Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Cursing Tongue - Day 22 of Lent

This is the classic scene from Christmas Story where the boy gets the old "wash out the mouth with soap" treatment for cussing. While we laugh when we see it, there was some wisdom to what moms used to do in yesteryear! A direct application of discipline to the offending part!

Today's passage is about profanity. I have to confess that in my mid-20's I was a bit of a potty-mouth. I loved  nothing more than a dirty joke and if it had some salty words in, so much the better. Ever the legalist, I had certain words I would NOT say out loud and somehow thought that avoiding those made my sin less.  WRONG!

When I placed my entire trust in Christ in November 1993, it stopped.  Just like a cork went into it. Oh, I still know those words, but they're not my first thought when I'm frustrated. As my children have switched to public school and started hearing those words on a regular basis from other students, they have occasionally incorporated one or another into their vocabulary. I've always told them that using curse words shows a tremendous lack of imagination, and both of them have great imaginations and vocabularies, so it isn't necessary to use those words.

But this all masks the deeper issue, which is expressed in James 3:8-9, But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father, and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

The author of Taming the Tongue writes, "understanding that profanity resides in the heart helps us to reject the idea that a curse word 'slipped' out of our mouth. The reality is that it slipped out of our heart." Wise words.  The Lord looks at what is in our hearts. Ouch.

Lord, my desire today is to produce words from my heart and out of my mouth that glorify and honor you.


Anonymous said...

I try not to use curse words and it doesn't work very well. But to me they are just words. And any word has a meaning so I don't think it is a lack of imagination. It shows poor judgment to use them but sometimes it just is appropriate. Now I've heard some people and know some that every other word out of their mouth is a swear word...that is truly vulgar. As I say I use them and it's not pretty, but sometimes I just need to. Does it make it right or wrong? Nope!! They are just words to be used for some emotion or expression.

Mama Zen said...

I could use some improvement in this area.

quilly said...

This is how I know cursing is wrong and totally of my own free will, I am very careful where I curse.

Like you, when I was first converted, my cursing stopped cold, but the words slowly creep back into my vocabulary when I am unhappy and frustrated. I was developing quite the potty mouth in Hawaii, and now home again it is gone.

Mary said...

Being Catholic, I can vividly remember being told to not say curse words because the body of Christ rests on that same tongue.

SouthLakesMom said...

Thom, I think what is in the heart at the time is the actual ugliness...

Mama Zen - me too!

Quilly - me too! Or I develop euphemisms. Blinkin' or Flippin' instead of . . . just as wrong!

Mary -- those nuns were on to something here, but I don't think we truly respect what that means until we are older!