I Used to Cuss
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23
Strangely, one of my earliest childhood memories, besides the Christmas I got a Baby Alive doll, was reading the words "Jackass" on the wall leading down to the basement of our home. My brother, six years older than me, had penned it there in his first or second grade handwriting.
I remember asking my Momma about it when I was maybe five and beginning to learn to read. She told me how he did it and got a spanking for it. Our basement was mainly used for storing things and as a refuge for our dog when the weather was cold. I guess that's why it seemed pointless to try and remove the word.
My next memory of swear words takes me back to the drive way of my Grandmother's home. My mom had stopped to pick something up from her, and I waited in the backseat of the car. I think I was around six. I had a small white piece of paper crumpled up in my hand and an ink pen. I was trying to hide what I was doing, but a Momma always knows.
As my Momma returned to the car, she began to inquire, "What do you have? What is that?" She took it from me. I had written every cuss word down that my neighborhood friend had taught me. He taught me ALL of them. And I felt the need to write them down in case I forgot one.
One word involved the word "mother," and my Momma gasped when she read it. I will never forget the disappointment I saw in her face. I knew what I had done was bad. Very bad.
Before my Daddy lived for Jesus, he had a whole tool box full of cuss words. He used them whenever and however he felt like using them. The words were engraved into my brain. It was like I couldn't get them out. Sometimes, they would randomly pop into my head. I wasn't always able to control it.
One popped in my head as I walked down the aisle at the tender age of eight to give my life to Jesus. Guilt flooded me. Why was this horrible word in my mind? There must be something very defective about me.
Who walks to Jesus with the "F" bomb going through her head? But the song, "Old Rugged Cross" was played on the church piano as the worship leader sang, "On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross...." I got a picture in my mind of Jesus hanging on the cross for me. Hanging on the cross for my "F" words. I recognized my desperate need for Him--even as a third grader.
A few days ago, I told my boys about how I had made mistakes as a teenager. And just because I did something as a kid didn't mean they should. I explained that my actions as a young person didn't justify their actions.
As an example, I blurted out, "When I was a teenager, I didn't go to church regularly or seek God. I got away from God, and I used to cuss when I was angry or hurt." I explained how those words were ingrained into my brain and would slip out of my mouth before I knew it.
I told them one of the reasons we don't want them watching movies with a lot of curse words is because those words stick to a person--they had stuck to me.
As I told them about my mistakes, Spencer, my youngest, said, "Go on..." ready to hear it all while Isaiah asked, "You mean you said words like crap and dang?"
"No, I mean I used words much worse."
, "I don't believe you ever cussed. I will never believe it," Isaiah responded.
"Even if you don't believe it son, it's true."
I explained to them curse words are just words. It's the attitude behind them which makes them vulgar and negative.
Isaiah added, "Are you telling us this because Pastor Bobby just preached about telling your kids your mistakes? Cause I don't necessarily agree with him on that?"
"No, Isaiah. Daddy and I agreed before we were ever parents we would tell our future children about our mistakes. We want you to learn from our poor decisions."
What I told him was true, but I also had to get our pastor off the hook.
The Bible tells us out of the heart the mouth speaks. It's so startling what's in our hearts sometimes when we open our mouths, isn't it? Even if you aren't cursing--just the negativity, the nastiness, the jealousy, the insecurity. Gosh, the insecurity.
Yesterday, as I mulled this over and talked to God about whether or not to share my story, I had a revelation. From an early age, God gave me a love for language and for words. And from an early age, Satan was after my words.
For the record, I don't cuss anymore. The words don't cross my mind very much. I would be lying and sounding way to self-righteous if I said I never have a thought including a curse word. But the thoughts are far and few in between since I have limited what I allow into my head.
It's more than that, though. I can't take credit for the cleansing that happened and continues to happen inside of me. It goes back to the little eight year old girl who was being chased by Satan but caught by God and His Holy Spirit.
Over the years, I have asked him to sift my words separating the wheat from the chaff. He is always faithful to do so. He replaces my complaints with praises. He gives me words to encourage instead of tear down.
He helps me not to cuss.
Because, believe it or not, I used to cuss.....
Dear God, thank you for protecting us and helping us to follow your ways. Give us words that edify, make whole, and glorify you. We rebuke Satan's plans to destroy our gifts. We trust you to take care of us just like your word says. In Jesus' name. Amen.