Q & A With Sister Swaggart - XI
As a Christian, what’s the big deal if I cuss a little?
The big deal is that more and more believers are cursing and taking the Lord’s name in vain, and they don’t think there’s a thing wrong with doing it. After addressing this topic on Frances & Friends I was shocked by the number of people who responded with statements like, “I know Christians who curse all the time. But they’re still Christians.”
If they are cussing in everyday conversation, are they Christians? If believers are using language like this, then I have to wonder if they even know what being a Christian is all about.
Brother Mike Muzzerall said he’s seen people wearing t-shirts that read, “I’m a Christian, and I cuss a little,” as if the “little” part makes the cussing alright. Why would a Christian wear that? Why would you be proud of your sin? And swearing is sin.
When people no longer know what sin is, then the church has certainly missed its job and is far from where it should be in the Lord.
Even so, believers are mistaken if they think they can go out there and use ugly language and say curse words against the Lord Jesus Christ and not be held accountable.
Damn And Hell
For some people, the words damn and hell are part of their everyday conversations, and they justify using these terms because they are, after all, found in the Bible. These words are found in Scripture, that’s true, but as Donnie pointed out, to “damn” someone is God’s prerogative, not ours.
Let’s look at how the Lord Jesus Christ used the word damnation in these verses:
These are very solemn verses that declare with certainty the condemnation that awaits such offenders.
- “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation” (Matt. 23:14).
- “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” (Mark 3:29).
- “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29).
And then there’s the word hell, which people, including believers, toss into flippant phrases, such as “what the hell?”
To answer that question, hell is a horrible place of torments, plural, as in varied types of grief and sorrows. Among all the awful things about hell—the fire, which is literal fire; the memory of lost opportunities to have responded to the gospel, regret over deeds committed, and eternal separation from saved loved ones—the worst is that it will never end.
That’s why, when I hear someone casually or even jokingly tell another person, “Go to hell,” it actually hurts me because I understand the truth of this directive.
Taking The Lord’s Name In Vain
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Ex. 20:7)
Taking the name of the Lord in vain—and the word vain just means “empty”—pertains to all blasphemy, all swearing, all perjury, and in fact, all irreverent use of God’s name in ordinary life.
It hurts me so badly when I hear someone take the name of the Lord in vain. There is actually a pain that goes through my heart when I hear it. So it’s not just swearing that is wrong, it is using God’s name without the reverence that should be attached to it.
Believers are using the name of the Lord the same way they would use profanity. They won’t say a bad word, but they have no problem using the name of the Lord in its place to express anger, frustration, happiness, or fear as in, “My God,” “Oh, Jesus!” or “Jesus Christ, what do you think you’re doing?” And how many times have you received a text message with “OMG” meaning “Oh my God”?
As Christians, we should never forget how holy and how righteous the Lord is. We acknowledge that holiness and righteousness by not dragging the Lord’s name down in the mud and using it in a way that is inappropriate.
The name of the Lord is important to Him. Psalm 138:2 says He has magnified his Word above His own name. And his name should be important to all of us because “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
Phrases like “greasy grace” and “sloppy agape” are also irreverent and should not be used by believers.
Donnie shared a good example of this. He said:
“Years ago, when Dr. Gray was president of JSBC, on a particular Sunday, we had had a tremendous moving of the Spirit at church. The next day, my path crossed with one of the Bible college students with whom I had some acquaintance, and I heard him saying to a small group of people, ‘Boy, the Ghost was there yesterday.’ I gently pulled him to the side and said, ‘Don’t let me ever hear that expression come out of your mouth.’
We’re not trying to be the language police, but if people profess to know the Lord, and they start cussing around you, then you need to call them on it. Say, “Hey, wait a minute, that is not the language of a believer.”
The young man got wide-eyed and asked, ‘What do you mean?’
I said, ‘He’s not ‘the Ghost,’ He’s the Holy Spirit, and what you just said back there to those guys, that’s sin. Now here’s what you need to do—I can’t make you, but you need to repent in your heart and go back and apologize to those students and say, ‘I should not have said that.’ You have a lackadaisical attitude toward the holiness of God and the things of God, and if you keep going down that path, you will, eventually, begin to profane everything that is righteous and holy.’ And that young man received what I told him.”
And here’s why we should call them on it: using those types of words masks a deeper problem in the heart—a problem that can fester and affect a person’s faith.
As Christians, our language should be different. There is no justification for a child of God to use profanity.
Let’s be conscious of our words and make them mean something. We can use our conversation to bring glory to God and not bring the Lord into our petty disagreements or our expressions of anger, frustration, or fear.
We shouldn’t be saying “Oh, God,” or “Jesus!” even when we’re expressing good news. If something wonderful happens, say, “Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Lord.” Let’s respect the holiness, the righteousness, and the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And let this thought always be in the forefront of our minds: “I don’t want to say anything that will bring dishonor to my testimony or to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Amen.