What does it look like to show up fully present?
In our women’s group we had a discussion about cursing. Some in the group are not fans, and they rightly noted that one of the ten commandments does say, “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This translated for some to mean, “Do not cuss.”
This aversion to cursing has caused some relationship riffs, and the women were doing a great job of talking this through and asking questions. One question I had as I listened was, “What personal aversions have kept me from being able to be fully present?” Because, from one who cusses like a sailor when nothing else will suit, cussing isn’t an issue for me. When my kids use the f-word, well, it’s just a word. For some it is ugly, others it is not. I cannot relate to this need to correct others’ right to free speech, nor do I feel offended by it. However, I have lots of other kinds of issues that I find offensive and in that way, I can TOTALLY relate! How do we handle situations like an aversion to cursing?
First and foremost, I am assuming that if cursing offends us then we never curse. Otherwise, if we do, we’re hypocrites. Second, we have to decide what’s most important. In some cases we will decide that we are willing to distance ourselves in a relationship because the person’s language offends us too much. Conversely, we may decide that our aversion to cursing is a great guideline for us to live by but maybe none of our business as it relates to others.
There are times when we must do difficult things for the right reason. Maybe we decide that the relationship, however imperfect and laced with profanity, is far more important than our personal feelings about language choice. These are tough decisions, and sometimes the behaviors of others require us to detach with love and learn how to draw big boundaries. These are not easy decisions, nor do I think everyone ends up with the same decision.
But I am also wondering if using the Lord’s name in vain could also be interpreted as far bigger than “don’t cuss”. Maybe using the Lord’s name in vain is when we SAY we are his representative, but this allegiance does nothing to change the way we show up to love the unlovely. Are there any lines you have drawn in the sand of disapproval that you think might need adjusting?