Saturday, 24 December 2011

Swearing - an offense or just an expression of anger

It is fair to say that in our society, we all are accustomed to hearing certain unpleasant words. According to Google Definitions, A 'Swear Word' is 'an offensive word, used especially as an expression of anger'. We have been educated that these words are offensive, and have been disciplined to not use them, yet many use these words on a regular basis. While few use them to express anger in the slip of the tongue and with much apology and penitence, others use them at a higher frequency with very little or no remorse.

As Christians, how are we to respond to this in our society? What does the Bible ultimately say about this contemporary problem? And 'WHY' is it a problem, especially for the Christian?

Colossians 3:7-8 says, You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage. malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.

That is a command with a lot of clarity! It clearly commands the Christian to rid themselves of 'filthy language' - in other words, what our society has branded as 'swearing'. When we choose to follow Christ and identify ourselves in Him, we need to repent of our old ways. We've become 'new creations' as the 'old things have passed away'; we're 'born again'. We need to flee from all sinfulness; we need to hate sin, thus, we need to say 'NO' to swearing, primarily in our lives and then in the society. However, I do understand that most things are easier said than done.

Many may wonder: Why? Why should we not swear? If it is offensive in the eyes of the world, why should it be all the more offensive in the eyes of a Christian?

1Peter 2:11-12 & 15 say, Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits...For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

The answer to the above questions is clearly stated in the passage above. When we profess to be Christians, our society watches the way we live more closely. We need to seek to please God primarily and show our society that we are living a 'new', 'changed' life. Yes, the pressure is on! However, what a fantastic opportunity we have to glorify the Savior! We are called to be living testimonies, by not partaking in what the world does - in this case, 'swear' - we stand out. Trust me, people notice the difference, the difference in our relationships and our lifestyles, and they seek the reason - what a better way to point to the Savior!

The truth is, we're not perfect. There will be times when we slip, however, lets not give up but persevere! We live in the world, but should ensure that we're not of the world. When you're tempted to pour out with these words, stop, think and pray for guidance asking God to put a rein over your tongue  - 'clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...[and] put on love...'(Col 3:12 & 14)  Swearing may seem harmless, however it speaks a lot about a person and can even hurt others. Lets not just call ourselves Christians, but lets profess to be Christians both in word and deed.

Colossians 3:17 - ...Whatever you do, word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

When we profess to be Christians, our society watches the way we live more closely!

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