This weekend, I got called a M*F*er. I was picking my daughter and her friend up from in front of a store and the van behind me started beeping it's horn trying to get us to move. Obviously, I couldn't move the car while the girls were getting in. And I could have quickly moved out of the way once they were safely inside. But this part of me rebelled. This wild child part of me that likes to throw down with people reared her ugly head, and there I sat....not moving an inch. Of course the van behind continued to honk. I sat. They honked. The girls squirmed and slid down in their seats. When I was good and ready I inched forward. They sped around and stopped, rolled down the window and the driver shouted, "You are rude. Why did you have to be a M*F*er?" Steely eyed, I stared her down and calmly said, "I didn't HAVE to be." I guess I could have said, "You speak the truth" because in reality I was being what she called me. A few honks of her horn were slightly annoying. My sitting and not moving on purpose, well that was totally rebellious and unloving and wrong.
One thing that hit me after this encounter though, was how her cussing at me had such little impact. Which I consider a good thing. You see, a couple years ago God really confronted me, hard, on my lack of concern for the unregenerated, the lost. Since all my friends were Christians and most of the people I worked with were Christians, I decided to get out there and mingle with non-Christians. One of the first things I did was go to a bachelorette party for a soon to be sister-in-law. All I can say is that I felt like a cloistered nun who after 20 years in the nunnery, was plopped down in the middle of a sports bar during the Superbowl. Total culture shock! I saw and heard things there that made my ears turn red. I am sure I blushed the whole time. I can't even describe how I felt, except I did ask God if He was sure I was supposed to do this missional thing.
Over the next few years, God lit a passion in me for the lost. But that meant that I had to get used to non-Christian behavior. I confess to you, my brothers and sisters, that I didn't realize that I was so incredibly judgemental about so many things. And hearing a cuss word, especially the "real bad" ones, would cause a physical reaction in me, almost like being slapped. I was so focused on stuff like swearing, that I lost sight of the person and the spiritual need. It hit me...I was Church Lady. This realization made me sorrowful and repentant.
I have a friend who, out of obedience and love for God, is working on stopping her swearing. I asked her recently if she only swore when she was angry. I asked her because I was curious about this whole swearing thing. I wondered if it was possible that God would have her to stop swearing while He would have me become more tolerant of swearing? Was I missing the boat? Was I misreading God? I know that some feel swearing is a cultural thing. Others think it is a spiritual flaw. I am not a swearer. It doesn't look right on me, just like spandex...spandex wouldn't look right on me. Yet, I know of some powerful preachers of the Word who swear. They are preaching the Gospel and are being used by God to transform lives. And so is my friend, who is trying to stop swearing.
So, to swear or not to swear...that is the question. Or is it?