Best of My Blog: A Really %*#@ Great Bl*g Post

July 8, 2011

While I’m on vacation and then on a mission trip to Mexico, I’m treating you to some exceptional guest bloggers and reposting some of my best content from the last year.  I’ll be tweeting and commenting off and on, but will be back full time on the blog July 25th.

I’m going to make an admission.  At home, I’m sometimes a little bit of a potty mouth.

I remember my first day in public middle school.  My delicate virgin ears were burning by second hour, having heard words I never knew existed.

Now, it just doesn’t bother me like it used to.  I don’t swear loudly in public or in front of elders or children and I don’t care for people who do.  But swearing in movies or with friends just doesn’t get me all hot and bothered like it does some people.

What does God really mean by “filthy language” and taking His name in vain?  Probably a whole lot more than we think.

We Practically Can’t Help But Cuss

Even if you’re a complete teetotaller when it comes to swear words, chances are you have a few choice exclamations you use.  Guess what?  If you fall down the stairs and repeatedly shout “sugar bricks!” people still know you’re swearing.  When they dub over cuss words in movies, we all know what they’re saying.  Any ten year old watching a TV movie knows they aren’t really saying “French toast” or “melon farmer.”

But if you aren’t ten years old and you write swear words, but censor yourself, you’re just lame.  If you want to swear, then stop using swear words like a preteen girl.  It’s not like taking the v*wels out of w*rds st*ps people from kn*wing what y*u’re saying.  Same with the whole “h-dash-dash-dash” thing.  Even if I typed a bunch of random symbols, I’d still look like a %*#@ loudmouth.  See?

Then there’s the people for whom substitute swear words are offensive.  “We all know that ‘freaking’ is just another ‘F’ word, so it’s still a bad word.” Come on.  If we replaced ‘freaking’ with another word, you’d still know it was a substitute for the substitute.  Plus, someone who gets offended that easily is probably a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.  Words are only obscene if we say they are.  I can write the word “bloody” with no dashes and not blink, though it’s worse than the ‘F’ word to Brits.

If that’s what God meant, then He wasted a commandment

Okay, about taking God’s name in vain.  I still try not to do this too much, but I will admit that I have petitioned God numerous times to curse bad drivers, missing keys, screws and nails, pizza boxes that won’t fit in the fridge, pickle jars, drawers that are too full to close, slow moving people, stop lights, snow, cabinet doors, and dog poop, to name a few things.  Traffic and inanimate objects are the bane of my existence.

It’s not like I’m telling you that you should start talking up a blue streak, but for the love of Larry, if God spent a whole commandment to tell us not to say “Oh my God,” that’s a waste.  If you’re only going to hand out ten basic rules, are you really going to spend 10% of your rule-making on when and when not to say you’re name?  I don’t think God would do that.

And if I just lost you, you’ll see where I’m going next…

Christians take God’s name in vain the most

When people say “Oh my God,” they don’t even think about it.  Sure, it’s rude.  But what does it really mean to take God’s name in vain?  I think God gets way more P.O.ed (cuss word ititials are dumb too) from Christians who sincerely take his name in vain.  How do we do it?  By showing up to church and praising him while we curse our neighbors.  By sincerely asking God to do things that He has said he won’t do.  By creating an American Jesus and calling it “God.”  By worshipping God so He’ll give us more stuff.  By calling ourselves “Christians,” which has the name of God in it, and not acting like we follow Christ.

When it comes to cussing, maybe it’s not the words that come out of a man’s mouth that’s wrong, but the cause of it in his heart.  If I can get so mad at the ATM that I let out a string of curse words at it, something is wrong with my emotions, and my mouth is just a symptom.

But instead of doing the hard thing by not asking God for stupid crap that’s bad for us, or getting our emotions under control, we do the easy thing and tell some new Christian that now that he’s a Christian he’ll need to “talk nice” so he doesn’t offend delicate Christians.  We get riled up about non-Christians using the word “God.”  But when you realize that Christians are the biggest abusers of God’s name, you know that we should really shut the smurf up because we don’t have any place being offended.

Great graham crackers.

