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2009 best posts – a re-post on cussing

December 30, 2009


this was a hugely visited post.  many do not agree with my stand on this…and thats quite alright. but it sure did get lots of attention.


quite awhile back i wrote a controversial post on cussing. *gasp* 😯

some of the comments got pretty heated. i tried over and over to state my case and thoughts on cussing but im not so sure it was received by some.

my thoughts on cussing…a word is a word is a word. its where that word is coming from. the condition of the heart. the intent behind it.

the other day my son, kota, and i were watching a video from a pastor that was talking about cussing and using bad language such as, sucks, crap, hell, damn. he hit heavily on pastors or those in teaching positions to be mindful of what is coming out of their mouths…and so on and so on.

at the end of the video kota expressed his confusion about a couple things. which gave me the opportunity to share my feelings on “cussing”.

me: say im driving down the road and a driver cuts me off, dangerously. i blow up at him. which is worse, to call him an idiot or an asshole?

kota: um. both.

me: why?

kota: because, youre angry.

my 12 year old son gets it.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick Walsh permalink
    December 30, 2009 10:17 am

    Wish everyone got it! You are awesome inprogress! Thanks for your insight!

  2. December 30, 2009 10:18 am

    I didnt catch your first post on this. But I agree with your perspective wholeheartedly. Not to condone cussing, but it begins in the heart.

  3. December 30, 2009 10:19 am

    I find my stance of this changes from time to time. I don’t think there is anything intrinsically evil about a word — but there is meaning behind words. If I am using my words to cut people down or be crass, then it is wrong.

    We should honor God in ALL we do.

  4. Denise permalink
    December 30, 2009 10:34 am

    In the New Testament Paul says something about pork being okay to eat, but if it offends someone, you shouldn’t eat pork in their presence.

    Cussing is like pork. There are people who cuss just to be radical, like “Look at me, I say ‘fuck’ but still love God.” They do it without regard, almost proudly. I think that’s wrong. It’s like eating pork in front of a Jew to prove God won’t strike you down. Eat as much pork as you want, but the person’s opinion of you will get lower and lower.

    From a lingustics standpoint, I don’t think we use bad words simply because someone has deemed them bad. It’s the hard consanants that we like, the clipped way they leave our mouths. Shoot is a good replacement for shit not because it’s less extreme, but because of the hard T sound.

  5. December 30, 2009 11:01 am

    I have to kind of agree. It is where you’re coming from.. But, you do have to think of the context of the word. For instance, I could be totally joking and say, “What on earth is he talking about!?” haha. blah blah..

    But.. if I say, “What the fuck is he talking about?!” haha blah blah..

    I imagine some people read those two sentences differently, even though I mean the exact same thing.

    If it was just me on this planet, I guess it would be fine. I was raised cussing. seriously. but, there are people that hear words like shit, and seriously have a panic attack. Do I think that’s over sensitive? yes, but I do try my best to respect other people.

    And that’s what life all boils down to. What do we have if we don’t have love and respect?

    a whole lot of poop.

  6. December 30, 2009 11:57 am

    Well damn… I was hoping we could bury all this shit and just move the hell on. It’s not like anyone gives a rats ass anyway.


    Well darn… I was hoping we could bury all this crap and just move the heck on. It’s not like anyone gives a rats patootie anyway.

    Seriously… if anyone sees a difference in those, you’re a much smarter (and sensitive) person than I.

  7. December 30, 2009 12:16 pm

    I could not agree with Denise’s comment more. 🙂 I loved this post when it first went up, and I love it still. It’s all about the heart.

  8. December 30, 2009 1:16 pm

    A little about my background (not because it’s interesting, but because people like to talk about themselves): My dad was a Deacon at our local Baptist Church. He didn’t cuss -at all- after he became a Christian. I think, as a result, I never have either (I also didn’t go to a Government school). I don’t think badly of people who do; myself, I feel guilty saying the name of that one dog breed that starts with the “sh” word…yeah, you know. That’s lame – and, evidently it isn’t pronounced the same anyway, so….

    uh, anyway

    I have my own issues that I need to correct, so my lack of cussing isn’t anything that I flaunt…though people notice (isn’t that interesting?)

    To Mr. Campolo’s statement cited in the original blog post “…What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.” … I say, yes Mr. “Red Letter Christian,” isn’t it amazing how sin distracts people from what’s important? I suppose if he were flipping us off while telling us about the 30,000 kids who died, he would also be the victim? Here’s a thought, Mr. Campolo, how about cleaning it up a bit so that your words don’t get in the way of the message you’re sending?

    Which is better? Murder or Assault?

    I think that the “cussing” debate actually stems from a greater Christian issue. That is the propensity for “modern-day” Christians to attempt to find ways to justify becoming more like the world… After all, if we’re more like the world, the world will relate to us better, right?

    We [Christians] have grown so tired of the “goody two shoes” stereotype, that we’ll compromise our differences with the world in order to “attract” more people. The fact is that glorifying God through everything we do takes second place because we think we know better.

    I believe that Kota was correct in saying “both,” but the reason wasn’t exactly correct. The reason should be “because neither brings glory to God (draws attention to)” – Both the words said in anger and the anger itself. When we say neither was right because we were angry, it *sounds like* we are saying that the sin of anger is greater than the sin of impure language – when, in fact, both are sins.

    Since I don’t know you personally, it’s a lot easier for me to draw incorrect conclusions about your Christian World-View (as I somewhat point out in my post at, but I think in general we Christians shouldn’t spend too much time debating ways to justify doing things that clearly don’t bring glory to God. We should, instead, ask ourselves if what we just did (cussing, belching loudly in church, peeing on the neighbors lawn, etc.) brought attention to God or ourselves. If we can live that way, we don’t try to find the lesser sins that we can commit without as much guilt.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 I’m about a 4, but I’m trying.

