Comedian George Carlin made famous the, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” Depending on your region of origin, you may know these as, “cuss words, curse words, or swear words.” I would suppose that their most common use is that of an adjective but I have heard them used as pronouns as well. Although these words are commonly used in our everyday vernacular, I am questioning whether or not they are acceptable coming from the mouth of those of us claiming to be Christian.
In Colossians 3:8 Paul warns about the use of filthy language coming from the mouth of those claiming to be risen with Christ. Although I would concede that the writer is not dealing specifically with the use of our swear words, I would submit that the verse teaches that there are words that are considered improper, abusive, or even vile. So my point is this: I think it is simply unbecoming of a Christian to swear. My feeling is that this particular use of words does not make us cool nor does it make us relevant. They certainly do not project The Kingdom as I have come to know it. I just can’t see Jesus dropping the “F-bomb.”
Being reared in the Northeast United States, in an Italian home, I can assure you that I have been exposed to my share of swear words. Even still there was a certain degree of etiquette in their usage. For example, we could never use them in front of woman. Also, their usage was prohibited in the presence of young children. Most importantly, we would most certainly be damned to hell should they be used inside church. The rule at my house was if we siblings were heard using these words our mouths were washed with soap. Be real – Everyone knows that there is something different about swear words.
One could make the argument that you have the freedom to use them long as you don’t offend or cause a brother to stumble. In turn I would have to ask, “To what end?” When then Vice President Dick Cheney was recorded using a swear word, many in the media called on him to resign or at least apologize. Why the outrage? It was considered unbecoming of a representative of the United States to use such language. How much more so should we as ambassadors of Christ bridle our tongue? Let’s just assume for a moment that Jesus was Lord over your mouth and that everything you said was submitted to Him. Would you still use these words?
Ask yourself and The Lord if the use of these words promotes things that are good and wholesome. Be willing to question if swear words somehow bring God’s presence into the conversation. Perhaps one of 100,000 words in our English language that can be used as adjectives is better suited for the Christian.