I have been using profanity since I was five and maybe even before that.

By age 8, I was a pro. Compound curses and vulgarities that would make the Navy blush spewed forth from my diminutive frame, and this continued throughout my life. 

I would cut back from time to time and even abstain. Until I got older.

I prided myself on articulately expressing myself, reading books, and thinking things through before I spoke, and I would litter my speech with f-bombs and s-words where I deemed appropriate as a hipster way of communicating edginess and strong emotion.

At the age of 30, I became a Christian, and I learned just how negatively other Christians would view a cussing Christian. In response, I hid my cussing as best as I could. At home, I was still full of bad words and obscenities, because it was now a habit.

A long ingrained habit. 

One day, I heard a Christian woman say that her neighbor cussed and claimed to be a Christian but that she didn't know how he could even be born again. I shuddered to think that I wasn't truly saved, so I said the sinner's prayer again. More cussing ensued.

I tossed and turned at night, not knowing if I were a Christian or not. 

There is nothing more terrifying than to believe you might drop into hell at any given minute, but I could not stop the flow of profane words.

I determined I would stop. 

But I wasn't able.

The guilt consumed me, because I was supposed to be a good Christian, and I also knew that if others knew of my hideous use of language that my ministry would lose all credibility. 

I was now a hypocrite. A raging two-faced, pretending fraudster unfit for service. 

I was in a pinch. Nobody knew I cussed....but they do now, so I guess we'll see what happens.

In 2015, I had a child. This child didn't like sleeping on her back in a crib alone through the night. After laying down and sleeping 20 minutes, I would hear it: the distinct hiccoughing baby sounds that will lead the shrieking fiercer than that of a hungry wolf pack. 

My eyelids, heavy from sleep, and my body lugging all the extra baby weight struggled to get up, but I would somehow lumber over to where she was and manage to feed her the milk that oozed from my body.

The trouble was when this cycle would repeat. I would lay down again, and baby would start to whimper 20 minutes later. Jarred out of a deep sleep and aware of the need to get up yet again and latch her to my boob, I would cuss under my breath.

And then I would feel bad for having cussed.

And then I would cuss some more. 

Add mono to the mix and months of sleeplessness at night, and the streams of mumbled, garbled, loudly-whispered, mostly-to-myself profanity that came forth from my lips would definitely have tanked my ministry.

Now, it may seem that I am more concerned about my ministry than my cussing, but what I am saying is this: there is so much judgement on this one sin. And what I am REALLY saying is that I knew others would look down on me.

I am not saying people should cuss, but I think it's a habit many Christians never had in the first place, and so the condemnation is heavy regarding it, making those who do struggle with it feel they can't approach God anymore. 

We're kind of heavy on those sins we've never crossed paths with for some reason. 

Cussing automatically makes you a pariah. A flunk-out. One to be avoided. And hiding it makes you a mask-wearing hypocrite with a double life, and this also voids your ministry. 

 I volunteered my time to work with children. I worked through near-perpetual sickness, and I also tried to help ease the loneliness of those in the nursing home. I played guitar for anyone who would listen, and I sang gospel tunes to those in need of a friend. I gave to charity, I loved the least of these, and I gave my money away to help the less fortunate. I took in a foster child.

But I know that none of that would matter, because I have this habit. 

Tattoos, smoking, same-sex attraction, and cussing all fall into a certain category of sin: we don't tolerate people who have these things. It's funny how these are sins most mainline Christians don't have an ongoing struggle with, or at least it's not one we'll admit to publicly. 

We'll tolerate being unloving, gluttony, stinginess, pettiness, gossiping, cliquishness, anger, fear, and a host of other sins and even welcome you on the planning committee, but let an f-bomb fall from your lips, and you're out. 

I'm not defending cussing. What I am trying to express is the sheer misery I have gone through a 3 in the morning, hating myself because I can't make myself stop. 

Why am I even trying to anyway? My flesh is weary. My will is weak. 

This is something only God can do, and I were honest, I'd tell you that each time I slip, I'm waiting fir lightning to strike me down.

But yet, who is this God who forgives and who loves me more than my poorly-spoken swear words.

I'm tired of feeling defeated and like a loser Christian, and I hope we'll stop judging others so harshly for things that have been ingrained since they time that they were born. Like a tattoo, cussing requires surgical removal, a process to remove the deeply embedded toxin. 

Also, like a tattoo, this struggle can be more public than others. Some life choices are right there on your sleeve for anyone to peer at. 

