I saw a meme the other day that said, “I’m a Christian, but I swear a little.” That’s probably a motto for many Christ-followers. Have you ever stopped to think, Is that okay? Is it a big deal or not?
A friend of mine was once with another friend of mine. They both went to the same church. The second friend was a leader in our church in many areas. He would put on a really clean face and mouth when at church. That’s why my first friend was a little shocked when my second friend was swearing like a sailor when they were together outside of church. My first friend was thinking, “Who is the real person?” and “Why is he talking like that now?”
It’s an Essential question that I think we need to think through as Christ-followers and Godly Leaders. We, as Christians, can become very pious and religious in things that we do, yet not know why we do them. I don’t write this blog to condemn those who do cuss, swear, or curse – whichever word you are inclined to use – nor do I write to condemn those who take a religious pride in not cussing. It is, instead, to bring truth to this fuzzy topic. I do believe that we all sin, and we all need grace. Jesus actually broke many of the “religiosity” rules without sinning. With that said, I was transformed from a potty mouth when I recommitted my life to Jesus in the fall of 1986 at a Benny Hester concert (anyone remember him?). I rarely swear anymore, and since 1986, an inordinate percentage of my swearing has come while putting up Christmas decorations (insert your own joke here).
Here are 4 Essential things to consider as you evaluate whether it’s okay for a Godly Leader to swear:
#1 – WHAT’S THE OVERFLOW OF YOUR HEART?
Luke 6:45 says, “A good man [or woman] brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
If you are swearing because of any sin issue that overflows from your heart, it is not okay. Are there anger issues? Is there bitterness? Is there malice or jealousy? These are all examples of overflows of the heart that could lead to swearing and need to be dealt with. A good first question regarding swearing is, “Is my swearing a heart issue?”
#2 – WHY ARE YOU SWEARING?
I was listening to a podcast recently that had a lot of swearing. I ended up turning it off. But, I got to asking the question, “Why are the hosts swearing so much?” It was like normal conversation, and sometimes it didn’t even seem to make sense. I think some reasons could be:
- To be cool with certain crowds
- To break the Christian mold
- To be a bad boy / bad girl
- Anger issues
- Out of habit
As the why of swearing is evaluated, it usually becomes pretty clear that there is rarely a good reason for swearing. Colossians 3:8, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” There may be a very rare bad word that comes from a complete moment of frustration or fear or whatever. But if you find yourself beyond that level, recognize that for the Godly Leader, it is Essential that we put that talk away.
#3 – WHAT KIND OF WITNESS ARE YOU BEING?
I’ve heard people say they swear to break down walls with unbelievers. They’ll reference Jesus mixing it up with sinners. To be honest, I don’t get that. Yes, Jesus did mix it up with sinners, and that’s what we are to do as Godly Leaders as well. However, He did so without sinning. His first miracle was turning water into wine, yes. But, we never see him getting drunk or using obscene talk. On the flip side, the #1 reason that unbelievers don’t want to follow Christianity is seeing the hypocrisy in its followers. It is Essential that we realize that our calling on earth is to glorify God and point people to Him. As Godly Leaders, it’s hard to justify obscene talk. While it could be its own category, let’s just make note that taking the Lord’s name in vain is never an option for any reason.
For me, personally, that includes “OMG.” I’ll say, “Oh My Goodness,” but if I type out OMG, what are 99% of people thinking? Their mind goes to using the Lord’s name in a non-reverent, flippant way. As a result, I never go there. I’m not saying that’s the Gospel, but I believe it’s Essential for the Godly Leader to at least give it consideration and have some Godly reasoning of why it is okay. I personally don’t know of one.
#4 – WHAT GOES IN IS WHAT COMES OUT.
This consideration has to do with what we consume. If we are watching TV shows, movies, TikTok videos, listening to blogs and music, and reading books and blogs with a plethora of swearing, it begs to reason that that has an effect on our hearts and minds. It not only desensitizes us to swearing but also fills out minds and moves to our hearts, where it eventually flows out. I do realize it’s very difficult to expunge all cussing from our media – it’s everywhere these days. For some, that will be their conviction. But for all Godly Leaders, if there is a significant amount of swearing in what you are consuming, I do think it’s Essential for you to evaluate the benefit and cost of your intake.
We could talk a lot more on this topic, but we’ll leave it there for now. What are your thoughts or questions? Leave them in the comments. If you found this blog helpful or thought-provoking, please subscribe below to receive a new blog in your email every other Tuesday morning. Also, if you think this blog would be helpful for others, please share it on social media or tell a few friends about it!
Love being on this Essential Godly Leadership journey with you!
Essential Godly Leadership: “Leading your life, your family, your work, your relationships, and your world in a way that is seeking wisdom from, and pleasing to, the Lord Jesus.”