19 Nov

Do cuss or Discuss?

When it comes to cussing, the problem with most of us is we tend to be more concerned about someone’s choice of words than we are as to why the person feels the need to curse in the first place.

Granted, most often, cussing is far from necessary, offensive and is just a broader and more crass poetic use of the English language. For many, cussing has become a matter of habit or figure of speech more than a way to launch an insult.

I still remember, and can put into song, my dad’s favorite string of curse words. I’ll spare you the narrative. Let’s just say it was impressive and predictable.

Depending on the severity of the crime, mood at the moment or circumstances at hand, my dad could make a singing sailor blush.

He said what he meant and he meant what he said, even if it was off color and came out hot. No doubt, many found his approach offensive, unacceptable and crude. Let’s be honest. It was.

Say what you want about his choice of words, but Dad held nothing back. As much as I hate to admit it, I think he probably slept better at night knowing he got his frustrations off his chest.

My ears may have been pinned back during his rampages but when he went to bed, his rapid eye movement was well within the realm of deep sleep. Good for him. Not so good for those he sought to influence.

No, I’m not a proponent of profanity but there is something to be said about having a safe place to express yourself with no holds barred. That is different than belittling and verbal abuse.

The trouble with the polished, sophisticated and overly religious zealots is that few have close friends they can cuss with!

Knowing you have a place to cuss is not about the cussing. It’s about having a deep, safe and unconditional relationship where, if need be, a brother can unload, unpack and unleash burdens that are weighing him down. It’s not the cussing that helps. It’s about discussing what is so disgusting that frees the soul!

It’s not spelled out in the book of Psalms, but I can’t help but think that a few of David’s songs were censored!

Who hasn’t heard giggles when a preacher reading from the King James version of Bible references Balaam’s ass. Yup, I said it! Check your sources. The word ass is used in the KJV more than 80 times along with several other choice words, like hell and damned. Yes, I understand the context. And that is exactly the point.

I’m poking fun of course but sometimes we let the words people choose get in the way of the person themselves. After all, it’s there in living color!

Isn’t it interesting how our word preferences influence which translation of the Bible we use?

Here is the deal. Before you throw me out, let’s be clear. No, I don’t think the King James Bible promotes foul language. But I do believe cussing is often a symptom of a hidden problem. Somebody is likely hurting at a deeper level. They have gotten to such a point of frustration, disappointment and aggravation that cussing just seems to fit the bill and, from their perspective, best expresses their current state of affairs. Yikes! Things are starting to “sound” ugly!

Can we just be real? People aren’t perfect and most are prone to cuss under the right amount of pressure. Does cussing represent our finer moments as the human race? No. Are swear words appropriate and approved by scripture? Certainly not! But, like any unacceptable behavior, the presence of cussing has real potential to signal a personal S.O.S.

Again, I’m not an advocate of foul words or coarse language. I’m not trying to lower the bar of decency or rewrite the code of conduct for a modern gentlemen.

But I am a fan of being a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I believe there are times this means letting less than perfect language fly past our ears as we draw nearer to the heart of the matter and recognize our friend is hurting. The last thing they need is a lesson on how to color correct their flavor of speech.

Here is the good news. When we come in close and help absorb some of the heat, the language cools down and tends to take care of itself.

It’s the use of another four-letter word that gets us through. LOVE. Love overlooks a multitude of sins and is committed to the bigger picture.

What we fear might become a habit or pattern of speech in the life of our comrade breaks apart as we step in and help reset the cycle, unpack the irritants and help set our friend free. How so? Well, because they cussed it out and we loved the hell out of them.

Read that again. When was the last time you loved the hell out of someone? Isn’t that what Jesus came to do? Love the hell out of people. If you can’t say amen to that then you really are trapped in a language barrier.

If Jesus isn’t out to rescue people from the pits of hell, I don’t know who is! Many people don’t have to die in order to go there. They are living in hell every day and desperately need a friend who cares enough to listen, even if they swear.

Do cuss or discuss? The key is having friends I can be real with. I certainly don’t desire friends who encourage me to curse but I don’t want them to blush if I do. I want friends who challenge me to pick my words wisely but will keep on loving me even when I don’t.

Image.jpeg