confusion central
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contention, part 1

So I’ve been thinking about this for awhile.

 

Since I started attending a charter school (last year), I’ve been hearing a lot of things I hadn’t been familiar with.  I don’t mean words like “sick,” either, that are just a case of ::coolness::. No, I mean cursing. 

 

Some words are clearly cursing.  Considering that there is a commandment against using God’s name in disrespectful or dishonoring ways, I’m going to just rule that one out here and now.  It’s unacceptable to misuse God’s name – and, I would hazard, any use of God’s name that does not show proper respect or honor is misusing it.  (Feedback?  I want to hear it. 😉  )

 

But when I stumbled across this article (warning: language…duh), it brought up this issue all over again.  The author takes a close look at all the ::fake:: cursing people claim isn’t really harmful. 
While I don’t agree with him on all his conclusions, I’m going to reach one of my own. 

 

I would hazard that any word that inappropriately construes something sacred is cursing.  That means allusions to God and Jesus are completely out.  From a Christian perspective, this is common sense.  But this is where Christians sometimes get confused…and understandably so.  Now that it’s clear that there ::are:: words we really shouldn’t be using when we feel like blowing steam off, where do we draw the line?  Can we use anything except God’s name, including extremely derogatory terms for people or actions? 

 

Christian teens sometimes seem to think that this is the case.  If you aren’t using God’s name in vain, you can say whatever you like.  Right?  Yet one possibility to consider is that anything ::God:: has created deserves to be treated respectfully.  Even people you don’t like.  Even people who don’t act right.  It doesn’t matter. If God created it, we have a really good reason to respect it.  This means that derogatory terms with personal connotations are out. 

 

So God’s name and insults that mock different types of people are out.  Obviously.  This much ought to be second nature to most Christians.  The use of words to denigrate people is never a good plan, and it is ::not:: a good witness.

 

But what about the ever-present descriptive words?  You know…words that were originally developed in a barnyard somewhere, and somehow, over the course of time, came to be applied to anything junky or trashy, or to a particularly bad day, or to anything unsatisfactory (isn’t language a great thing?? 😉  ) 

 

Here ought to be applied a very simple rule.  It’s just a really short bible verse most Christians are familiar with.  You know…Phillippians 4:8. 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

I would contend that anything that does not fall within the boundaries of these guidelines ought to be ruled out when it comes to speech.  Naturally, there are bad things in life that need to be considered.  But the things we voluntarily put into our minds will come out in the words we speak.  So why don’t we focus on keeping our words clean…as our hearts should be?  There’s no reason to be just like everyone else. 

 

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Hi, yes, I know, I’m not commenting on everyone else’s blogs right now. 😦  I will be shortly…right now, I’m not even really spending any time on this blog…I’m just using posts I had prepared ahead of time.  So bear with me, and once I’m not quite so busy I will definitely be giving feedback on lots of other peoples’ posts!  ~L

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12 Responses to “contention, part 1”

  1. Wow, those are good thoughts. I think the third commandment was meant primarily against breaking oaths in God’s name, but I think it applies to using his name irreverently as well.

    But sometimes I have really strong emotions, and need some sort of filler word to let out. Would you say that’s fine? As long as it’s not directed against anybody?

  2. AMEN I wish more ppl thought like you did. Cursing is unnacabtle period. Whether or not you take God’s name in vain. Besides, foul mouths aren’t cool, anyone who has one around me is going to get an ear full. Of, non-cursing words 😀 good post.

  3. I am so proud to know you (even if it is digitally). The insight here is, once again, beyond your years.

    I will leave the “God’s name in vain” alone for a moment and make a thought on the “color metaphors” first. Such language as is degrading to other people is all together out. They too, whether you like it or not, whether you feel of them this or not, whether you see it or not, that person was made in the image of God just as you were. Do not insult God or His handiwork. It also breaks the law, “Love thy neighbor.”

    Other “color metaphors,” may or may not be bad at all. The very popular three letter anagrams that *look* like, “Whats That For” but of course mean something else… well, who knows. Is it dirty? Fairly so. Its it bad? Not as bad as many would think. Should you use it? Not if someone feels uncomfortable with it. I would say that of any language though, not just ‘swear’ words. You don’t call your teacher, “pal” because it doesn’t show proper respect. As you pointed out, Phillippians 4:8 – build up what is good.

    As for cursing… well, I think most people miss this completely. (Please excuse, you may delete it if you feel need, of course) “damn” I cannot take to always be a foul word – sometimes it may just be the *truth* of what happens. It literally means to go to hell. If you feel uncomfortable with that word in this usage, I suggest you shy away from the words of our Lord, for He is the One who spoke most of it.
    It is when we choose to condemn someone else, when we declare someone else’s fate – that is swearing or cursing – we are taking God’s job upon ourselves. Judging. That shall not be done. Magic is all about that. http://stonerolledaway.blogspot.com/2008/06/magic-and-sorcery.html
    Other times the Lord’s name is taken in vain may sound harmless – but are not. Example: “God lead me to this great place and I found a fabulous new pair of shoes” or something. God picked out your shoes for you? What does the Lord care about what you think of yourself when preening in the mirror? Things like this – granted we don’t usually hear something quite so trivial, but occasionally – but open your ears, you are likely to hear this type more often than you think.