What’s your policy on naughty words?  Are they just words?  Are they never to be spoken?  Or should we be looking at a bigger problem than what comes out of our mouths?

22 responses to Best of My Blog: A Really %*#@ Great Bl*g Post

  1. Tough subject here, Matt.

    Earlier this morning I used the word pee in my own blog post; does that count?

    Years ago when I drove an 18-wheeler, at a loading dock in Miami a bunch of eight or ten guys actually stood there and applauded my colorful speech as I fought a tarp in a high wind. Those innocent souls had never heard the like.

    My bad.

    While I am still a crude person, I think you hit the nail flat on saying that we take God’s name in vain more by our actions than our words. I cringe when I hear someone attribute to the Lord things I doubt that He had anything to do with–such as certain religious meeting phenomena.

    As I recall, Jesus once said that it was not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of…

    No, not his mouth, but his heart.

    John Cowart

  2. LOL – //Traffic and inanimate objects are the bane of my existence.//

    I’ll be honest sometimes I try to trick God by saying, “Gosh dammit.” Because I think, “See God, I didn’t literally take your name in vain, I said ‘gosh.'”

    nicodemusatnite.com

  3. I will say this Matt. This was a really good f*ck*ng bl*g p*st.

  4. I’ve always felt that our common cuss words are cultural and generational. The meanings are assigned and certain words are deemed taboo. I tell my kids that people use them when they’re so angry they can’t think of a better one and don’t make a big deal out of it.

    OTOH, we’re the only family that forbids “Oh my God!” which makes us weird to their friends. It’s so common now, this generation uses it for everything from “OMG! There’s a tornado coming!” to “OMG! I love French toast!!” I dare you to listen to any Disney channel kid’s show (which are now all about dancing, parties and dating, btw).

    Great point (a little too great…ahem) on “the Lord’s name in vain and our actions” point. I think God’s issue with His name is our heart intent which is why your point is spot on.

  5. It’s an interesting subject. I can’t remember what my comments were that last time…. so I will possibly contradict myself. (but I am wannabe politician – so it’s cool!)

    First, I guess we need to define the sin. Every person seems to have their own rules. I guess mine would be Colossians 3:8, Ephesians 5:4, and Exodus 20:7 would probably define all that for me.

    My rule is if I don’t want my 7-year-old to repeat it, we don’t say it in the house. We have tried to uphold this with negative words as well: stupid, jerk, and idiot.

    It is a certainly tempting to get into it at work, yet in the politically correct atmosphere, on the classic swear words are actually acceptable; no slurs of any kind will be tolerated. And of course the Lord’s name is the lite version of all of those.

    I actually get turned off by movies that can’t seem to stay out of the gutter and the endless innuendo, and now it’s on TV too. It just doesn’t bless me. I don’t mind some, but when it’s every other word, it gets old.

    In real life, I let my friends be real, and holier than thou doesn’t ever work.

    Some times creative swearing cracks me up; like putting the “f” word in between two syllables.

    I do get frustrated on occasion and “oh my gosh” doesn’t work for me. Some days I need to express my anger, and I have a few for when I throw the wrench in the garage after crushing my knuckle.

    In the end, I guess that leaves “crap,” and “shut the front door!”

    Have a great vacation and I am praying for you and the Mexico mission.

  6. For the longest time as a teen (and a new Christian), I thought the whole God’s name in vain business WAS simply saying “OMG!” so I avoided it at all costs. As the last few years have gone by, I have realized that’s a load of bologna. However, I’ve never really gone back to cussing (which I used to do like a sailor) because I figure it’s a good discipline and at least one way I can control my tongue, even if I still say stupid stuff sometimes.

  7. “cotton-headed ninnymuggins”

    LOL where did you get that. That’s awesome.

  8. I Don’t Play video games cause I’ll cuss

    I don’t work on my car cause i’ll cuss

    I try not to do “handy work” at my house cause i’ll cuss

    I try not to “assemble” anything cause i’ll cuss

    The words Sh*t and eFing Sh*t is sure to pop out a time or two…

    • One time my Dad, a pastor, was with a guy in church when he hit a post in his truck. They got out, looked at the damage while my Dad said nothing. Then the church member said, “Well, do you want me to cuss for you?”

