But, isn't there more to words than merely their terms? Isn't the meaning or intent far more important? I say yes. I know some will disagree, so I want to show through the Scriptures that it isn't which words you are using, but to whom, which culture and for what reason. You can have your own convictions of which terms you will and will not use, that is completely okay (Romans 14). But, you must not use your list and your convictions to put it on others as a yoke that isn't required from Christ. That is when you cross the line of using your conscience to a Pharisee.
Also, know that this isn't a post to get you to start cussing, or to use words however you want. Actually living by theseconvictions will make you more conscience of your speech, not less. You will also note, I am going to completely use the Scriptures here to make my point and case on this subject. I have written some other posts on the matter, which you can check out here:
More Stuff/Crap About Vulgar Language
Further Discussion on Coarse Language
Isn't There a List of Words Good Christians Shouldn't Use?
This is an interesting question. Some Christians don't like people using the term "crap", some Christians don't like people using the term "sh#t", some Christians don't like people using the term "poop". Then we have which terms can one use for your gluteus maximus? Can you use the term "ass" or "butt" or is "bum" or "hiney" only allowable? Some don't like people using the term "frick" or "frack" or whatever, the point is the list could be so outrageous that one could never express themselves without being condemned to hell...errr...that fiery place...for using them. Isn't there some sort of list in the Bible that we can all follow so that we can just get along? Here is the real issue that most don't know. The use of particular terms is a grey area, not a black and white issue. And, the issue is NOT which terms, but in the intent behind the term.
I was having coffee with Mike Gunn, the founding pastor and one of the preaching pastors at my new church, and he brought this up to me.
Jesus, himself, had a list of words, okay, only one word, that you were never allowed to use. He even said that if you use it that you would be guilty of the fiery hell. And with this he proves that lists of specific terms are not good enough, but their intent is far more important to the one using words to express themselves.
“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
Jesus tells us that if you express yourself by calling your brother a fool, you are guilty enough of fiery hell. At first glance, this looks like Christ has just made a list for us to follow, to put in your fake leather bible cover right next to the bookmark with Psalm 42 written on it. Case closed, done. I can add that word with other words that are naughty. Then as you read your computerized Bible reading plan for a year, you come across this word again. You see that it is used, and you say, "well, that person is destined for hell because they used the term that Jesus said not to."
It comes in Matthew 23:17
“You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?"
But, wait, there must have been a printing error, because this verse is in red.
If it's in red, then Jesus said it. So, we have a predicament here. Either Jesus is a sinner and is not our Saviour, or there is something deeper in what Christ meant in Matthew 5:22.
No longer will the fool be called noble,
Or the rogue be spoken of as generous.
For a fool speaks nonsense,
And his heart inclines toward wickedness:
To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the Lord,
To keep the hungry person unsatisfied
And to withhold drink from the thirsty.
You can see the strength in this term. But you can also see why Christ, in the context he was in with the Pharisees, used the term for them. He wasn't unrighteously angry, he was trying to get to their hearts and this term would definitely suffice. Using this term for accusation purposes because one has unrighteous anger in their heart is where the sin is, not in the term itself.
How does this look today?I use terms that would constitute the same exact leanings and consequences. I call some friends "dumb asses" when we are kidding around. I have also used the term in an honest evaluation of someone when they are being a dumb, stubborn ass and need correction. I have also used the term when it has been in the wrong context, with the wrong people and I considered to be a sin because I didn't take into consideration of those listening.
Some will have the term "ass" on their list of words not to use. That is completely fine and I have friends that would fit into this category. I will not use the term around them as I am concerned for them and not with my freedom to use such a term. So, is it the term that is bad, or is it the context and culture that I am in? What we find with Christ, it is the context, culture and intent...not the actual word. The only time it is the actual word is if you personally have your conscience set against it and then you use the term.
I will do another post on this subject to get to the heart of these verses:
and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
We will really hit some different passages to see what Paul is trying to put forth here. Again, if people were to put Jesus to the same test that they put others, their testing would find Jesus guilty of sin. That is dangerous footing and one I will hopefully open up for discussion so that we can get to the true heart of the matter.
Because I, as sure as hell, don't want you going to hell.