I remember the first time I said a bad word when I was young. It ended with a spanking. From that point on, I was very careful to never say a swear word. As I grew up, I would here people swearing all around me, and I told myself I would never be like them. When I headed off to college, I was appalled at the language use on the campus during my first semester. There was no holding back on expletives.
My second semester came with much more challenging classes. My classmates and I found cameraderie in the fact that we were struggling together. We would spend hours before our chemistry lab class plodding our way through confusing homework. One day, my classmate and I became very frustrated and she let off a string of swear words. I did not join in, but in my head I was thinking “That perfectly expresses how I feel at this moment.” Another girl told me that it every other sentence seems to end in an expletive since she started college.
Then one day, I found myself thinking a swear word in my head out of frustration. I was surprised at how easy it was to let a word like that slip and how good it felt to think that word. Another moment later, guilt slipped in, and I regretted thinking that word.
That experience led me to wondering why it is so easy and feels so good to swear. Sometimes, swear words seem to sum up some of the bad circumstances of life very nicely.
For any person who does not believe that God holds power over this world, the only thing they can do is grit their teeth and bear it, turn to drugs, or find some other way to deal with hardship. I think swearing is just another way of dealing with frustrating or difficult situations that happen on this earth. Swearing is of this world, therefore, it perfectly sums up the struggles of this world.
However, for Christians, we are in the world but not of it. “For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding (1 Chronicles 29:15 ESV).”
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” I take comfort in the fact that the trials of this world can strengthen my faith and trust in God.
We do not need to suffer the trials of this world alone. We don’t need swear words to help us cope with bad things when we have God by our side. I lost my phone once, and all I could say the whole time was, “Dear Lord, Oh God, Dear God…” over and over again in a desperate cry to God for help and the for the assurance that my phone was safe. I know that is a silly example, but from now on, I will offer up a quiet prayer to God every time I’m frustrated, anxious, or scared.
What are your thoughts about swearing? How do you avoid it and keep your heart pure?