    Lastly, a note on words – It is an unfortunate thing about language that words have the meaning that *society*, as a whole, pours into them. For example, you an I both know that when I say “that man is gay,” I don’t mean that he’s happy. Oh, I could argue that since *I* think it means happy, it’s perfectly fine for me to say. After the guy punches me in the nose, I might decide that it isn’t necessary to say anymore. Likewise, if I say “OMG,” I could argue that *to me* it means “Oh My Gollygarsh,” but to the other 99.99% of the world, I’ve just used God’s name in vain. So, “which is better” to say: “OMG,” or “Oh My God”?

    So, I say, while a cussing Christian certainly won’t go to hell for the sin, why become a master at conforming to the world? Does Jesus really need a makeover?

    Good blog. Good topic. (G)

    • December 30, 2009 3:28 pm

      “but I think in general we Christians shouldn’t spend too much time debating ways to justify doing things that clearly don’t bring glory to God.”

      thats the thing…im not debating it at all. in my opinion, theres nothing to debate. this isnt about words…its about heart. and anothers heart…i can not judge.

      with that…i wouldnt say a “cussing christian” is “sin”. it seems its becoming more and more difficult to define “cussing”. like i said in the post – it is definitely the intent behind the words…any words.

      thank you so much for your comment. i certainly respect your view and personal convictions on this matter.

      • December 30, 2009 4:24 pm

        thanks for the response… of course, none of what I said is directed at you, but the topic in general.

        I would challenge the idea that the words we use are sin or not sin based on the heart of the person stating those words. I believe [in the case of spoken/written words] it has more to do with the perception of the receiver than the heart of the speaker. It seems similar to the “meat sacrificed to idols,” which is purely based on perception. Since we are commanded not to do things that we know cause someone to stumble, and we know that there are indeed certain words that are generally accepted as “offensive,” we should, at the very least, avoid using those words (and of course there’s Grace for when we slip). Since it is a command, disobeying that command can only be defined as sin. If I know something to be generally received as impure/crass/coarse (all of which I am daily, or at least weekly, guilty of saying), then I should do my best to avoid saying it.

        I feel like it is the same with “coarse jesting” (guilty, also)… we could debate (though I know we aren’t debating) for hours about what defines “coarse jesting” and whether or not something isn’t coarse now that used to be, but I think we all know what it means and we should, as Christians, try to avoid it. If we have knowledge that the Word commands something, and then we choose to ignore it, it’s sin – regardless of if it’s an off-color joke or murder – and, in my opinion, we should own it as such and strive to remedy it though we fail daily.

        But praise God Christians aren’t going to be condemned for these things – or you and I (aaaand everyone else) would be in big trouble….remember the guy who got stoned for carrying an armful of firewood on the sabbath? Who would ever call that a sin? yikes!

        Sorry, I like debating – I wish this were a debate because it would be more fun. 🙂

        I like the color coding of the comments… is that just part of the theme or is it a plug-in?

  9. December 30, 2009 2:38 pm

    Joshua White..hahahahahaha i love that you don’t buy into the sugar coated stuff…

    i remember this post, and have to agree with Kota..he is one smart lil man!

  10. December 30, 2009 2:57 pm

    Definitely one of my fave posts of the year too.

    People tend to notice I don’t cuss either…what the feck’s that about??

    (seriously…how Ireland comes up with the best Christian F-word ever and it doesn’t take off around the world is beyond me. I guess it’s because it sounds too convincing unless you feign an Irish lilt)

  11. Kristi O permalink
    December 30, 2009 3:19 pm

    i love this post. I cuss, I admit it. I drink too much diet coke too, am I going to hell, not so sure about that. My mom and I work together, play together and call each other bitch’s and its funny. My bestie and I call each other dirty whore’s when the other does something and doesn’t include each other, its our love. but I tell ya, those ladies heart my cry when it hurts, and when i laugh deeply with them. We do it in the right company and not when it would do harm at least we hope. I love josh’s post and I love kota’s thoughts. If someone wants to condemn me for swearing let him throw the first rock. I know people and the One from the Cross just might have my back… or blood.. or something

  12. December 30, 2009 3:52 pm

    Went back & read through about half of the comments on the original. Interesting thoughts by all.

    When one of those words come out of my mouth, I usually feel guilt. Why? Because, unfortunately, I hear my mother’s voice. Scary. Go-to-your-room voice. I grew up hearing those words many times a day. Many. When I turned 18 & tried to act cool by using those words, it never felt right. I would have a mini-panic attack if I said it within earshot of my mother. I was (and still am) more afraid of not “pleasing” my mother than I was of God!!

    After much prayer, I still let the sh** word slip. Daily. Sometimes I just get tired of trying so hard not to say it. Or idiot, or darn, or a$$, or shoot, or even feck (for those down under)!

    Thanks for sharing your little piece of wisdom. And I “washed” that gr** (cuss word to me) out of my hair last week. (actually it’s white).

  13. December 30, 2009 5:58 pm

    I curse. A lot. The end.

  14. December 30, 2009 6:07 pm

    I cuss a lot too. And sometimes I don’t. Kota’s got it right, it’s all about your heart. Even if you’re not cussing and you say something out of hate, or anger, it’s foul. Like Josh said, let’s “bury all this shit and just move the hell on.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  15. Lynse Leanne permalink
    December 30, 2009 8:24 pm

    Pretty sure I’m a sailor.

  16. December 30, 2009 11:04 pm

    Kota is officially smarter than 90% of the adults I know. Not that I condone cussing, but I do cuss.

  17. January 6, 2010 6:12 am

    i remember loving this the first time around.

    and damn, i love you!

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