Christian Cursing

James 3:10

I’ve already introduced you to Tom Greenhill, my best friend for the four years we lived in Balmorhea, Texas.  Tom’s dad, the Methodist pastor, had several children. I can’t remember now if there were four or five Greenhills, but I know there were more Greenhills than Wellborns.  It seems one of them may have been allergic to cow’s milk because I remember they kept goats.  It was the goats and the Greenhills that introduced me to cursing.

First, you should know we were not allowed to curse. That was one of the “big” sins. Not only that, we were not allowed to use by-words.  A by-word is a word you use to get by without actually cursing.  Therefore, you have words such as “shoot” and “darn.” My father’s approach was curse-words (and by-words) showed ignorance and disrespect.  If you can’t express your thoughts and feelings in legitimate verbiage, it shows you have a limited vocabulary and need further education.  My dad was consistent, too. I never remember him uttering profanity, even when he hit his thumb with a hammer. He would simply grit his teeth and grunt.


Back to the Greenhills. We all know cute and funny goats are, forgetting that Jesus always, always used goats in negative terminology and metaphor.  I remember one day at the Greehill home seeing the oldest daughter experience some displeasing event and spitting out a quick and venemous, “dammit!”  I had never heard the word before, but there was something mature and adventuresome about the way she said it.  She was older and pretty, and I kind of liked the way she said it.

goat lick

It was a week or two later when Tom and I were in their back yard playing with the goats.  One of the goats bit me, so I spat out a quick and grown-up, “dammit!” Everything and everyone around me froze.  All the Greenhills stared at me.  All the neighbors stared at me.  God stared at me.  Scripture rightly asserts, what you have said in secret will be shouted from the housetops.  I ran home, but the news of my vulgarity beat me there. I humbly accepted my sentence of a spanking, a mouth-washing, and a lecture.  To this day I think it was unfair that the very Greenhill daughter who taught me the word was the same one who reported my use of it to my parents.  At age six, in one day, I learned the dangers of loose-lips and worldly women.

Years later, when I was attempting to learn golf (preachers love golf, so I tried to fit in) I again found the need for self-expression of negative emotion.  This time I invented “Christian cursing.”  In retrospect, it was truly another fashion of by-words, but sometimes you just need a good interjection.  Teeing off into the sand-trap, I invented words like “flibberjibbit” and “snagdabbit.”  Shortly after that, a movie called “A Christmas Story” stole my approach.  I still laugh when I watch that movie and the dad spews his modified D-words and F-words.

What’s the point?  My dad taught me that cursing is actually cursing.  In biblical times, placing a blessing on someone – wishing them well – had an antithesis, cursing. Damnation is a bad thing, and “damn you” wishes that bad on the other person.  Cursing spews sewage on everyone who hears it.  I’m not the speech police, but I still wax bold when someone is flaunting their ignorance of the language by slinging their curses on everyone within earshot.  My spouse often worried when I reminded some young buck, giving a stern look, “I have my wife and children here. Please watch your language. I won’t ask you again.”  I’ve never had to ask twice.  They know it’s inappropriate, and they immediately apologize.

There was a popular country song recently about a father who hears his toddler son spout a curse word. He asks where the son heard language like that.  The son replies, “I learned it from you, Dad! I want to be like you!”

Published in: on July 10, 2017 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “Loose-lips and worldly women” – lessons indeed.

  2. Sounds like the same expectations at my house.

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