The Taming of Tongue

I have to credit my coworker.When he occasionally uses language in front of me he will make it a point to apologetically say he needs to stop swearing. I have never mentioned it. So one weekend in the "rather recent but quickly distancing past" I had a conversation with my brother where I dropped the f-bomb. Giraffe Tongue "Don't f*** with demons" I said. I still agree with this statement. Afterwards I was convicted. God was using my purity to convict an unsaved coworker. Why would I risk that by damaging my purity in private? God spoke to me. "No more. Never again. Ever." I am not offended by swear words. I appreciate an appropriately used word in a grammatically correct sentence. I will not define the word "appropriately" besides pointing out that "hell" is a real place Jesus even talked about. Quite a bit I may add. My point is generally I'm not offended. There are two compelling reasons why I have agreed to adhere to the command of my Master. #1. Why risk it? I have a very dear friend who's preferred phrase of exclamation is "oh my word." I thought it different at first and I still don't see a problem with "gosh" or "goodness" or even an intentionally used "oh my good glorious God!" So why have I switched?

I value her friendship more than my right. 

Let me clarify that by saying she and I met on the internet. I once tweeted an "oh my God" a time or two and she found the bravery to graciously express her concern. Sure I don't have to change for her and to do so would be as shallow a facade as any. 

But more than risk a current friendship, what of future friends who may not be brave like her to ask me? Do I want to risk their not listening and distancing because I choose to exercise my right?

I will not let small words

drive people away,

when there is so much

big to say

that will do that anyway.

#2. Why distract from my meaning?

God has put strong words in my soul and I intend to express them well. If most were said outright it could easily offend and possibly confuse. Why muddle my meaning with unnecessary verbiage?

It is a classic rule of writing; every word and phrase must earn its keep. In the storytelling of life, my momentary emotional passions must submit to the greater purpose of passion being fulfilled.

What is this "greater passion" which would absorb and neutralize my desire to drop a word bomb venting injustice? Oh but that would be telling...

I cannot yet conclude for this resolve has a most interesting result.

What Happened When I Stopped Swearing Forever

Why do we swear? We swear because we are angry.

Anger is like heat. Heat must always go somewhere even if it means dissipating into the cosmos. Anger also, must always go somewhere. Its productivity is in how we use it. A raging fire can warm a house or burn it - along with the neighborhood surrounding.

Why do I mention this? Well fairly often, as a byproduct of being human, I get angry. My new resolve challenges how I use it.

Before I diverted my anger secretly and metaphorically burned the nearby bushes so to speak. I'm very glad my mother forgives me.

I am now challenged to express my anger in a God-honoring way. He gets angry too you know. And He very rightly honors Himself.

Factually speaking, what does this look like?

I've gotten blunt. Very blunt.

I'd like to think I have self-control in regards to the timing of interpersonal release. However, I do myself the favor of verbalizing my real opinion to myself.

This is a change for me. There was a time when I did not like to acknowledge anything even slightly ill of another. I don't know how Jane Bennett did it. Oh right, she's fictional.

The workmanship on the bathroom cabinets was extremely shoddy.

Her attempt to manipulate me was very disrespectful.

The overuse of theatrical lights distracted me too much to watch.

All of the above real life situations have elicited very real vocal anger. I like to think God is not offended by volume. It's the attitude of initiative that matters most.

"In your anger do not sin." He said it. I heed it. But yes, I am now blunt.

Beyond the bluntness though, sentences are now forming to express the words God has placed in my soul. More quickly and clearly than ever before I might add. This is His Grace.

Final Question:

Why settle for "mildly off-putting" when the option of "speaking truth well for the purpose of revolution" is granted those speaking in obedience?


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  • Back Row Baptist

    Very good stuff! I’ve been having this internal struggle for a while too. Your thoughts on it was much appreciated.

  • DoGoodOrDoNaught

    My primary objection to swearing is when it’s meant to be offensive or hurtful or when it’s done without regard to others. Surely, though, there are many other non-swear words and phrases that will do just the same.

    One of the problems that I have with statements like “Don’t f*** with demons” is that people use the f-word to mean just about anything (a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb), which, to me, only succeeds in emphasizing its primary purpose, vulgarity. I’m not criticizing you or assuming anything about your usage. Certainly, when any word is said, it’s what’s in the heart that matters most.

    Personally, I have never once sworn out loud, but I perhaps may as well have for all the times I’ve done it in my mind. And again, personally, I have never once sworn without having regretted it afterwards because swearing always feels to me like the easy way out (but not even really a way out, just a way further down). So, my conclusion: I won’t judge other people for swearing, but I could never feel good about doing it myself (and really, I’d rather not hear it either, though I’ve heard as much of it as anyone).

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