Most of my friends from home, and some on campus, swear.
Swearing is something the world regards as “bad.” On the radio, swearing is edited out of songs, on TV, swearing is edited out of movies containing an abundance of swearing and people are bleeped out on live TV.
At the same time, however, society doesn’t think twice about swearing. People do it all the time — f-bombs are dropped so often, people don’t think about it anymore. Swearing is so common nowadays, that when people don’t swear, it’s noticeable.
A friend, who swears often, once said to me, “Chelsea, you don’t ever swear, do you?” I explained why I don’t — as a Christ follower, I try to live my life differently from the rest of the world, and swearing is counterproductive to that.
As Christians, we are called to live a life that is separate from the world. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” If we’ve given our lives to Christ, our actions shouldn’t mirror the world’s, but His. By swearing, just like everyone else, we fail to recognize God’s command to live lives that reflect Him.
James 3:8-11 says, “With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
How can we praise God with words and tell him He’s holy and worthy one minute, then swear the next? It doesn’t add up to me.
Jesus himself cautions us to watch what we say, because we will be held accountable for every word, whether that’s gossip or swearing.
In Matthew 12:34-37, Jesus, while talking to the Pharisees, said, “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
I think it’s important for Christians to live such that the world questions why we choose to live according to a higher standard. Swearing is one way that Christians conform to the world they are set apart from.
Read The Editorial’s opposing view.
Chelsea Tyler is an English and journalism double major. This opinion reflects the views of the author only.
The main question that comes to mind when I think about this is: what is a curse word? I may sound like a fool for stating that, but when you delve deeper into it, you will find that it is hard to answer. How many swear words are there? Is it the ten words that come to my mind at the moment, or is it what anyone may see as a bad/curse word? What some people see as curse words are not considered curse words to them. For an example, look at the British. The words that we see as curse words are not necessarily the same over there. to “get pissed” means to get drunk. That is not to even mention all of the British slang words that are bad to them that I know for a fact that if someone were to say them in the middle if a class, no one would bat an eye. Should that be condemned? To look at the inverse of that, should we hold those who are internationals to the same level? If they are used to the words not being “bad words,” then are they bad words to them?
I think the larger problem was stated very well in the other article about it is the intent behind the word that is the problem. I could call you a jerk and have hate in my heart towards you, but then call another person an ass and they are my best friend. Please do not misunderstand me by thinking I am just bashing you for your beliefs or anything; I very much appreciate that both sides of this debate were shown and think that it is a great idea. It is also important to note that you must not think less of those who do use swear words and think of them as “Bad Christians.” The opposite must be said of those who swear, if you are interacting with someone who vehemently hates swearing, then try to control yourself. That is when you are watching what you say to not let your brother stumble.
What is a curse word? Are these words predestined by God to be naughty and we must never use them? The point that I raise is what is a curse word? It is a hard question to ask. There are different curse words for different people. I can think of ten off of the top of my head and I am sure there are more that are commonly used. Are those the only words that cannot be said? What about those who were raised in a different society where those same words are not seen as bad? My first thought is to those who are from Britain. The phrase “get pissed” mean to go get drunk, while it means something else in America. Should the person who does not see it as a bad word be held to the same standards as those who see it as bad. The inverse could be true as well. I know that if someone were to say swear words in class that were from different countries no one bats an eye. Is it the words that are the problem?
Please do not misunderstand this as an attack on you; I love the idea of putting both sides of the argument in the paper and letting the reader decide and think for themselves. I just merely want to point to the fact that it may be a bigger problem than just the words. The other article had a good point in saying that it may be more of the meaning behind the words that matter. I could call someone an idiot and have hate in my heart towards them, or I could call them an ass and they are my best friend. I just think that both sides of this have things to learn. For those that do not swear, do not condemn those who do by thinking that they are not Christian in doing this. On the other hand, those that do swear need to be aware of those around them and if it is upsetting others, stop swearing near them. It is that simple.