By Bryce Shockley
When I first came to Asbury there was some small, innocent part of me that half expected there to not be any foul language on campus. I thought going to a Christian school would bear the marks of clean speech.
However, I often heard speech that could compare with my public high school.
Alongside of that, I’ve heard phrases that use God’s name in vain thrown around like a football, even in the pulpit of Hughes.
Even though I was raised in a Christian home, the desire to learn and use the rich, vulgar vocabulary was just as tempting for me as anyone else. While I’ve had my own issues with swearing, I have found that as I’ve grown in holiness, my swearing has slowed accordingly.
The problem is that cursing has become commonplace here on campus and many do not even seem to skip a beat when speaking with vulgarity. In his blog, Tim Challies stated, “The most surprising part about having to address the problem of cussing Christians is that there is even a problem to address.” I agree wholeheartedly. I am baffled that so many do not seem to see this issue as a problem at our institution. The Bible is simply not vague on this point.
First, lets make sure to define a particular term that is often thrown around in order to justify the personal sin of a Christian: Legalism.
Legalism is claiming that an act or a way of living is wrong when the Bible does not dogmatically claim that it is wrong or ungodly; going somewhere that the Bible does not go. Oftentimes, the majority of Christians dismiss convictions brought on from other Christians by deeming their statements as legalistic. One example of this would be to claim that “no one can drink alcohol ever”, when the Bible never clearly condemns to consumption of alcohol but does clearly define drunkenness as a sin (Eph. 5:18) and to guard ourselves against iniquity (Psalm 66:18).
Paul addresses foul and corrupting language in Ephesians chapter 4 and 5. Do the descriptions that Paul offer seem like he is speaking about a struggling Christian? No, Paul — along with James in James 3 — speak of a person that cannot control their tongue as spiritually dead, for what comes out of the mouth speaks for the heart (Matthew 15:18). This is not something that Paul seems to think Christians can afford to mess around with.
It is very important to understand that the change from within your heart when you are converted should be witnessed by others and affirmed not only by your actions, but by the way you live and the way to talk. Depending on how upset or angry these statements have made you only furthers to prove my point. Are we truly seeking to follow Christ and live like him in all that we do or are we merely trying to hold on to words and actions that we know are sinful? Matthew 7 states that you will “Know them by their fruits.” If someone were to look at your life, see the way you speak and think, would there be any reason for him to honestly think you are a Christian? I urge to anyone reading this to live a life that exemplifies purity of heart, mind and speech. For the sake of your witness, or the witness of other Christians, we are called to be set apart, holy and pure. Let your speech be pure and building up to others, for the sake of Christ’s name and, if not, I beg you to stop claiming to be following Him.