Christians And Bad Words
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Politics and Activism

Christians And Bad Words

You need to be careful about bad words, but maybe not in the way you're thinking.

Christians And Bad Words
Sarah Browning

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the Christian community, and I see it happen all the time. And I know, not all Christians are alike, but I do see this happen a lot. Christians isolate themselves from all "bad" language and "bad" content in everything. Books, movies, other people, you name it. Now, I totally understand the reasoning behind this, and sheltering yourself, or your kids (especially depending on age), from vulgar, valueless, unnecessarily, actually bad content is completely fine and right. The error occurs when you dismiss anything containing "bad" language or "bad" content as valueless. Then you wade into dangerous waters, and these waters are particularly dangerous because you go in thinking you're completely justified.

Before we go on any further, I want to recall a fundamental Christian belief/virtue/practice. As a Christian, no matter who you are, you are claiming that Christ is truth. And as a Christian, a Christ-follower, part of your job is to know and search for truth. If Christ is truth, then like Christ, truth is a pretty big thing. It is too big to be constrained by one person's viewpoint, and it is too big to be articulated by one person's words. It is even too big to be articulated by one kind of person (that is, truth is not only spoken by Christians). Remember this as we go along.

I'm an English major, which I've already mentioned a dozen times, but it's still true. Consequently, I get to read all kinds of fun, undeniably great works of literature. Most of them contain, by Christian standards, "bad" language and "bad" content. My understanding of truth is greatly increased, and my life experience is enhanced, by reading these things because they probe truth, and, somehow, they manage to uncover and articulate some facet of it. Capital "T" truth. As a Christian, that's exactly what you're looking for.

I see Christians write off all R rated movies, any books with sex in them, or any "bad" language at all. Sometimes that's a good thing, depending on the person, but it can also be very dangerous. Firstly, "bad" language and sex are a part of life, and if you go around avoiding everything that's touched bad language or sex simply because it's touched bad language and sex, then you're probably missing out on some hugely important truths about life. Secondly, you are giving this stuff way more power and influence over you than it has to have. Language is just language; its meaning is assigned by people. Thirdly, and most importantly, you are limiting God. If you dismiss everything that has any kind of "bad" content in it as valueless, then you are limiting the breadth and the depth of God's power. God is God. He can use whomever He desires to speak His truth. He can use people who use "bad" words, and He can use books with "bad" content. It is not in your power to limit God, and I don't imagine that was ever the intent, but it is a consequence.

Have you ever considered that "darn it" and "god damn it" mean the same thing? You say them in the same scenarios, and you say them with the exact same intent. Yet, you probably only consider one as taking the Lord's name in vain. But, actually, they are both taking the Lord's name in vain. If you get hung up on "bad" language, just because, then you're probably missing the point.

Now, I know it's not a black and white issue, and it's extremely difficult to navigate in reality. You definitely don't have to use bad language, or write crassly, just, as a Christian, be careful when you dismiss anything that has "bad" language or "bad" content. You could very well be dismissing an opportunity to broaden your understanding of truth. Exercise discernment in everything. If you think your God is not strong enough to stand up to some bad words, and to guide you past them to the heart of the message, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your faith. God will guide you through this world, and all the "bad" words, and all the "bad" content. He will help you discern truth, capital "T" truth, wherever it may be.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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