lykie asked: Hi Unka, so I cussed while praying because I was angry at someone. But after that I repented, and even prayed for the same person, because God convicted me to do so. When I told my friends, they judged me because, according to them, I should approach God in reverence; not use my mouth to say bad words since the same mouth brings him praise. But I see God as my Papa, and I’m just telling him how I felt mistreated. [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: Your friends are making a giant, huge, hairy assumption that God is honored more by behaving reverently, than by honesty. The problem with that particular assumption is that Jesus told a parable that directly contradicts it.
The Parable of the Two Sons can be found in Matthew 21:28-32, and it tells the story of a father who tells one son to go work in his vineyard, and that son says “I will not” and has a funky and disrespectful attitude. But then, walking away, and having vented his anger, this son begins to examine his attitude, and he changes his mind, and goes to work in the vineyard.
The other son, like your friends, sits up and gives a snappy, “I will sir!” when the father asks him to go and work in the vineyard. From the way Jesus tells it, you picture this son answering even before thinking about it. Talk about obedience! But as Jesus goes on with the story, the second son didn’t go to work in the vineyard.
Jesus tells this parable to tell religiously devout people why prostitutes will enter the Kingdom ahead of them, because, while some people behave correctly, it’s often those who act wrong that have a way of actually following God. Jesus didn’t ask those religious people which son had the better attitude, Jesus didn’t ask which son had the most holy response, Jesus asked: “Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?”
You see, in your story, you did what your Father wanted, which was to change your heart and mind, and even pray for this person. Okay, so it was a little ugly getting there, just like it was for that first son, but I don’t hear Jesus saying a single word of condemnation for that son.
I also think maybe there’s an implication in that parable, that by being honest and venting his real feelings, it may have helped this first son to see what was wrong within himself, and get back on the right track.
Many cultures value politeness over honesty. And that’s cool and all, but don’t ever make the assumption that God fits neatly into your culture. It’s all fine and good if you have a boss or parent or authority figure, and you give a quick “yes boss!” to everything they say, and act busy when they’re around, and wear the right clothes, and so on. But we should NEVER treat God that way.
Honesty is a Godly virtue, one that respects the truth. By contrast, you disrespect God by going to God and pretending to feel something you don’t (especially since HE ALREADY KNOWS). You honor God by putting all this funky and sometimes ugly emotion on the table, and saying, “Father, I know I’m probably wrong somewhere in this, but I have to lay it all out in front of you, so you to show me where, and what’s really going on.”
I pray that prayer every day, and despite my often funky attitude, and my unholy-sounding conversations with God, you’ll notice that, like you, I’ve got plenty of vineyard dirt under my fingernails.