Careful Little Mouth What You Say: Cussing and the Good News of Jesus

Your words matter. Cussing is a disgusting habit and one that can be hard to break.  I used to cuss and to be honest it’s a category that I am still a weaker brother in. Not so much with what I say, but when I hear people say other words or stop just short of saying ‘dirty’ words.  My mind still goes to the ‘dirty’ word and I can not help but feel dirty for thinking it.  Not that these words have magical powers, but because they remind me of how I used to speak. I even have Christian brothers who all but say the bad words and then they get a twisted smile on their face as if to say “get my drift… I could have said a cuss word?” I don’t smile back because they aren’t helping anybody when they do that.

I guess, truth be told, I am bothered more when “Christians” cuss than when people who aren’t Christians cuss.  The reason is that “Christians” are supposed to know better. There are a million and one reasons not to cuss, but the best ones I have found are in the scripture (check the list below).

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)

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)

talking about the tongue James writes:

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:9-12)

The third commandment also reminds us not to take the name of the Lord in vain (Ex. 20:7).  While this does have implications for how we use the name of God, the larger context dictates that those who are called by His name (in other words … Christians) are not supposed to act in a way that would bring shame to God’s name.

At best, cussing is just crude language.  But even if cussing is just crude language… does anything good come from it? Is there a way to cuss to the glory of God?

That being said.  If you struggle with trying to stop cussing.  I know what you are going through.  Don’t look for a way to continue in your unhealthy speech patterns.  1 John 1:9 reminds us that if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and purify us.  Ask God to help you get rid of your cursing habit and to replace your speech with edifying words. At the same time be reading God’s word.

If someone who isn’t a Christian cusses around you, show some grace.  You don’t have to be the cussing police (especially if they don’t claim to know God).  Your friends who don’t know God, need God more than they need to stop cussing. At the same time if it really bothers you that they cuss, try politely asking them not to cuss around you.  When they ask why, in a non-judgmental way let them know that you are a Christian, and you would appreciate not hearing cuss words.  You might be surprised at how many conversations about Jesus that this opens up.  At the same time be ready for some people to cuss more around you because they now know it bothers you.

Some Christians have said that they cuss so that other people will know that they are like them and that they don’t judge people for cussing or anything.  I really don’t think you have to cuss for people to hear you when you talk about Jesus.  That kind of behavior is driven more out of a desire to be accepted by people than a desire to please God.  God doesn’t need you to cuss to show that He loves people. I’ve had more gospel oriented discussions when someone asks why I don’t cuss than I ever had when I slipped up and let a word out.