult you would think that middle-school swearing has run out of style but it only has changed. It’s changed from poor substitutes to five-dollar academic words. And really, if you think about language; language fosters communication. What are you actually trying to say? What is the heart behind it?
And this brings into play Jesus’ entire point of two parts of the Sermon on the Mount. The parts that pierce flesh bone, soul and spirit.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [i]
He later goes on to say, “21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
God has never been interested in the syllables that come out of our mouths. But He is intensely interested in our hearts. What do you really want to say when you’re talking? This brings me around to my point.
If you hear a brother or sister in Christ using harsh language, it seems to me the best thing to do is one of two things, but before I get to those let me tell you a story.
In my senior year of high school I was into this girl. We had been dating since the end of Sophomore year. Almost two years when this takes place. In the end of January we broke up and I was wrecked over her. We had tried to stay friends but that almost never works. In March of that year our high school went on a senior trip and she of course, was there. As was my friend Thomas (that isn’t his real name). Thomas was (is) one of my very best friends. At some point she did/said something that made me think our relationship had never mattered, I think she had a different boyfriend already (I don’t recall).
I believed that men didn’t cry but that evening, some from the tiredness and some from where I was emotionally spent. I cried. And I said this sentence to my friend, “What the hell did our relationship matter?” (Speaking of mine and the girl’s) and me, sitting on the end of my bed, tears in my eyes and head in my hands watched him walk out. I was so broken in that moment and he couldn’t see that. He only heard the word, ‘hell.’
Can you miss you anyone’s heart worse?
That is not what God would do to someone or what he asks us to do. I do not think that at a man’s emotional end, God would say, “You have said the wrong words, we cannot talk.”
I don’t even think that using harsh language is a thing that God calls a sin. Now, you might quote to me Colossians 3:8, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Clearly, God does not want us to speak filthy language but look at what he says right before! If you aren’t angry, full of rage or malice you won’t slander others or speak filthy language!
If you believe that the syllables that come out of our mouths are what God is offended at…then you can stop reading here. God is continually concerned with our hearts because out of men comes all kinds of evil.
So if you swear, if you hear a brother or sister in Christ swear; examine the heart and see the root of the problem. Why are you angry? What has hurt you that you would react that way? We should ask God to change our hearts, not the words we say because if you only deal with symptoms you’ll never get better, even if you look it.
Now, if you only swear in “Christianese” and never hear what your heart is saying, then how can you see the problem? If you only ever say, ‘shoot,’ or ‘crap,’ then is it possible for you to judge yourself soberly? Or will you look only at your actions, see nothing is wrong, and be self-righteous?
What I’m not saying is that you should take up harsh language every day. If you did, what would that say about your heart?
[i] These references come from Matthew 5 in the NIV