Christians and Cussing

Christians and Cussing

 

Why is it bad for Christians to cuss?
Why are certain words considered “bad words”?

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:7-10

Ouch. Our mouths can really get us into trouble, can’t they? We can lie, boast, and say all kinds of hurtful things to others. And one way that God definitely did not intend for Christians to use our mouths is to use profanity or vulgar speech.

But why? What makes one string of four letters good and noble, such as “love,” “pray,” or “holy,” while another string of four letters is cause for washing out mouths with soap and more restrictive movie ratings?

It’s because of the meaning attached to the word. Human beings don’t deal with words as random assemblages of letters. Human beings deal with words in terms of meaning. And God doesn’t want the meanings that come out of our mouths to point people away from Him, but, rather, to represent Him well. We can see this in the instructions He gives us about the things we say:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

If you’re a Christian who uses foul or vulgar language, have you ever stopped to think about why you do that? What is the motivation of your heart for saying those words? Is it Christlike? Do you think Jesus would use that kind of language? When you say those words do they point people to or away from Christ? What impression does it give people of Christians, the church, and Christ when they hear you cussing? Think about the definitions of those words. When you say those words, what definition pops up in the mind of the person who hears you? Is it something good, pure, honorable, etc.?

But when you come right down to it, swearing is really not a disease to be treated, but a symptom of another disease- a heart infiltrated by worldliness. Luke 6:45 tells us:

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

It’s important to remedy the outward behavior of filthy language, but that only comes from having a heart that is filled with the good treasure of Christ.

Additional Resources:

Is It a Sin to Cuss/Swear/Curse?

Is cursing or swearing a sin?

michelle

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Michelle is a women’s Bible study author, ministry wife, and home schooling mom. She and her husband have six children in their tweens, teens, and twenties. Michelle enjoys reading, spending time with family, and staying active at church and in women’s ministry. Her goal in writing, speaking, and teaching is to train church ladies to be “Mighty Amazon Women” of God: strong in godliness, humility, submission, discernment, kindness, wisdom, apologetics, and hermeneutics.

Comments

  1. says

    While listening to KLove radio this morning, they touched on the topic that is all the talk lately about Justin Bieber saying he is a Christian and follows Jesus. People are saying he is lying because of his foul language and whatnot. The topic of discussion was how we as Christians are expected by others to act a certain way and when we aren’t that cookie cutter version people say “How can you say you are a Christian?!” I look at it like this – we are all on our own walk with the Lord. I know Christians who cuss, I know some who drink occasionally. It is not for me to judge but for me to love them. And I do. I am not perfect nor am I meant to be but I follow Jesus and he forgives my shortcomings and puts in my heart the desire to work everyday to be the best me I can be. 🙂

    • says

      Hi Lindsey-

      Let me clarify a few things if I may.

      The intent of this article is not to say that if you occasionally let a cuss word slip you aren’t saved. When genuinely regenerated Christians sin by cussing (or in any other way) and truly repent of that sin, God will graciously forgive them (1 John 1:9).

      I can’t really comment on the Justin Bieber situation as I’m not familiar with it (although, if you will read the book of 1 John, you’ll find that there are behavioral indicators of whether or not someone is saved), but Christianity isn’t about being “expected by others to act a certain way,” and that’s not what this article is about. This article is talking about Christians being expected by GOD to act a certain way. God has every right to give Christians instruction in Scripture (such as the ones I’ve cited in the article) and expect us to obey them. When we don’t, we are sinning.

      “I know Christians who cuss, I know some who drink occasionally.”
      Ok, but there’s a difference here. Cussing is a sin, as outlined in the verses above (and others). An occasional drink, unless accompanied by other unwise or sinful behavior, is not. (The biblical prohibition is against drunkenness- Ephesians 5:18)

      “It is not for me to judge but for me to love them.”
      That’s right, and the way that we love our friends is to help them out of harm’s way, right? Jesus was perfect in love and yet He called sinners to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14-15) and told us to “judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). Christianity is not a “live and let live” sort of thing. We are to love our brothers and sisters enough to help and restore them (and for them to help us) when they fall into sin (Galatians 6:1).

      Hope this helps to explain. :0)

  2. says

    I love this post! I agree that if a word slips it does not mean your are not a Christian but I do believe we need to watch our mouths. It is an issue of the heart. I have talked to so many that think words are just words. But as I say to my kids, it is the motive and the attitude when it is spoken. Great post! Thanks 🙂

  3. Rachel says

    This is such an important topic to think about and take seriously. For me working in retail among many people who call themselves Christian or talk about God, but then can turn around cussing a lot or doing things (behavior wise) that I know do not follow along with Scripture and how God asks us to act. This is one area that I think is not talked about enough. Anyway, all this to say, I agree with what you shared, and I am glad you shared it. Thanks for taking the time to explain things well.

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