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King David might not be such a bad example after all (despite all the murdering, adultery and dancing around without his clothes on)

I come from a small private Christian high school where a swear word was rarely dropped and, when it was, no one took it lightly. The worst thing a person could say was “Oh my god.”

It had been instilled in us from the time we were young that we were NEVER to use God’s name flippantly. (It pains me to write the phrase out even for the purpose of this article.)

I knew that there were people in my class that swore, but they chose not to use this language at school.

One of the subconscious expectations that I had when I came to Eastern–knowing that it is a Christian university–was that people here would follow the same protocol. However, only a week after moving on campus I was surprised, saddened and even appalled at the amount of times I heard the phrase “Oh my god” being used.

Even now, it saddens me the number of times I hear God’s name used needlessly throughout the course of a day. I can only think of how much more it saddens God.

One thing that kept going through my mind was that this was a Christian campus and the majority of students here claimed to be Christians. I was even more surprised when I heard the phrase coming from the mouths of those who outwardly profess to be Christians.

Deuteronomy 5:11 says, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

I feel that being at a Christian university we are called to a higher standard, that we are to uphold the command that God gives us–not to use his name to express our surprise or disbelief or anger.

In addition to this, the amount of swearing heard on campus is embarrassing.

Maybe these kinds of things stick out to me because I did not become immune to them in high school, but I don’t think that it is an excuse for what I hear. God calls us as Christians to live lives separate from the world. How can we be an effective witness to the community around us when the words we say sound just like the world’s?

Please don’t brush me off as “holier than thou” or judgmental because that is not my intent at all. I know that there are those of you out there who are trying to change the words that you choose to use and I commend you for that; may God continue to help you overcome that habit.

David pleads to God in Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.” Maybe this should be our prayer as well.

Where do these words come from?

Our surroundings. The well-known phrase that “what goes in must come out” holds true in this case. I believe that this is why God commands us in Philippians: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

Maybe we, myself included, should be more aware of the entertainment that we take in, making sure that it holds up to Phil. 4:8, or at least decrease our tolerance threshold for the amount of swearing we allow to go on around us.

The least we could do is to make David’s prayer our own.

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