Archive for October, 2008

The Cursing Christian?

October 30, 2008

Have any of you ever seen an episode of the television show Dog the Bounty Hunter? The lead character is a flamboyant bounty hunter who seems to make (or did the few times I saw it) a point of showing/claiming that he’s a faithful Christian. I don’t think he his, for many reasons, but one seems obvious: he curses quite often.

In my younger days, I used to curse quite a bit, and seldom thought much about it. As I’ve tried to be a faithful Christian these past few years I’ve worked to do that less and less and now rarely do (and try never to). I have known many people who don’t think it is a big deal. Many of them don’t think there is anything contradictory about cursing at will and being a Christian.

What does the Bible say?

  • Hosea 4:2 – there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
  • Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
  • Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  • Matthew 12:35-37 – The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
  • Matthew 15:11 – it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.
  • Colossians 3:8 – But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
  • Titus 2:7-8 – Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
  • 1 Peter 3:10 – Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
  • James 3:9-12 – With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

How exactly would we reconcile cursing and being a faithful Christian? Unless you believe that the Bible doesn’t apply to you, or think that only part of it does, or something equally irrational, I don’t see how you can.

And one last thing: I think there is a big difference between rebellion (I’m cursing and I’m not going to stop) and weakness (I’m trying to stop, but slipped up today and then repented and am trying to not do it again). This article is about the former, not the latter.

$20

October 20, 2008

I heard a great sermon recently about prayer. In it the speaker (Norm Webb, Jr.) made a point that I thought was worth repeating:

I see you one day and tell you that I’m a little short of cash and ask you to loan me $20. Then I avoid you for months and when I do finally see you I give you a hard luck story and ask you for $20 more. You are more hesitant but you give it to me. Same thing – I avoid you for as long as I can and then when we do meet, the first thing I do is ask you for more money. You might exclaim “Hey, is that all you want from me? Don’t you care about our relationship at all?”

Ask yourself whether you are doing that with God and your prayer.

My apologies to Norm if I didn’t get that exactly right. But hopefully you get the point.

Attitude, Part 2

October 10, 2008

I listened to a sermon a while back that just annoyed me no end.

I was sitting there, thinking that surely there was something more important to be talking about, silently disagreeing with the whole thing. Well, maybe not disagreeing as much as just not liking it.

I don’t want to have that attitude, so I’ve thought a lot about why I had such a reaction. Was it not following the Scripture? No, I think it was Biblically sound. Did it not apply to me? No, it did. Was it something that I was doing, and was unhappy that someone would have the audacity to preach was wrong? Not really, upon reflection I think I do fairly well on this subject.

So why the negative reaction? Maybe it was my pride telling me that I’m too good to need to hear a message like this. Maybe it was Satan whispering in my ear that I don’t need to worry about the little things – just “love God and my neighbor” and the details of daily life don’t matter. Maybe it was me comparing myself to this or that person and thinking about just how much better I’m doing in this or that area.

A friend recently said that we’ve got to get over the attitude that when we find our behavior in conflict with the Bible, it is an indication that we found something wrong in the Bible, not that we’ve found something wrong in us.

And let’s define “wrong” here. By that he meant “incorrect, or in need of work”.

What is the point of the word of God? Isn’t it intended to show the faithful how to be more like God? And aren’t people who are interested in being more like God likely to see those places where God seems to want some trivial behavior, or whatever, as being red flags for our attitudes? Maybe those are just pointing out places where we need special effort to bring our attitudes and behavior into conformance with His view of things.

I learned a lot from my (mostly internal) experience with this sermon. I’ve got to get more on board with the choice of whether I want to follow God, or my own feelings (when they conflict – I think the ultimate goal is to change myself to the point that there is no conflict). And perhaps more to the point here, to be welcoming, not resentful, of any Biblically sound instruction.