This week I am going to have to dance dangerously close to edge without going over it myself. But there is a reason why I feel the need to do this. One of the arguments I hear again and again about cussing is that these are just words. They are no different than any other words. The argument continues that the only reason we consider these things “cuss” words is because of how others have defined them. Therefore, the argument goes, we should be able to use these words like any other words. Their only stigma comes from people with dirty minds who impose their idea that the words are “perverse” in the first place. It is my desire this week to show that these arguments are bankrupt. Scripture will help us to see this as we look at how God views this issue. I will warn you in advance that I will not use the curse words themselves - but will have to imply what some of them are. I apologize in advance to anyone who may be offended by the implications. I only do this to help people see the bankruptcy of those who think that such words actually don’t have meanings that should place them in the category of being indecent and perverse.
One of the more commonly used cuss words refers to defecation or the solid waste that we eliminate after our food is digested. It is used as an exclamation alone - as well as uses of it as an adjective, or as a perverse comment made in various situations. Does God have anything to say about our eliminated waste? Granted, this is not exactly a common Bible study topic - but it might shock you to hear what God has revealed on this matter. In Deuteronomy 23:12-14 God reveals this about Himself. ”You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there, and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement. Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.” I remember reading this each year I read through the Bible - because it reminded me that God considers excrement (and I would remind you that this cuss word means excrement) something to be covered as well as something indecent. So if God, as a holy God made it a point to tell His people about this, where do you think He would stand on shouting such a reference to it as an exclamation or as an adjective to describe something or someone. As I honestly wrestle with the text and meaning of Scripture, I have to say that this word is not just a word WE defined as perverse. God revealed it to be something indecent to be covered so that His holiness was not offended. In Nahum 3:6 God uses another Hebrew word for excrement in reference to a severe judgment He was going to bring upon Ninevah for their sins. We read there this statament, "I will throw filth on you And make you vile, And set you up as a spectacle.” The word “filth” is the Hebrew word “shiqquts” which refers to human waste. Elsewhere this word means the following things: abomination or something detestable. Here God speaks of this being a severe judgment on Ninevah that made this city “vile” and set her as a spectacle among all the nations. Brothers and sisters in Christ - God does not think highly of human waste or excrement. And I believe it is not a stretch at all for us to conclude that He is not pleased when we use a more crass reference of this in our speech. It IS a word - and it does have a meaning - and its meaning refers to something perverse and indecent. Therefore - based on meanings - and on God’s reference to this word in Scripture - we should refrain from using it except in the context of our natural biological process of waste removal.
If I can quickly dispatch of a whole different set of words, let me do so without a great deal of commentary. It is also common for people to refer to the urination process to express their state of anger. God made these biological processes for elimination of waste. But from what we’ve seen God refers to them as waste - and as indecent things that are to be covered and done privately. That is why things like public urination or defecation are considered crimes and people are arrested when they do such perverse and indecent things. We have restrooms where these things are done privately. They are constructed in such a way that our waste is removed from sight afterwards. If this is how we deal with the fact of what they are, is it weird to come to the conclusion that the slang words used for such things are not to used as words we use in conversation? Why is it that we descend to the level of speaking like the world system in this way? Could it be because we have lost something very valuable to us as believers?
God speaks about His holiness when He refers to these things in Deuteronomy 23. Seeing these things openly was an offense to His holiness. Treating them other than how He directed grieved Him as He walked among them to defend them and give them victory. Could it be that we’ve lost our sense of God’s holiness in this generation? In a rush to make God more “relevant” to our culture we may have lost something of infinite value to us - His holiness. Could it be that we have become more sensitive to a world that disregards the holiness of God (evidenced by their unwillingness to honor Him or give thanks (Romans 1:18-21) than we are to the God Who has revealed Himself to us as the Holy One? It is a truly insidious thing when we no longer covet being a holy people who honor God by being separate and different than the world around us. But an even more horrible thought that this is that we’ve become deadened to Him walking among us. Are we aware that God is present at all times - in every situation - every phone call - every conversation - everything we hear and say? We don’t speak and use words in a spiritual vacuum. It is not as if there are places where God doesn’t have a microphone - and where He is uninterested in what we say. He is omnipresent - He is everywhere in His holiness and majesty at all times. There is no place or time He is not infinitely present. And . . . He hears everything and will judge us according to every word that we speak. That is truly awesome - as well as truly terrifying. Do we not value His protection, His infinite ability to give us victory, and His presence in our lives?
Dear precious saints of God . . . I end this article reminding you that I am not now - nor have I ever been assigned the role of being the “word-police.” But I want to leave you with this thought. Let’s move away from arguing about whether we are relevant enough to the world or not. Yes, it is in issue - but in light of what we are seeing happen around us in the church, I think there is an even more important issue that demands our attention. Are we relevant to God? What I mean by this is that we need to be concerned about His views more than those of our culture around us. We can BE RELEVANT to our culture without adopting the way they talk. We don’t have to embrace perversity or indecency to reach people. In fact I think that when they hear us - and don’t hear foul language - we become a “good” kind of different. This is not a call to “bust” the lost when they cuss around us. They are lost - and that is why they speak and act like they do. But we are saved - saved from sin and saved from the dominating power of the world system around us. We are called to be different. We are called to be aliens and strangers in this world. We are told that when we embrace God’s holiness - they will wonder why we don’t rush into the same dissipation and ungodliness they do. Some will even malign and persecute us because we embrace holiness above worldliness. We should speak and act as those who love the Lord. We should speak and act as those who have been delivered from sin - and from sinful ways of speaking. We should do this because we desire to honor the holy God who walks among us - and is in us. THE MOST VALUABLE THING IS HIS PRESENCE AMONG US. Oh that He will work in us so that we endeavor to speak in a way that honors and respects His holiness - as well as in a way that recognizes His Lordship over every conversation we engage in every day we live.