Do good people ever use bad words?

two legs gone marineIn emails and reviews, I’ve been excoriated because one of my characters uses “bad words”   Sam’s an alcoholic Marine amputee suffering from PTSD and mourning the death of his best friend in combat.   At the beginning of THE WELCOME COMMITTEE OF BUTTERNUT CREEK, Sam’s having a bad time.  First, he’s under fire in Afghanistan and shouts, “Where the hell are the  . .”  I’m going to confess, if I’m taking fire and there isn’t any suppressing fire coming in, I’d get a little anxious.  I may be tempted to curse.  Tempted, nothing, I’d probably let go with a string of  words I never use normally.  I thought Sam showed great patience.   However, several of my readers didn’t.  One lady wrote me a long email about how Christians never used potty mouth girlthose terrible words.  Then she pointed out the words that Sam used on page. 28 and page 49 and page 126.   I got the feeling she didn’t read the book.  She just looked for the bad words.  That breaks my heart because I think she’d have enjoyed the material that came between the three really not horrible words. I think she might have been inspired if she’d read the book.

Look at the reviews of my Butternut Creek series on amazon.com.  According to some reviewers, I’m the most potty-mouthed writer in the history of the world.    My feeling is that we are not perfect.  That in moments of stress and fear and sorrow God understands we may say words we wouldn’t use in front of our grandmothers–and I believe God looks at our situation and says, “I understand.  Just don’t use the F-bomb.” 

Although I’d never use the F-bomb in any of my books, surely there are characters who would.  I mean, a serial murder probably isn’t going so say, “Oh, shaving cream” when the man he’s supposed to kill get the drop on him.   There are characters like Al Capone and Scarface that probably used words I’d never think of saying or writing because they ran with a pretty tough set.  My only big problem is when the worst of the four-letter words are used in place of good writing, that’s just laziness.

So, what’s your opinion.   Sam’s not a Christian yet.  Should he be judged for using an occasional curse?   Do Christians sometimes say “heck” or “darn” or even worse words? Is that all right or not?    If you’ve read my novels have you been ashamed that I used a few curses?   I’d love to know your opinion.

 

16 thoughts on “Do good people ever use bad words?

  1. Jane, you are NOT the most potty-mouthed writer in the world. You’re characters simply ring true to their characters and their life circumstances. If your readers have objections, refer them to your Love Inspired books.

  2. Words are just words. Their power comes from us, from our associations and interpretations. I’d rather have an honest curse than a sweetly worded lie any day.

    And I can out-potty you any day, Jane :-)

      1. You’re Canadian. You don’t even know bad words because you are a nice people.

        By the way, that beer you have the earrings for was on JEOPARDY the other day. I got it right because of you. I can say it just can’t spell it. Mouls. . ?

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised AT ALL if Jesus himself cursed in certain circumstances. He had a temper and showed it. Your reader who cites page numbers: well, bless her heart. :-)

  4. Hello Jane! Great website re-design and I can already tell it’ll be easier to manage. I have to agree with Kris re: the power of words.
    Society, and the plethora of people in it, give power to words…and you, our talented author, use those words like an artist uses her paints/oils/charcoal to create a work of art. YOU are the one to decide whether to use vermilion or fire-engine red when you draw us a character and YOU are being true to your characters by showing us your creations and how they would react in real life situations.
    Yea you!

  5. I think you are great! Your book series is fun and believable because it is so lifelike; full of humor and sadness and surprises. I am enjoying your blog page… it is the only one I read.
    susie

  6. I understand the need to make it real to life but in other Chrisitan Fiction they have let you know what took place without actually using the bad words. Most people that seek out Christian fiction want to be able to read something without that concern.

  7. I LOVED the first book (I’m sure I’ll love the rest, I just haven’t finished them yet). :) I admit I was a bit surprised by the use of words I don’t typically see in Christian fiction, but I also “get” that it was someone who had no relationship with Jesus, so it seemed like you were trying to show how non Believers speak. I think I was much more surprised when Birdy was thinking about her granddaughters–how she hoped they would wait to have sex “until they were ready.” Pretty much every teenager (and adult, for that matter) I’ve ever met that wasn’t committed to abstinence until marriage feels like “ready” boils down to hey-you’re-cute-and-noone’s-around, then pat themselves on the back if they think it’s love and/or remember protection. (I don’t think that’s what Paul meant when he wrote that love always protects.)

    1. My feeling as I wrote that was that–after what had happened to their mother–the girls had an idea of how having sex too young and when unprepared led to mistakes and rough times. I pick this idea up again in book three where Bree says she’d never have sex with Hector while they were dating because she couldn’t do that to her grandmother. I do appreciate your comments greatly. I used to teach decision making for young people–about when they were mature enough to have sex and always told them to map out their lives, decide when they might be mature enough to have sex, to make a decision based on many factors because they are all going to have sex at some time. BUT they shouldn’t allow a soft breeze, a moonlit night and a lot of hormones to make that decision for them.

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