There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are saved by the grace of God through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection, and those who are not. And there is one sure-fire way to tell them apart: The ones who are saved by the grace of God don’t cuss. The ones who aren’t, do.
Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Dallas preached a sermon on cussing this past week. The upshot: Crude or vulgar language has no place whatsoever in the life of a Christian. Here is a link to the actual sermon; can’t make any promises about how long it will be up there. (Look for “Cool-Aid – Part 2”). And here are some choice quotes:
We have been drinking the ‘cool aid’ of our culture, which has been laced with the toxin of vulgarity…. We slurp it. We guzzle it. We sip it without even thinking about it.
…Every single person on planet Earth knows that what they are saying is either right or wrong. Where do we get that from? It comes from God. Scientists can’t explain it. Psychiatrists can’t explain it. Even the most spectacular sinner in the world has a conscience that comes from God.
…We’re made in His image. We have this God conscience. So when we hear or we say something, we know down deep that it is wrong.
Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. No one on the face of the earth has any chance at being in a relationship with God, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes this possible. Young went on to argue on the basis of Matthew 15:18 (“But the things that come out of the mouth, come from the heart”) that if you are in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you will want to commit yourself to God by cleaning up your language. Except that this isn’t just about cleaning up your language or deleting certain things from your laptop, this is about your heart. And if your heart is right before God, then you will live in purity and leave vulgarity behind.
Evangelicals talk an outstanding game when it comes to the grace of God, how we are saved by grace, and how the life we live as Christians is marked by grace. But when it comes down to it, there are all sorts of things you have to DO to show that this grace is a reality in your life.
Come on, people. Do you really think life is that simple?
Do you really think that our human condition and the condition of this world is so un-fallen, so un-broken (at least when you have come to accept Christ) that any response whatsoever that does not smack of complete, unbridled cheerfulness is inappropriate and out of place–especially when that response involves what we would call crude or vulgar speech?
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” So says Paul in Galatians 5:1. The tenor of the Christian life is freedom, not restraint. So if someone comes along and wants to argue that we should do something or avoid doing something if we are Christians, then he/she had better be prepared to give good reasons for this. And Young’s arguments against vulgar language just don’t rise to that level. The most anyone can say against vulgar language is that it is inappropriate in certain situations, and I would agree with that. But to say that vulgar language is wrong at all times and all situations for all Christians? I do not accept that. And neither should you.
Come on, people.
For a thoughtful discussion on bad reasons and good reasons to refrain from using vulgar language, check out this article by Eric Rigney at internetmonk.com.