Pottymouth

A couple of weeks ago I posted in a comment that I think that cussing is funny. Since then I have intended to post my thoughts on why foul language is funny, and doesn’t have to be offensive. But I can’t.

The truth is that I crack up at foul language all the time, its just funny to me. Not calling people bad names or swearing at them (unless its in jest), but using cuss words to express strong emotions or to add emphasis to a statement. Even as a kid I thought it was hilarious. My parents can tell you some stories.

For instance: a couple of years ago a friend and co-worker started catching himself cussing at meetings and with clients without realizing that he was doing it, so he decided that it needed to stop. We talked about it and he decided to put a swear jar in his cube. The intent was that every time he said a foul word he’d put some money into the jar. This went on for about a week before he got angry with the process. So, instead of putting money in the jar he would hold the jar up to his face and swear “into” the jar.

This CRACKED ME UP! I couldn’t help it. I’d be working in my cube and hear this muffled “f#@^ $i#* @&^ report!” and I’d just loose it. I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying, but the image of him holding a jar up to his face and letting it rip still cracks me up. I could tell dozens of other stories, but you get the point.

I recognize that this isn’t one of my more impressive traits, and I appreciate it when people call me out. Left to my own devices, I’d gladly wallow in my own crapulence (no, that’s not a bad word, look it up). Last night I was playing cards with some friends and I caught myself a couple of times. I could tell that it made one person uncomfortable, and I was convicted.

Here’s what scripture has to say on the subject:

Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Proverbs 4:24

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Colossians 3:8

Um, but…
when…
Its not that…

Dang. I can’t get around that. There’s no room for an ambiguous interpretation.

Swearmart (KLH gets the credit for that word) is now closed. But, I’ll say this. If you want to help me then call me out when you hear me swear. And if you want to make me laugh…

Reading: about 42 different textbooks plus Ender’s Game.

Listening: Dave Matthews Band and Jimi Hendrix. If I ever write another song, its going to be just like “If 6 was 9”.

2 replies on “Pottymouth”

  1. It’s funny you brought this up because I’ve been thinking about the same things…

    The apostle Paul used foul talk. (You can look these up because these are my own translations.) He said “I would that those who compel you to be circumcised would cut their whole thing off. He also said “Those things I considered gain to me I now count as dung. Do you think the Greek word he used was a nice, delicate word like “dung”? Shit, no. I think it’s a good bet that if Paul talked like that when dictating his letters, he probably cussed like a sailor in daily life. If you read Ezekiel, there is a lot of nasty stuff, especially Ez 23:20, the dirtiest verse in the Bible. God said that one.

    God uses “foul language” when He says that all our righteousness is as filthy rags. That means used tampons. And when we concern ourselves with whether or not we use “bad” language or swearwords, it’s really just a concern about our own righteousness, isn’t it? The thing is, I’m sure a lot of christians mutter swear words under their breath or at least think them. It is far worse to think that you’re better off for not saying it out loud than it is to go ahead and speak it.

    Colossians 3:8 – the words “filthy” just means “base” or “dishonorable” in Greek. It’s just goofy that everyone thinks that refers to swear words. The base and dishonorable things are the common, everyday things we talk about as if they’re important, but have nothing to do with God’s kingdom.

    I was talking with a good friend who called me out for using the f-word. I reminded her that she, you, and I used to use that word and laugh at the humor in it. Her answer went like “Oh, but now I’m trying not to swear and I don’t swear as much as I used to. It was about her own righteousness. And if God says our righteousness is filthy, then what was she doing? She was talking filthy talk. If we try to justify ourselves by saying we are trying or we don’t do it as often, that is base and dishonorable. Because there is only one who is righteous, Christ.

    I’m not saying we should go around swearing all the time. We just need to be real. If we hide what’s going on inside us – all the anger, rage, malice, etc. – there it stays, inside us, and we’re hypocrites. It says to rid yourselves of those things from your lips. That means speak them!! There’s no better way to rid yourself of them. Unless we let it out so that we and everyone else around can see it for what it is, we can’t repent. That is exactly what Jesus was telling the pharisees in Luke 11:41.

    Sorry for preaching.

  2. Hmmm, good contrapuntal argument. And no apology necessary for preaching. This is a good topic to go back & forth on.

    But I do see your point. I definitely recognize that God wants for us to be passionate people. We know that lukewarm hearts are offensive to God (Rev 3:16). And its a safe bet that foul language is likely when passionate people are angry. I never have before thought that the conclusion to this line of thought is that foul language is okay. I need to think about it some. I’m not saying I disagree entirely, I just need to think about it.

    I guess the fist thing I need to do is point out that this isn’t exactly the kind of swearing that I was talking about in my post. It can totally imagine Jesus in righteous anger screaming expletives at the horror and injustice of child prostitution. But that is quite different from cussing because its funny, or yelling at a computer (stupid freakin MICROSOFT!) because it won’t print.

    And how does this line up with Luke 6:45? “…out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” If we are to strive for clean hearts, then it seems to me that one of the evidences is a clean mouth. I’m not arguing that we control our mouth so that our heart appears clean, that would be the hypocracy that you’re describing, and I agree that’s not honoring to God. But rather, if we hear foul language coming from our mouth then it should be an alarm that our heart needs some work.

    Okay, so now that I’ve been through that I guess I agree with you. Foul language can serve a purpose in a believer’s life. But, I think that the conclusion to this argument is that if we continue in foul language, then we are denying Christ’s ability to heal us. Its not okay to shrug our shoulders and say that salty language is part of who we are. We are the image of Christ.

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