When my oldest son was 2 1/2, we were driving home one day and from the backseat I heard a little boy voice say, “Fuck!” Thinking quickly, I told him, “that’s right honey – truck! There’s a truck over there.” He repeated “fuck” several times and I kept saying, “that’s right honey – truck!” Finally with a note of confusion in his voice he said, “truck?” Yup. Truck.
Now, where ever would a sweet 2 year old kid of mine ever hear such a word? From me, of course. I do try not to swear (much) in front of my kids, but it happens. Most days. I know you think I should at least have the decency to feel guilty about it, but I don’t really. I swear. I like swearing. Sometimes nothing but a well planted swear word will do.***
Although I’m perfectly comfortable with swearing, there is a verbal tick I used to have that I wanted to get rid of but just couldn’t seem to manage. I frequently used God’s name as a curse word or as part of a string of curse words. It was so automatic that I couldn’t seem to stop. It seems like a fairly minor thing, but it really bothered me. Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain being one of the commandments and all (yes – I know the command can be understood to refer to something different, but still).
There was a time in my life when my inability to stop using God’s name as a curse word made me feel awful. Like a terrible, awful person of low character and lower self-control. Now here’s the thing about a person feeling like an awful, terrible person: that feeling never comes from a Godly place. Scriptures tell us that it is Satan’s job to accuse us – that is to offer an explanation for or story about our behavior which makes us look like terrible, awful people. Feeling like a terrible, awful person is what happens when we feel condemned. But “no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus”.
The reason the enemy loves to use the tool of condemnation is because it hides the truth of who we are from us. You and I and every other human being is an image bearer – one who reflects God himself. And the enemy knows that if we ever discover this truth and learn to live out of it, the jig is up. All his work will be destroyed. But if he can convince us that our sin and weakness defines who we really are, then we may putter along, trying to fight our urge to sin but never really owning, much less living out of the glory which is in us. Now, sometimes the enemy will overplay his hand and the condemnation a person feels for their sin will actually lead them to seek God. But that’s fairly rare and it’s such an effective tool most of the time that it’s well worth the risk for the enemy to keep condemning us. (This dynamic is also why we are not supposed to judge. Even when we are correct about another person’s sin, when we judge, we are doing just what the enemy does. We are telling someone that their failure is a reflection of them. It’s not. It’s a reflection of sin which is not part of who we actually are.) Continue reading