The other day I was scrolling through Instagram, when I noticed that an author I really respect had linked to a blog post. The description sounded very good–grace in the midst of mothering–and since it was linked by someone whose books have been very helpful in my walk with Christ, I clicked on the link.
The message of the post was very good, just what I needed that day and every day as I fail to parent my children in a spirit of grace and kindness.
But there were a few words sprinkled throughout that were like a glaring missed note in a beautiful sonata.
I get that language is very cultural. In our neck of the woods, Christians cuss in their everyday language without thinking a thing about it. They may or may not see it as a sin issue, but they just do it. It’s just how people talk.
And I get that there are little pockets of Christians who just cuss because they can. They’ve studied the Christian liberty passages, they’ve seen that all things are permissible and that you should be all things to all people, and so they’ve run with it. It almost seems like they’re flaunting it–kind of a “We’re more mature in Christ than you because you are being legalistic about cussing and we understand that we’re free in Christ” attitude.
But here’s the thing.
Yes, the Bible teaches Christian liberty, and it’s a glorious concept. Yes, it says all things are permissible. But there is context that cannot be ignored.
The Bible also teaches that if your Christian liberty causes another brother or sister to stumble, then you should refrain from that activity you feel so free to do, in order to show love to your brother. (1 Corinthians 8:9)
The Bible says to live as people who are free, and also to live as servants of Christ. (1 Peter 2:16)
And the Bible also says that love is not rude. (1 Corinthians 13:5) I don’t think you could argue with me in any neck of the woods when I say that more polite words could be chosen.
So here’s what I think: I read that blog post that day and agreed with the message but was offended by the delivery. The percentage of Christians who think it’s ok to cuss is much smaller than the percentage who don’t. And even if you don’t have a problem with using such language, you should have a problem with offending people when you could easily avoid it.
When pastors, singers or songwriters, bloggers, authors, etc., use bad language and someone who is offended by bad language reads or hears it, the message is lost. Why would you choose to alienate a huge percentage of Christians who may really need to hear your message, when just by changing a few words you would keep their respect, and possibly be instrumental in their spiritual growth, gaining blessing not only for them but for yourself as well?
And when people claim to follow Christ and use foul language in everyday conversation or Facebook statuses, to some extent their message of Christ gets lost. How will people who need Jesus see a difference in you when you use language that is almost universally (in our country) labeled as “bad words?” How will I explain it to my children when people they consider role models use words they have been taught are unacceptable?
“‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) Ok, so you feel free to cuss. But when is cussing helpful? When does it benefit the hearer?
If your language is so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying, maybe you should use different language.
Just a thought.