One of the Syrian members of our church here is one of those old guys who has been everywhere, speaks a handful of languages (including English), and loves to talk. No matter where you’re from, he’s probably traveled or lived somewhere close to it and has plenty to say about it.
Last Friday at church, we were discussing what the Bible says about how we should treat each other. [This member] raised his hand to make a comment and began speaking animatedly about his opinion. People who have studied the Bible treat others better, he said, among other things. We listened patiently as he expounded on this theme, and then, out of nowhere, came this sentence: “When they know the lessons that are written in the Bible, it makes a hell a difference!”
At first, Jeremy and I were sure we hadn’t heard correctly. He does have a slight accent, you know, and the grammar of the phrase wasn’t quite right. But then he repeated it, with more enthusiasm: “It makes a hell a difference!” This time, there was no mistaking his words. The whole rest of the group, about 6 people, kind of laughed nervously in disbelief. After a couple more repetitions of this key phrase, [this member] must have felt he made his point well enough and ended his comment.
I’ve heard people swear in a lot of situations and places, but I’m pretty sure that making a comment in church has not been one of them – until now.