Is it OK to be a potty-mouthed Christian?

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By Jessica Brodie

I had a friend who used to curse like a sailor. Her potty-mouth was so well known that it was somewhat of a joke in our circles, but she was the sweetest, kindest person you’d ever meet. She’d bend over backwards to make sure you were comfortable, and she always had a few minutes to sit with you or give you a pep talk when you needed one.

But her language was so foul it was embarrassing to be around her because people who didn’t know her kind heart would instantly judge her as a selfish person, a party girl, a nasty gossip—and might think you were the same way because you hung around with her. People always seemed shocked to find out she was a believer.

Their shock used to bother me a great deal. I felt like she was being unfairly judged. “Why does how we dress or talk have anything to do with a person’s soul or belief as a Christian?” I’d ask, hands on my hips.  After all, I’d say, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

To an extent, that’s true. To be a Christian, we must believe that Jesus Christ is our savior, that He died on the cross and rose again to pay the price for our sins, and that He is the path to our eternal life with God in heaven.

But we must also repent, which means to turn from our old, sinful life to embrace a new life. We must live our lives to please God.

The message of the Gospel is meant to be spread person to person. As Paul writes to the early Christians, we represent Jesus Christ, so “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Paul goes a step further in his letter to the Thessalonians, instructing Christ-followers to live a holy life dedicated to God because this pleases God. As he wrote, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).

Whether it’s getting drunk, partying, sleeping around, or using foul language, our actions don’t just impact ourselves. We have to remember we represent Christ to the world, especially if we are known Christians. But more importantly, we also have to remember that God doesn’t like unholy living, either. Our Father called us to be pure and kind, to keep His commandments and live in a holy manner.

We honor God when we live that way.

Your turn: Is there anything you are doing in your life that might misrepresent the message of the cross?

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