These words assault my ears:
“Oh my *bleep!*”
“These books are so *bleep* heavy.”
“What the *bleep!*”
Can you guess where I am?
Here’s a hint. I’m not in a back alley of downtown Salem. I’m not in a public library. I’m not even watching Netflix or YouTube.
As a matter of fact, I’m walking out of Aramark after a lovely lunch of buffalo mac and cheese. Or, I’m walking past the computer labs in AC. Maybe I’m even trudging my way up the hill for a 9 a.m. weights class.
There’s something wrong with this picture. Growing up in public school, phrases like these were commonplace, but coming to Corban, I expected things to be different. After all, “the friendship of the world is enmity with God (James 4:4),” right? Shouldn’t we who know God talk and act different from the rest of the world?
Yet, this type of language is all too common among our fellow Corbanites, and I have to ask myself why. Why are we okay with this? To be fair, we do hear words like these frequently. After all, we can’t completely isolate ourselves from the world. This language saturates our media and community today, but we’re supposed to be lights in those settings (Matthew 5:13-16). How can we be light and salt when we talk like everyone else?
But nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Thou shalt not cuss.” Words are words. They only have the meaning you decide to give them. They’re subjective. You can’t tell me what to say. Don’t judge me for how I grew up talking. I’ve heard all of these arguments and more, but do they excuse us from our responsibility to represent Christ in a fallen world? I don’t think so.
Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” This doesn’t have to apply just to cursing and taking the Lord’s name in vain. It applies if you struggle with excessive sarcasm that tends to tear people down like I do. Maybe it’s lying that you’re trying to overcome.
No matter what it is that comes out of our mouths and wouldn’t be pleasing to God, a battle against these sins is worth fighting.
So, the next time we are tempted to cuss, or say something sarcastic, or even call someone a hurtful name, we should pray this verse with the psalmist and trust that God will give us the strength to represent His goodness and holiness in the world.