    And as you say, any use that does not show it proper respect. Slandering Him, “God made me gay, its His fault” or something is out. Conservative Jews would never call on the name of God in an unclean place, ie the bathroom or somewhere.

    (Sorry, that was long. And the subject has been but scratched…)

  4. James – one quick note on the “What’s That For” look-alike you point out.

    It’s important to go to the roots of these words. So MANY people use the f-word without knowing what it means. It actually denotes something ::else:: that God has made that was originally good – in fact, one of the best things He’s chosen to give to us – that has been so twisted by the world we live in. So…right off the bat, I would say that anything sacred should not be used. This means God, people, and acts such as the one described above should ::not:: be used. Other colorful expressions? Well…I don’ know. Those things aren’t sacred, but they’re rude….

  5. Just to shake things up: Certain words became curse words and frowned upon through discrimination. For example, some words come from what I believe was the Saxon language, which was suppressed by the invading Normans as a means of demoralizing their captives.

    So does this mean we should actually go out of our way to treat all languages equal? Of course we have to temper that with the context of modern society.

  6. Good point, Lydia. Good point.
    I’ll say this: God made everything and I imagine to Him, at least on some level, everything is sacred. He certainly declared it all good. So even if something is “just rude,” it dishonors the one who finds it so. And whoever that is, is made in God’s image and as Lewis says, next to the blessed sacrament, your neighbor is the most holy thing you are likely to come in contact with.

    I guess what I’m saying is, we should probably be careful of everything we say to everybody.

  7. /It’s unacceptable to misuse God’s name – and, I would hazard, any use of God’s name that does not show proper respect or honor is misusing it. (Feedback? I want to hear it./

    Well, I would ask: What is God’s name? I’m a Christian, too, and my understanding is God’s name is not “God”; it’s Yahweh or Jehovah.

    God IS God. His NAME is Yahweh. For all of us made in his image, there is what we ARE — human, male, female — and there is our NAME.

    So if someone exclaims, “Oh, God!” when they hear a loved one was in a accident, are they taking God’s name in vain?

  8. Interesting verse:
    James 3:9-12
    9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
    10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
    11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
    12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

  9. what James means there is that we should not curse anyone. keep a check on your tongue. period. he also says it is the hardest thing to do…

    as for God’s name? technically, He doesn’t have one. Who would name Him? He says we are to call Him Lord. He is the nameless God. The uncreated Being.

    Exodus 3:13-15 gives us God’s “memorial-name”
    “Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”

    That is what we are told to call Him. But as for a “name?” He is nameless. Lets just say, no matter what comes out of our mouths, it should be as James says, only for good and honor, never for cursing nor even swearing. “Let your Yes be yes, and your No, no.”

    As Christians, we are told to pray to God in Jesus’ name. He is the Son of Man, our King.
    If someone calls out to God, let it be a prayer.

  10. you busy or sumtin? you got readers! get crackin!! heheh

  11. Yes! I am here. I’m listening, too, just not really having too much time to update. 😉

    I should start with Matthew…indeed I shall.

    Essentially, yes – I’m sure God’s name has been abused more than anyone else’s. And I don’t think it does matter the context, whether breaking an oath or using it to get a point across. God’s name is meant to carry weight, and both breaking promises and simply throwing it around don’t show proper appreciation.

    HM – but is giving people “an earful” truly an appropriate way to deal with it? 😉 Sometimes there isn’t anything we ::can:: do.

    Parker, I’m going to agree with you here. Some things are just ::taboo:: or offensive simply because of social connotations. But typically, there’s something to the words we use beyond just history. Most curse words are, in fact, innately simply offensive by their very nature. So yes, moderation is required, but so is a sense of wiseness about the world. 😉

    James – is God truly offended by our use of less-than-polite words? If we don’t use them against people, where’s the harm?

    Tracey – God’s name is all that you have mentioned – and much, much more. But because we now typically know God by that name, it is necessary to respect it. Correct?

    Mark – Amazing verse. Good point. In choosing to bless God and put our faith in Him, we have kind of sealed ourselves into respecting others.

    James – again, the name of God has many variations – no person has decided what to call Him. Everything we know Him as it a result of what He has instructed us to call Him.

  12. Okay, maybe I came across to strongly. I simply meant that bad words will not be tolerated by me, and I’m chasing my own tail, so I’ll be quiet now.


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