And until this is rooted out, it makes no sense for you to judge me for my sins any more than it does for me to judge you for yours. After all, none of us can earn our way into heaven with our clean-slate no-cussing records or our tattoo-less bodies or our hetero attracted sexual desires or our lack of gluttony or interest in the latest juicy story. 

All of it is meaningless, all of nothing without the cross. You and I are dressed in the filthiest of filthy rags without Jesus. And even now, with all of our imperfections, we stand righteous, dressed in white, as if we'd never sinned. Maybe the sin of disunity and lack of love for one another are some of the greatest sins of all, because without them there would be no hatred, or coveting, or tearing each other down.

After all, being judged never helped me not utter an F-bomb. It just made me try that much harder or sink into feelings of failure when I relented.

Perhaps we can be more like iron that sharpens one another and pray for each other instead of condemning. Maybe we can provide accountability instead of finger wagging and admonish each other in love, because after everything is said and done, it is only love that can cover a multitude of our sins. 

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa
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Comments

November 13, 2017 @07:50 am
As someone that has suffered from cursing, getting tattoos, and sexual sin I feel as though I have valid input and have some room to talk about my own experiences as it relates to the topic. The Bible expresses that all of these stem from sicknesses of the heart. I can't change that you've felt condemned, but I do know that when we're exposed to things (Hebrews) states that once we gain knowledge of the sin, if we continue to do it, there's no more sacrifice for our sin. We also know that (John) God turns his head and doesn't hear those of us that are in blatant sin, whether the rest of our lives somewhat line up or not. (Matthew) We're told that there will be many of us that prophecy and heal in his name that will still be turned away because the rest of our lives didn't line up. (Thessalonians) We're also told that we should avoid the very appearance of evil, which would highlight our actions an what we do and how they can be viewed. I for one, love you and hope that you take nothing that I say as a judgement or condemnation but rather a teaching, a good loving on, and just the relay of the reality. I pray that the Lord continues to work on your heart and that you continue to grow! <3
Reatta Smith
November 09, 2017 @09:29 am
I love how this post is so ... real. So many of us think a Christian is perfect, and if they aren't then they must not be a Christian. But the truth is none of us CAN be perfect on this side of heaven and no sin is better or worse than another. Great post! Coming to you via the Grace and Truth linkup.
Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog
November 06, 2017 @07:41 am
Thank you so much for this article--I too, have a 'potty mouth', and sometimes eyebrows get raised when I let stuff slip. However, I am blessed to go to a church where the people understand that we are ALL imperfect, and are more concerned with the state of our hearts and the healing of them. You are SO going on my blog roll!
Evelyn Edgett
October 28, 2017 @11:10 pm
This is such a great piece. This especially is so right on and so well said: "We're kind of heavy on those sins we've never crossed paths with for some reason." Also you lay out two bad options you're stuck with so well here: "Cussing automatically makes you a pariah. A flunk-out. One to be avoided. And hiding it makes you a mask-wearing hypocrite with a double life, and this also voids your ministry." The power of the Holy Spirit be upon you, my friend, as you wrestle with this area of weakness and offer it to him for transformation. And may it be upon us all as we do the same in our own areas of struggle!
Susan Arico
October 28, 2017 @08:48 am
Hi Rosa, The title of your post caught my eye. I was not raised in a Christian home so at a young age I also started cussing. I was not born again until I was in my thirties and like you, I had a habit. It took a while for me to quit, but eventually, God helped me to overcome. I have several friends in the same boat as you. This is the advice I provided for them: Let God work it out. Scripture tells us, to work out our salvation. Repentance is the key to your relationship with God. Just remember habits can be broken. You didn't gain this habit in five days and you will not break in five days. God knows your heart. Be blessed.
Garnet
October 27, 2017 @09:33 pm
Well said my friend! You be opened my eyes to hypocrisy. Bottom line is that you are right. Stopping over from Grace and Truth.
Tiffiney
October 27, 2017 @01:29 pm
We absolutely judge issues we don't have to deal with. I'm sorry this has torn you up inside. None of us is better than another, and I am glad God loves us all!
Sarah
October 25, 2017 @10:06 am
Hey cussing christian - I'm sorry other Christians condemn you for what is a known struggle for you. But I think your story is more common than you know. The issue is what to do with it? You've prayed and brought it before God, now allow him time to work and change you in the process. Newborns will bring out all of our fleshly desires and vices but God can work in this space also. I wasn't a curser but I was angry and he changed me. Praying for you with no judgment and looking forward to hearing when you can say that God has changed the way you speak. Stopping by from #Coffeeforyoursoul
