This post is going to offend some of you. I know that going into this. I’m sorry about that, but I’m not sorry for writing this. Because my goal on here is to be real & raw with you, and to let the cracks in me shine out as much of the light of Jesus as it can.
A couple of days ago I was called out on my Instagram account by a young girl who claimed that I was ruining my Christian testimony and was not using wisdom because she had seen a cuss word in a post of mine.
It took me a little while to process the things she said and what she claimed to be true.
I knew two things already:
1. Not everyone feels the same way about this issue that I do. Some people feel very blatantly the opposite of the way I do. My point of view is not necessarily popular in many Christian circles.
2. I am pretty real & raw & open about who I am & where I’m at. I’m not perfect, and neither is my life. I’m wide open about the hard, rough, scary things. They are not easy!! I’m also open about my beliefs, opinions, and the ways my heart works. I think my real & gritty approach to writing is why a lot of you have expressed your love for this little blog. (Thank you, darlings!) ❤
I’m pretty surprised I haven’t encountered messages like this before now, honestly, and that fact doesn’t really upset me. I totally get that most of us in Christian homes grew up with the teaching that those four letter words were dirty, ugly, and not to be used. And so did I!
And… I totally agree. With the first two descriptions.
“Cuss words” (or whatever you prefer to call them) ARE dirty & ugly. That’s kind of the point of them. They’re not nice, or pleasant, or beautiful words. They’re not intended to be.
And sometimes? …I’m more than okay with that.
Why? Let me tell you.
Life is not always nice and pleasant and beautiful. Sometimes life is ugly. filthy. more horrific than we thought possible.
Like when abuse or suicide or miscarriage or disease or abandonment or depression or trauma or mental disorders or lack of closure or heartbreak or death or a destroyed dream or tragedy of any kind enters the picture and your entire world is flipped on its end…
and you’re left feeling like you’ve been slugged in the stomach, wind knocked out of you, dealing with the repercussions of whatever just sucker-punched your life.
“well, this sucks” and “this hurts” don’t really cover it when you’re sobbing, so hard you can’t breathe, so hard you think you actually might die there on your bedroom floor. What you’re feeling is more like “right now, my life is so fucked up I can’t even tell right from left.”
The world can be an ugly place. It’s stained and tainted full of sin that spreads disease and pain and death, you guys. And you can’t always count on the nice (and often petty) words we are “allowed” in our safe Christian circles, to express the darkness & gut-wrenching pain in your very soul, accurately.
Make no mistake: I don’t care to hear the f-word (or any other strong language) strung out in everyday language. That’s an inappropriate use of an incredibly strong word, and I think we are definitely responsible for the weight our words carry when they fall on others’ ears. Just as the word love has been overused & twisted to mean so much less and carry such less weight than it was originally intended to (no, you don’t really love pizza), so these ugly words have found their way into common vernacular in a way that I think has greatly diminished their severity.
Ugly words are meant for ugly circumstances, and aren’t to be taken lightly. That is, to me, a sick misuse of words that have a very particular place & usage in our language.
Jesus never sugar coated the truth. He met people in all of their rawness & broken pieces. He touched their disease & the ugly , hidden parts of their soul and spoke healing & grace over them. He didn’t shy away from the dirty, terrified parts of people.
I think our Christian fear of ugly language can often lead us to gloss over & sugar coat the horrific circumstances that are just plain shitty. (Guys, genocide and sex trafficking and the use of child soldiers is shitty, and we all know it.)
I think it often leads us to judge (instead of welcome) those of us who are willing to be really honest about the brokenness we carry. (are you going to worry more about the fact I used the “s-word” than the fact I’m suffering?)
I think it leads us to fear those dark & scary emotions that sometimes well up inside of us during times of trial, and live in denial, instead of giving ourselves permission to admit how hard & overwhelming our situation really is and seek help. (I’ve seen this happen so, so many times… God can handle your emotions, friend. but you need to admit you have them before you can deal with them.)
But you know what? Sometimes, that broken person just needs to know that, yeah, you get just how damn hard life is right now, that there’s no good solution, that it isn’t easy, and that you’re not going to judge them for that.
So, for me, this ugly language is about a whole lot more than just a few four letter words. to me, it represents our transparency and response to a world that is so often too hideous for words to describe. it represents the breaking down of barriers and the opening of hearts to the struggling… both saved & sinner. it represents honesty and hope and the recognition that this is not our home… that a place this messed up could never, ever be our home.
So, if you’re offended by my blatant statement of how cruel life can sometimes be, I’m sorry.
But I’m going to keep on baring my soul and getting real & raw on here. I’m going to keep on telling just how wretched I am & just how ugly life can be, in the real-est language I can, so that the great big beautiful-ness of Jesus & His love can shine all the brighter through those great big cracks in me.