My sister says "dang" is a derivative of damn -- and so is "darn" -- so saying it is just as bad as saying "damn".
I'd not heard that before. I like dang. I use it a lot. I use it when I'm mad and when I'm thunderstruck and when I'm frustrated. I only say damn on accident, when I'm so angry it slips out before I can edit myself. Its crazy how I can work hard to eliminate words from my vocabulary, but when my emotions take off, those words still end up coming out of my mouth.
Jesus said this phenomenon was natural. He said, "Listen, and take this to heart. It's not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up... what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It's from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That's what pollutes. " (Matt 15:10-11, 18-19)
The damn -- and the dang -- come from my heart. The difference is that one has particularly offensive meaning to me (damn) and the other doesn't. But both offend my sister.
Cuss words. Odd things they are. We use them for both surprise and anger, amazement and disgust. Some words are more acceptable to use than others, and they change from city-to-city, culture-to-culture. Some words we use here are not cuss words, but say them in the UK and you'll get dirty looks from the proper, and probably a few smacks on the head from the elderly. Some offend many, some offend only a few. And you never know which is which till its too late.
Crap, shit, dang, damn, f***, bloody.... Who determines these words and their meanings? Where did they originate and how?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we ought to say whatever we want regardless of who we offend because, after all, they're just words, right? No, I'm not saying that at all. I think there are words that don't need to be in the vocabulary of a follower of Christ. I just don't know which ones they are.
Is it our heart that makes the determining factor as to which words we can say without polluting? Or is it the hearts of others?
I did my best to stop saying "dang" while Nina was here, but I found it very difficult to do. It has crept into my every day lexicon more than I thought possible. I know from my days overseas that it is important to watch your words, watch that what you say and how you say it (as well as what you do) not offend those in your host culture. The reasons are rooted in love, being all things to all people so that by all possible means some may be saved, making sure that nothing we consciously/willfully do would come between the people around us and the love of Christ we bring. As Paul says to the Roman church, "Don't eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love." (Rom 14:21)
But how do I know what offends and what doesn't? How do I know what might interfere with the free exchange of love? I couldn't have known that dang was offensive to my sister until she said something, and by then it was out there already. Fortunately she was gracious about it and patient with me as I stumbled over my words after that.
I don't want to walk around fearful of creating offense. At the same time, I don't want to live as if no one else matters, only me and what I find offensive or not. I like what Paul says about this in Romans 14.
Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I'm convinced--Jesus convinced me!-that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it. (vs. 13-14)
Earlier in the chapter he said, "What's important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God's sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you're a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters."
I have often wondered myself if God is offended when I say shit. I don't know. But its really the gross-factor of the word that comes into play more than anything else. On the other hand, I think it does bother Him when I say "damn", because that very concept goes against His deeply passionate love for every person and living thing. That's precisely why Jesus came - so that no one would be damned, so that mercy and grace would always prevail, even in death.
So.... what do I say when I'm caught off-guard, when I'm frustrated, flummoxed or angry? What words are acceptable to both God and man?