Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Oh F?&k!

  Last year I braved the cold, the wind and the rain to venture down to Charlotte to enjoy the two day revelry of the Carolina Rebellion rock festival. Even though I had the foreknowledge of what to expect, as I had attended the festival before, I was still caught off guard the language - principally the use of the terms “fuck,” “fuckers,” and “mother-fucker.” Now I’m not going to sit here and write and pretend I’m some holier-than-though Christian as I myself have on occasion used the singular term “fuck” myself from time to time, generally as an expression of pain or anger and I have even begun to police the vocabulary I use at such times when I am under duress, but the commonality which accompanied the words at the festival was bothersome.
    As I reflect upon that weekend I realize how infantile it actually sounds these days. As a youth and among those of my age it was rare I heard those words, and when they were said it was generally by those who were trying to sound tough, by those I often associated with being bullies. Among adults the “F” words were mainly spoken by the enlisted military on the bases where we were stationed and among civilians by those on the lower rungs of society. As an adult myself I’m not naive enough to think that was the norm, rather the result of my parents trying to shield us from that part of life.
   Now though I live in a world where any level of society and any form of entertainment is subject to be a source of foul-mouthed language. It is a society and nation filled with people who on one hand fill up their Facebook pages with words of condolences and prayers for their friends in need, but on the other hand will spew of a slew of profanities in public and sometimes on Facebook and other social media. The hypocrisy of this isn’t lost on me. How can a person offer a prayer to God in one breath and the next be boisterous with vulgar language? It lends me to believe these people are either uneducated and don’t understand what they are doing or they are simply hypocrites. I chose to believe the former for I truly believe most people are inherently good. The Bible tells us specifically in the book of James that we should not have both foul language and good language come from our mouths: “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10). But the writer also speaks specifically about those who cuss and at the same time profess to be religious: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
   Make no mistake about it - cussing is a sin. One sin is as destructive as another (James 2:10) so using foul language is just as sinful as adultery or murder or stealing. We try to justify our sins by the consequences of them. Saying “fuck” is not going to have the same consequence as murdering your neighbor, but God will not look upon sin in any form so in the spiritual sense cussing is just as evil as murder.
   “Well,” you say, “no one can go to heaven then if that is the case.” This is where repentance and grace come into play and those are big subjects to tackle in one blog entry so for now let it suffice to say that a person who is truly repentant of a sin will actually turn away from the practice of that sin in their life. Is it easy? Absolutely not. You may repent for cussing on one moment and say a bad word an hour later but the difference will be in the heart. You will realize immediately you cussed and be sorrowful for it and again ask God for forgiveness and start again trying to live a cussing-free life. A sincere heart will continue this process until one day you realize you haven’t cussed in a while. God knows our heart and while we are going through this process his grace will cover us… but only if our heart is sincere throughout the process.
   Obviously there is a lot more to salvation than just having a pure heart and not cussing but everyone has to have somewhere to start and it might as well be with our words.
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