Today I was stalking Facebook and came across a post by a very famous Christian Speaker. In the comments section she had left a one word, 4-letter comment. To most of us, we would say that one word, 4-letter comment was a cuss word.
I have a lot of feelings about this so I'm going to share them with you.
My first reaction was, "this woman has THOUSANDS of hungry Christian women looking to her for nourishment, why would she abuse her platform like this?"
The things wrong with that statement, y'all!
Firstly, we shouldn't rely on anybody to feed us spiritually. We should be a hunter-gatherer proficient in our skill, looking into the Word and talking to God to get our sustenance. We should view everyone else as a grocery store. If we're successful in our endeavors, we should view everyone else a s supplement to what we are already trying to do. The grocery store has stuff that's already pre-packaged and ready for us to eat out of the box. It's easy, it's sustaining, but how do you know where it comes from?
I'm about to get deep, so put on your lifejackets and pull up your big-girl panties.
In the microwave society that we live in, we LOVE pre-packaged food. We also apparently like pre-packaged gospel. We don't want to have to do any of the work. We hit the doors of the church on Sundays, and sometimes Wednesdays, but how much hunting down do we do in our spare time? How do you know that what you are being told from the pulpit is truth? Do you really want to put all you know about salvation in the hands of another person?
What if they have another agenda? What if you're being led astray, and you're perfectly content? When was the last time you talked to God without asking him for something?
So, why did this one word bug me so much? At first I was really upset because thousands of people had read this particular thread. Thousands of women took one of two stances on this word: 1)"I'm glad to see that she cusses too" OR 2) "I'm kind of disappointed in her for using that type of language.'
Let's unpack both of those for a minute.
We can make a thousand excuses for cussing. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
-I wanted to
-I didn't mean to
-It adds comedic effect
-Typing it or saying it is no different than thinking it (or is it?)
-I'm sure Jesus wanted to cuss
-It has multiple meanings
-What makes it a cuss word anyways? It's just a word.
So do any of those things make it right?
Here's a non-exhaustive list on reasons not to cuss:
-There are other/better words you can use
-Would you want your kids saying it?
-Does it build up? (Oh, but does it tear down?)
-Does it sound good?
-There is a stigma about bad words. They just sound bad.
Here's my personal thoughts on it:
I think she could have chosen a better word. People are looking to her for sustenance. Women who genuinely look up to this woman look to her for guidance. Hundreds of women came to her defense with all of the excuses I listed above. They now feel better about themselves cussing because this Godly woman cussed (and yes I do believe she is a woman of God).
Saying, "this person cusses so it's okay if I cuss" is downright dumb. Can I say that? If she had the same following and she jumped off a bridge because it caused her to have a spiritual awakening, would we all follow suit? I WOULD HOPE NOT. Cheese and crackers, people! Let's find some independence.
I promise, I have not always had the prettiest of mouths. My father warned us growing up that integrating cuss words into our vocabulary meant having them around forever. He told us to never pick them up, because we would never be able to put them down again. And wouldn't you know, the man was right. I actively try to watch my language (this is a relatively new adventure). Now when I hear ugly words, they sting my ears a little. It's not easy, I've had to get creative when I step on Legos in the middle of the night, "GREAT GOOGELY MOOGLY HOUND DOG!" I've admittedly said ugly words in my head, God's heard it, but my kids, not so much. I try to keep it contained.
It's an active choice. That's why I was so offended to see her physically type out the word. She chose to put that out there for those thousands of impressionable women. She didn't stub her toe and Facebook magically posted her outburst, it was a choice. A choice that I'm going to have to disagree with.
What this post should really be about is, "have your own mind, do your own thing, do your own research, have a brain that is all your own, don't follow the crowd..." but instead this post is about a baby step you can take, "think about your audience."
You're influencing people everywhere you go. Why? Because people have a really hard time doing their own thing. There are a lot of people jumping off dumb bridges in the world: The bridges of social norms.
Put your feet up... this is going to step on all of our toes:
These socially acceptable bridges are cussing, too much alcohol, sex before marriage, living with someone before marriage, homosexuality, addictions in most of their forms...
Y'all, I'm guilty of so much. I want to be that parent who screams, "DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID THAT I DID." I can talk till I'm blue in the face, but what my kiddos are going to do, is emulate what I do.
Look at your audience, do you see them ALL around you? In the grocery store, in Walmart, in your own home, on Facebook... people are everywhere.
As Christians, the world is our audience. What we do and what we say are vitally important to our witness. If we look exactly like the world, we aren't doing what we're called to do. We're called to be set apart, to take that narrow road. "For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" --Matt. 7:14
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. --1 Corinthians 10:23-24
The gospel is offensive on its own. If you do what the Word says, you'll be swimming upstream, my friend. Everyone will be jumping off the Social Norm Bridge, and you might be left alone.
Are you ready for that?
What's worse, is that the world wants to see us fail in our attempts to swim against the current. They revel in our missteps, but what they don't know, is that we have grace. Grace will pick you up, turn you around, and put you back on the right course. You can count on grace to always have your back when you screw up (just don't use God and grace as a spare tire. Don't abuse the power of grace. Don't take advantage of it like that.)
People are always watching you, what are you going to do about your audience? Start by being a good example, and make sure you're not taking people off a ledge with you.