Out here in west Texas, we tend to say what's on our mind and say it in a way that leaves little doubt that we are pretty serious about saying it. We tend to embellish and we tend to flavor our sentences with spicy words now and then. Fact is, we've been known to punctuate here and there with words that may not be acceptable spoken around preachers and our mamas. Yes, cursing is as much part of many of us out here as chicken fried steak. But...let me clarify by saying ...when we cuss around here...we tend to cuss good.
What is the difference between good cussing and bad cussing? I think the vast majority of us from around these parts know there is a time and place for everything, even for uttering one of those 'spicy words.' I'd say my social circle is pretty much the norm, as normal as any group of Texans gathered together could be. When the guys get together, talk may become as spicy as a delicately blended habanero sauce...but we know when the ladies come around, it's time to clean it up. We never cuss around the preacher, women, or children ...it's the way we were taught. I call that good cussing.
There's not a foul word that could be spoken that I haven't heard...or tossed out into the right crowd myself. But I must admit, in recent years, I heard words thrown around in everyday language that makes me blush. I see these words in print, generally with the user's name and photo proudly displayed right beside it. Yes, twitter and facebook have become a devil's playground for those who have never been taught better. What makes me sad is often these most vulgar words are being used by our kids...teens and even tweens. I learned my lesson the hard way. My parents were good, upstanding Christian people and I never heard a curse word escape from either of their mouths, but as I ventured into my teen years, naturally I began to pick up a few 'spicy' words here and there. I had a friend whose parents were, I'll say, pretty easy going. They said nothing about us smoking around them, drinking a beer, or saying a few colorful words in the course of conversation. So, me being the dumb neighbor kid, uttered a word out loud to my friend within hearing range of his mother one day. It was, what the evening news now likes to refer to as 'The F-Bomb.' That woman dropped the boom she was sweeping the porch with and approached me in a fury, wagging her finger in my face.
"Let me tell you, young man, I don't know what the rules are at your house, but around here THAT WORD is NEVER spoken around ladies!"
My eyes grew wide and perhaps even teared up momentarily as I stood there and took my tongue lashing. It would be a lashing I would never forget. That, my friends, was bad cussing.
I've tried really hard lately to obliterate all curse words from my everyday language and it's been a real challenge. Decades of letting loose with 'ample spice' to enhance my verbiage have proven this to be a hard habit to break.
The preacher found it his place to address this topic last Sunday, and while he chose his words carefully, with a congregation of hardcore west Texans listening to his sermon, he reminded us all that as Christians, we're better than that. In fact, he challenged us all to make an effort to enrich our vocabulary by discovering new and exciting words to add the 'spice' we seem so tempted to include in our everyday conversations. He reminded us we have a duty as Christians to set a shining example to the rest of the world. Then, with a smile, he reminded us that it wasn't his rule...it was God's.
Ephesians 4 Verses 29-31 says this: 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Perhaps we as a society should work on finding some new 'spices' to enhance the flavor of our vocabulary with. Can you accept this challenge? I think I can, by-golly-G-bum!