If you’ve known me a while, and particularly if you’ve ever been a passenger in my car…you’ll know that I am in very bad habit of using some uh, colourful language.
For sure, this is the by product of the culture I’ve been surrounded by growing up, where basically ‘f**k’ is used as an adjective for pretty much every word you speak, or just a bridge between words.
Even in my primary school, it was perfectly ‘normal’ for kids to be using language like that in the playground. I didn’t realise that sort of thing wasn’t normal until I went to high school in a slightly more affluent area and some of the ‘good’ kids were clearly taken aback by my use of language (until they got older and then they did too).
I became acutely aware of my mouth when I first went to church and was terrified of offending people (unfortunately I didn’t know what blasphemy was, and I’d replaced my F words with the OMG words…) and though I would still sometimes swear (usually in anger or frustration) it grew less and less common.
Of course now, I’m back in Edinburgh. Back amongst my friends from high school – particularly the guys, and that kind of language is used all the time. And it’s just habit to slip back into it. Plus, I think working in a Christian organisation I sometimes feel quite frustrated and suffocated and some words can come tumbling out.
And I’m not proud of it. And I’ve been asking God to try and help me with it.
So why did I begin this post with some uncensored words back up at the top there? Surely it’s quite simple not to use bad language on this kind of interface?
Yes, it is.
But that is how one guy decided to start his sermon at a Christian conference a few years ago.
He got up on stage, microphone in hand and exclaimed loudly those words…Fucking Bastard.
And the whole room exploded with muttering and talking.
After a few minutes, the man said “I take it that offended you then?”
And then he said “I wonder why it is that we don’t get offended in the same way by poverty or people who have lived through real injustice?” and then proceeded to read out for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
One of our volunteers was telling me this story – as she was there. I wasn’t. But it made me smile as she shared this anecdote with me, as God had said pretty much the same thing to me a few days before, as I apologised to Him once again for my poor choice of words to express my anger or disgust at something.
And He just said to me: Laura Anne, stop focusing so much on the language you use when there are much more important things to be concerned about or apologising for.
I don’t for one moment condone the use of swear words.
But I was surprised at this response from God. And I realised His point.
So while I’m not going to be taking off my attempts at filtering the words that have a tendency to spew out my mouth, I’m also going to stop beating myself about it quite so much, and instead choose to focus on the fact that I can make a positive difference in the world the way that Jesus taught us.
By loving people.
By taking opportunities to bless the poor in Spirit, the people who are mourning, those who are desperate for justice, to show mercy, to be purer in heart, to be a peacemaker…
I believe these things to be far greater things to focus my energies on.