God made me this way, so what is right and wrong?
By Pastor Steve Van Nattan

You cannot fault us for avoiding just about any topic, right?  :-)

This is not earth shaking in impact, and it does not need to be dealt with in the average pulpit, but it seemed to me that we need to use this topic to look at how God deals with us and how He made us.


We are talking about passing air, burping, and gurglings which well up from the gut just as the room grows very quiet.


Answer:  NOTHING


When I was a kid, my parents were missionaries in Tanganyika (now, Tanzania).  We were assigned to live at Kibara on the Bajita peninsula, and we lived in a tent in the village of the local pastor while Dad built us a new home.  I played daily with the African kids, and life was good.  I recall that when a smaller African kid would pass air, the older ones would snap at him, "pumbafu."  Roughly, that means, "Disgusting."

In just about every culture in the world there are protocols about body noises.  While belching in public is considered gross in most Western circles, belching after a good meal is a compliment to the host and cook in many other cultures.  To produce no belching after the meal is in fact an insult in some cultures.

Passing air in public is uncouth in nearly all cultures.  The thing that is interesting is that Muhammed preached whole sermons against passing air in the mosque.  It seems that the faithful would proudly pass air right at some critical point in the prayers to Allah.  The Bible has NO comment on this.  Were the blips uncouth?  No, of course not.  The point is, God made us all to pass air in order to let off the pressure in our innards.  So, the timing possibly needs to be culturally controlled, but the thing is not nasty or sinful.

Parents better be careful how they discipline children with such things since many a kid has been made terrified of his urine, his feces, and his first erection, as if the whole private area is somehow a great source of evil.  One family I know of has a grown son now who uses nearly a whole roll of toilet paper at a sitting--  he thinks his elimination area is evil, and it has completely psyched him.  

Indeed, one way to potty train a boy is to make little paper boats, and float them in the toilet water.  Make a game of sinking the ship, first by urinateing, then later by "bliping" them.  Of course, if the kid is still "bliping" the ships when he is 25 years old, something went wrong I dare say :-)

We had a missionary family in Africa while I was growing up who all passed air in public with great zeal.  The father would even posture himself so as to get maximum benefit from the surplus gas and toot wildly.  He, and all his family, would not so much as crack a grin or show any expression as they did this, often carrying on a conversation of much seriousness.  We all had a real hard time with this.  This family simply saw the act of passing gas as a natural function of the body God gave them.  So, how can you get upset with them?  They preached the Word and worked hard for the Lord, and their kids were well behaved.

Of course, the groanings of the stomach and guts, which can embarrass us from time to time, are not at all controllable.  This should be 100% overlooked, no matter where it happens.  If a person has this trouble, and if they show embarrassment, they should be encouraged that this is not their fault and continue with whatever is happening.  God also made them this way.


Let us not get too worked up about the things God gave us as physical functions.  He certainly could have made us like cockroaches which never have gas, but He didn't.

1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

I believe that, within limits, this verse allows for some moderate attention to local culture, as does the following:

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

1 John 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

1 Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Daniel 6:4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.