      • Now, that is funny, Matt!

        I also agree when you talk about cussing being a condition of a person’s heart. If I am behind someone that is walking slow (or what have you…), I do not literally cuss, but I might think a bad word. That is just as bad!

      • I was raised in a Christian home. I married a Christian man. My dad is a very wise man, a devout Christian…he’s just plain a GOOD man. My husband knew all of this when we married.

        He also knew that my father looooooooves to play with words. Spoonerizing. Puns. Stupid jokes. Puns. Pun wars.

        I told you that to tell you this.

        About six months after we got married, my parents and younger siblings came out to visit us. We all went out to dinner at a nearby Pizza Hut. As we waited for our pizzas, someone’s glass of soda got knocked over, cola rushing across the table.

        “Dam it! Dam it!” Dad shouted. The rest of us moved to grab napkins. My husband sat there in shock….

        It was great.

        Even better was hearing Dad tell about how he’d first heard “dam it” used in such a fashion by a pastor’s daughter back when he was in college. You know, when our church’s denomination thought that poker cards were evil, dancing was sinful, and movies were to be avoided, and the seminary students only played Rook.

  9. Hi again Matt,

    Thinking about your post reminded me of an old story:

    The phone company supervisor called two linemen, Joe and George, into his office.

    “A customer complained about you two using profanity on that job this morning outside her house,” he said. “She wants you fired but I want to hear your side of the story”.

    Joe said, “Well, Boss, we were up on the telephone pole. George worked high and I worked low.

    “He was melting solder above me for soldering wires to connect a relay.

    “A drop of melted solder dripped off the iron and landed on top of my hardhat. It rolled off the brim, fell down my shirt collar and rolled all the way down my back to my belt.

    “So I looked up and said, ‘Really George, you must be more careful with that hot solder'”.

    John Cowart

  10. Agreed, but cussing and saying “OH my GOD” don’t sound nice. I think it sounds better to avoid such expletives. I think one sounds much more intelligent by avoiding them. It’s habit. One can develop good habits as well as fall into bad habits.

  11. don’t = doesn’t. my bad. :)

  12. About a year or so ago, I moved a toddler bed from our basement up to the 2nd floor. The stairwells are steep and the stairs curve. It was a bit of a struggle. I said the f-word once. Later when telling my friend about it, she asked if I repented for swearing. Um. No? The thought didn’t cross my mind!

    I don’t think a person should walk around using that kind of language on a regular basis, but I wish people would see that it’s the attitude of the heart behind the word that matters. Semantics. There are lots of things people say that are far worse than my monosyllabic utterance alone in a stairwell. When I think about things people have said to me that hurt me the most, they usually didn’t involve curse words.

    However, now that my daughter is repeating what she hears a lot more, it is much more important than my husband and I (and the television) are not saying things we don’t want her to say. Plus, I do want to present myself, including the words that come out of my mouth, as holy unto the Lord. It’s not always easy.

    I’m not sure if I sound like I’m contradicting myself. I guess, on rare occasions when there isn’t hate behind the words, a little curse word isn’t that big of a deal. What matters is the heart. So, that’s what I’m going to work on. And I bet if my heart is focused on Christ, then my language will be too.

  13. Here’s one from my father-in-law—“Got dandruff, some of it itches!” (say at the top your lungs sometime and it makes total sense.)

    • My nephews use that! You have to say it just so, with the proper emphasis on certain syllables, and rush the others, and then it REALLY sounds like something else.

      “GotDANdruff, someofititches!

  14. definitely an interesting topic! I think that God’s name in vain to the Hebrews was more significant than we think. Like, their names actually meant something (unlike ours), so to take his name in vain, was to take HIM in vain.

  15. My word was always “Shoot”. I said it frequently. My husband’s word was “Dadgummit”. Not really curse words, but the meanings were the same. One day, my three year old daughter dropped something on her foot and out of her mouth came the funniest words that ever hurt. “Shootgummit!” She had us both changing our language and learning to control our anger.

  16. Dam that was good