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Each of the last five summers I have gone back to work at the “other college” in Syracuse, New York. As I have mentioned here before, I left full-time employment there in September of 2016 so that I could devote my full attention to our ministry. It continues to be a blessing and a joy to take up my paint brush and roller for the summer months as I help the maintenance crew get the dorms ready for the new school year.

The friends I made while working there are for the most part still employed by the college. It is a relatively small crew made up of about 30 workers. Having worked with them for over 12 years, they were all aware as to my reason for leaving. Though they may not have completely understood my motivation for moving on, to a person they have respected it.

I make that last statement based on their reaction these days when I walk in on or are part of a conversation that is laced, shall we say, with colorful language. “Oh, sorry, I did not mean for you to hear that” is the common apology I hear when this happens. My normal response is something like, “That’s ok, I have heard all those words before.”

I was prompted the other day to respond differently to a ‘blue streak’ I walked in on. As I entered a new suite of rooms to begin painting, I found one of the maintenance crew struggling mightily to put a bedframe back together. Before I could offer any help he let out with a string of profanity that told me this was a problem that had him completely frustrated. He ended his tirade with a loud “Jesus Christ!”

I saw the embarrassment on his face when he realized I had heard everything he had said. Rather than merely laugh this one off, I felt prompted to respond in a different way.

Speaking first, I said, “You know, that last name you used does not really belong with the rest of what you said.” Smiling kindly at his reddened face, I went on, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I have found that He loves me all the time, even when my mouth is running way ahead of my mind.”

“I know,” my co-worker said in a much softer tone. “He just has never seemed real to me, even when I heard those stories as a kid in church.” There was a brief silence. Then he added, “I don’t see much evidence of any Son of God in my life.”

I would love to tell you that at this the choir of heaven started to sing or that this man fell on his knees in sudden joy. But none of that happened. I simply assured him that I had been in that very place he was in and that I knew all about confusion and doubt.

I then left him with this assurance: “Neither I nor God are here to condemn you for your language or for anything else. But please let me leave you this one suggestion. The next time you feel your anger taking off, think of Jesus first, and not as simply a swear word. Ask Him to make Himself more real to you, that you might be interested in getting to know who He really is.”

That’s where we left it. But I don’t believe the Lord has. My prayer for my co-worker and all those baffled by confusion and doubt is that they allow for the possibility of Jesus Christ being more than a cuss word and in so doing, crack open enough of their heart to find out that He is so much more!

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

6 thoughts on “Jesus Christ! More than just swear words

  1. I have always thought it odd that profanity uses His name when those who are using it don’t even know Him. Yet that have the wherefore to be embarrassed b\y using it. So at some level they know He is real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. I believe St. Paul covers this in Romans 1:18-20: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (NIV) Thanks for reading and the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the way you responded to the frustrated maintenance man. You gave him grace. In so doing, you and the Lord opened up possibilities for him. A lot of people are like him–they haven’t seen Jesus in their lives.

    I grew up often hearing the Lord’s name as profanity. In my family culture, there was a double standard: men could cuss, and adults could cuss, but ladies and children could not. This set up a lot of confusion for me. It was also confusing because men knew it was wrong, and yet couldn’t seem to help themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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