nylse
October 25, 2017 @09:32 am
Hi, you made some good points in this blog post I hadn't thought about before and I enjoyed hearing your perspective. Especially where you said the judging from others only made you try harder on your own or condemn yourself instead of leaning into the transforming power of Jesus. Good for me to remember on both ends of that spectrum! Your neighbor #63 from Holley's linkup.
Bethany
October 25, 2017 @07:08 am
Hi Rosa, I’m your neighbor at Coffee for Your Heart today! It’s nice to meet you here. I appreciate all the insights you’ve given here about what it feels like inside when you are judged by others. That is really valuable information and breeds compassion. I love that you have been brave enough to share these things here. This is my favorite quote from your article, "Perhaps we can be more like iron that sharpens one another and pray for each other instead of condemning.” So very true. -Leslie
Leslie
October 24, 2017 @08:21 am
I admit I cuss. I cuss more than the average human being. People look at me like I am half-domesticated all the time at work. I am a teacher, one thing I don't do is cuss around the kids but in meetings or such I have been known to drop a couple of f-bombs or use the compound swear words which freaks out most of the people I work with. But here is the other side of it, for years I tried to get along and go with flow but I ended up really hating myself, I was not being who I am. I was moving far away from who I was which is raw, organic and unfiltered and blunt honest on stuff-which scares the living you know what out of people. I was becoming caught up too much in the political stuff in trying to make myself look good for others. A couple of years, I started to hate myself more and more and decided to go back to who I am and I am a happier and more productive human being. I am back being totally honest about students and other things. It is scary to others because they like to dance around stuff and I don't. At meeting recently, I cussed (said something like he needs to get his monkey's behind in gear and a couple of other things) and a co-worker said that they were offended. I told the co-worker that I was offended by their lack of integrity and honesty. In August during our training week, an administrator put a microphone in front of my face and asked me "It seems like you raised successful kids, how did you do it." I told them what I heard from Willie Nelson and that was "Don't an A-hole to others". You feel the tension after I said that. I just feel that my Maker would rather have me be who I am then someone I am not and that he would rather me have integrity than the words that come out of my mouth.
Patrick Weseman
October 23, 2017 @07:45 pm
I was raised as the daughter of the "good kid" in a family of three. My uncles cuss, but whenever they do it in front of me (though not my mother for some reason), they instantly go, "Sorry, Kell." xD I think when I was six, I was much more outspoken and said, "Uncle Jeff/Matt, DON'T SAY BAD WORDS!" and they think I'm still six. ;) I honestly don't care! I still love them. There are worse things they could do ... and even though I don't cuss and don't condone people cussing necessarily, neither do I feel like that makes them a non-Christian! I just found your blog ... but, whoa, cool that you could be so 'gutsy'! :D I admit it does make me super uncomfortable when people take God's name in vain, though.
Kellyn Roth
October 23, 2017 @02:29 pm
Interesting post. This also has been a topic on my mind as I have thought about my tendency as a zealous young Christian (many years ago) to judge others based on things like the words they say. Sadly, we Christians do this to each other a lot, using these kinds of things to compare our "godliness" against others and others against us. Which I think is worse than saying a few cuss words. (However, I very strongly am against taking the Lord's name in vain. That's in a whole other realm.) I wrote a post about this issue too, called "The Smoker". (It's at https://lovehealme.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-smoker.html.) Of course, I wouldn't recommend using cuss words to any Christian, but I do think the greater issue is more about what you alluded to - how we treat others based on these superficial things. Thanks for an intriguing post which gets to the greater issue.
heather
October 22, 2017 @09:19 pm
Rosa, We meet again at #SoulSurvival. Glad I can leave a message this week. It sounds like you go to a pretty straight-laced church. I too don't want to sound like I'm supporting swearing, but it's not the end of the world. I think the more we focus on our relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit works on us. No striving, no stressing. Just remember. Condemnation is NEVER from Daddy. He convicts. If we repent, He forgives. No condemnation. Even when we do it again :) He's really good!!!! Love ya girl! ~Sherry Stahl xoxo
Sherry Stahl

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Rosa A. Hopkins

Radio Show Host. Writer of words. Teller of stories. Singer of songs. Dreamer of dreams. Owner of a shapeless hound. Musician. Recording Artist. Songwriter. Record Label Owner. Producer. Hater of Coffee. Lover. Friend. Mother. Not all at the same time though.

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