I have a potty-mouth. It’s true, but not everyone knows it. The fact is that many people do not know it. That tells an interesting story in itself - Some people do not know that I curse because I do not curse around everyone nor do I curse everywhere. It means I choose. That means I am responsible. That s…, well, I mean to say that it is very uncomfortable for me to admit this.
I used to think that cursing came because of the people I was around or the business that I was in. Lots of influences from both of those to be sure. It became a habit- not like smoking which actually requires a cigarette and a flame, but a habit. It was so ingrained that I did not even realize the reflexive nature of my language depending upon when and where I was.
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the few very successful comedians who delivers his stand up without cursing or references to sex. His opinion is that too often the use of cursing and sex are because of lazy comedians who are willing to settle for shock value laughs. To him, it demonstrates a lack of creativity and skill and it cheapens the quality of the comic’s material.
I write. I have done a lot of speaking around the world to both audiences large and small. I know how to craft a message that does not require cursing or references to sex. I know but I do not do. Besides, I figure, it’s not the biggest deal of all, right? I have a long list of sins that I don’t do that are worse. I do a lot of sins that are worse. On balance, cursing can’t be that big of a deal, in the grand scheme of things. (Please enter the Rationalization Choir singing “At Least I Don’t Kill People).
I have made Lenten commitments to not curse. I once put jar in the middle of a meeting room that required people who cursed to put $1 in for every time they cursed in the meeting. I paid out a $20 bill in the first meeting. New Year’s resolutions never help regardless of whether it is weight, exercise or cursing. Reminds me of Paul’s dilemma:
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.Romans 7:19
Every time I read the following scripture I experience shame, because I know that it is truth.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:9-10
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
Big takeaways for me:
It’s a choice that I can make.
It is dishonorable and sinful to use my ability to speak in a way that does not honor God.
Seeing it as a choice for God rather than a change in habit for helps.
I'm nervous. (Of course, I'm going to pray- I'm not worried about God, I'm nervous about me)
If I smash my hand with a hammer, I’m not sure what will come out of my mouth. I do know that I can choose the rest of the time and why I want to choose. For me, that means making new choices a lot of the time compared to the choices I made in the past. Bad, good, better, betterest. I know betterest is not a word, but I also know I can't get to perfect, so I'm going to use my own new word. I believe that God will get me there now that I have chosen him rather than me and my habit.