ANDERSON, S.C. — A former megachurch pastor who says he has been struggling with guilt since being fired last year due to problems with alcohol abuse recently refused to exclude profanity from a social media post that transparently expressed how badly he feels about his sins and the consequences of his choices. His language has generated a variety of reactions, including concern from those who note that profanity is not to proceed from the mouths of those who profess Christ.
“I know it’s harsh, but I will not sanitize this article to appease those who may be offended at the language and want a scrubbed and safe version of Christianity that simply doesn’t work for the world!” Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina recently wrote on social media.
He told followers, repeating the phrase numerous times throughout the post, that he woke up one morning and thought to himself that he was a “worthless piece of [expletive].”
Noble said that as the thought entered his mind, “guilt, condemnation and shame” overwhelmed him, reminding him of the consequences of his sins.
“The fact I was fired from a job I love for abusing alcohol. The fact I lost friendships I thought I would always have in my life. The fact my wife left me and we are still separated, and I am a failure as a husband and father. The fact I have limited time with my daughter, and feel I have let her down in so many ways. All of this because of horrible personal choices I made!” he lamented.
Repeating the expletive again, Noble said that the phrase hung over him throughout the day.
“I literally thought I was going crazy and that maybe I was sinking back into a deep depression that was going to crush the life out of me,” he stated.
However, Noble said that he remembered Romans 8:1, and it began to pull him back out of the cloud. The passage reads, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
“Finally, I snapped back to reality and remember a phrase I have declared from the pulpit, but have never actually believed for myself, that ‘Jesus knew every stupid, sinful, self-centered decision I would ever make, and still created me, called me, equipped me and arranged for the payment of my sin!'” he explained.
“In Christ, what we did is not who we are—no matter what others try to label us as, or how long they try to judge as to whether or not we have truly repented!” Noble stated.
He said that the phrase still hung over his head the following day, but that he had learned to refuse to believe it. He urged others to think differently of themselves as well.
“I am not a ‘worthless piece of [expletive]’ and neither are you!” Noble exclaimed, repeating the expletive for the fourth time. “I pray my battle last week helps someone reading this to fight their battle today!”
Noble’s use of profanity drew a mixed response from hundreds of followers, with some likewise using profanity in sharing that they struggle with the same feelings, or defending Noble’s use of an expletive and calling those concerned “holier than thous.”
“Thank you for being real! Thank you for not being afraid to use the word ‘[expletive],'” one wrote. “You are an amazing man and I am thankful for the transparency, and I pray your family would be whole again soon!”
“Perry, that was Satan sitting beside you wanting you to hit a pity party! Well, sometimes you got to talk back to that son of a !@&&$$#%%%#. You are a child of the most high God!” another wrote. “Tell slew foot good for nothing piece of [expletive] Satan to go straight back to Hell!”
“[F]or any of you to call Perry out for using the word ‘[expletive]:’ Are you kidding me?” another posted. “Honey, he without sin will cast the first stone. Please go home, look at yourself in the mirror, and try to find some humility.”
However, others stated that they were genuinely concerned about Noble’s use of profanity while writing about the things of God, as well as the influence that it might have on others.
“Just to be frank, you people using God’s name and your filthy language in the same breath are only fooling yourselves. That is not right in God’s eyes,” one commenter stated. “Your influence on Christian people is very negative. Study your Bible.”
“You might feel that way, but very poor choice of words. Sometimes we need to keep our thoughts to ourselves or at least consider what the response might be if we reveal them in print,” another wrote. “Even sadder is that churchgoers are accepting this talk. And we wonder why so many have a negative opinion of ‘Christians.’ Would Jesus use this kind of language? Don’t think so. Neither should His followers.”
“No wonder this man feels so terrible. He calls himself a pastor but he needs to be saved first. A true child of God can’t use such language and serve God,” a third opined.
Colossians 3:8 instructs, “But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Ephesians 4:29 also exhorts, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”