Christian Conference Cussing

I cussed at a Christian conference this summer. In fact, I dropped an F-bomb. And I think it shocked the other conference attendees. To tell you why I did that, I have to tell you one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever learned.

Last year, I engaged a leadership coach to help improve my service to my church. His name is Mike. This summer, Mike hosted a weekend retreat for 20 of his coaching clients. We spent three days in a beautiful mountain cabin praying about God’s unique design and calling on our lives. It was a transformative experience. One of the assignments Mike gave us was to detail our shadow mission, that is a lesser version of our highest calling, distorted by pride, fear, or faithlessness. As we gathered to share our shadow missions, one of the other conference attendees expressed doubt as to the value of this assignment. His name was Dave. He said, “I’m not sure why we actually need to write this down. If it’s not who we truly are, why give voice to it?”

That’s what made me cuss. The answer to Dave’s question is one of the most terrifying lessons life has taught me.

Ten years ago, I was addicted to pornography. It was a daily and compulsive part of my life. For some people, pornography releases such a potent soup of hormones in the brain that it creates chemical dependence. That was me. I remember sitting down to my computer with the intent to look at porn and physically shaking like an addict about to take a hit. In the most painful episode of my life, I hit rock bottom, was found out, lost a job, and almost lost my family. And it was at that point in my life that I realized that Jesus gave us the answer to Dave’s question.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” I understood that the thief to whom Jesus referred is Satan, but I always interpreted that verse with a level of metaphor. Jesus was saying that we have an enemy and he’s a bad dude. He doesn’t want the best for us. And that’s about as far as I went. But that was a misunderstanding of Jesus’ message. It wasn’t until my most shameful secret was exposed that I realized that Jesus was not speaking in metaphors at all. The Christian’s enemy wants to literally steal from him all that he holds dear; kill him bodily; and destroy his family, legacy, and life. Satan was not content to get me to dabble in pornography; he wanted me an addict. Satan would not have been content with destroying my family or my career or my future. Given his way, he would not be finished with me until my marriage was ended, my kids were permanently scarred, my family was disgraced, and I bled out on a prison floor. That is the end game Satan has in mind for God’s people; very real death. He has given it a lot of thought. Satan has plans for my destruction that I have not yet considered. He isn’t f-ing around.

And that’s what I told Dave. My voice shaking and the other conference attendees staring, I was compelled to share what life has taught me the hard way. In the way of following Jesus, the stakes are huge, the calling is high, and the enemy is not f-ing around. This is serious business; serious enough to make me cuss at a room full of unsuspecting conference attendees. I hope they got the message.