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Does God Care If I Cuss?

Does God Care If I Cuss?

“Different people have different opinions,” she said to me as we were discussing the topic of cussing. When thinking about something like cussing it is important to remember that this is not a core issue in the faith. It does not make a difference in someone’s salvation. However, as Christ-followers we should desire to be living lives that honor and please God. This means that we need to investigate His Word on the matter. Does God care if I cuss?

What the Bible Says about our Words

Scripture makes it clear that our words are important. God tells us repeatedly that we should be slow to speak, guard our mouths, and that our words can hurt others if we are not self-aware.  

Proverbs 11:9 says, “With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.”

God expresses that those who do not know him destroy others with their words. Although this does not directly refer to cussing, if cussing is used as a means of destruction and belittling of another, this is not what the Lord would want for us. We are to live by the Spirit, not by the flesh. The worldly mouth says what it wants, the Spirit-led mouth strives to be careful with words. (Ecclesiastes 5:2) God takes our words seriously. He even says that we will give an account for our careless words spoken. The question becomes, is cussing careless? (Matthew 12:36)

The Bible is clear that we should not let foul or abusive language come out of our mouths. The life of a Christ-follower should be one of encouragement, speaking what is helpful, and pointing others to Christ. I have heard people make the argument, “What about being all things to all people?” We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. Jesus is our example and never do we read of Him using foul language to witness to others. If Jesus was perfect and He refrained from speaking this way, it should tell us that this is a sin. We so often like to compare ourselves with other people, but we truly need to compare ourselves with Jesus. He is the One who lived the perfect life.

Ephesians 4:29 says, Dont use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

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

Next to Proverbs, James is one of the most verbal books of the Bible in regard to our words. He explains how our tongues can do damage like fire and that if we do not bridle our tongues like we bridle a horse, we are deceived.

James 1:26 says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.”

James 3:6 says, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of ones life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

What Is the Heart and Intention behind the Decision to Cuss?

A good question to always ask is, “What is the heart and intention behind what I am doing?” Most of the time when someone is using a curse word, it is out of anger, trying to be funny, or in pain. This makes us ask, is speaking in this way rooted in hate? Is what I am saying rooted in pride? Am I using language as an unhealthy outlet for pain? The Bible tells us that it is foolish to belittle others. It says that gentle words are beneficial but deceitful words hurt. James warns of the controversy and hypocrisy of worshiping God with our mouths and then cursing others with that same mouths.

Proverbs 11:12 says, It is foolish to belittle ones neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.”

Proverbs 15:4 says, “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

James 3:9-10 says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in Gods likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

What Does God Ask to Come from Our Mouths?

An important question that we can ponder is thinking about what does God want to come out of our mouths. What does He wants our words to be? Scripture tells us that He wants for our words to be kind, pleasing to Him, guarded, kept from evil, bridled, and wise. There is power in what we say. We cannot take words back once they have been said. The Lord knows the damage that this can do and warns us to be cautious and slow to speak. He teaches us to speak what is only helpful and a blessing to others. Our testimonies for Christ can be strongly revealed by what we say and what we do not say.

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Psalm 19:14 says, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 141:3 says, Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.”

1 Peter 3:10 says, “For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.’”

Psalm 39:1 says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.”

Proverbs 21:23 says, “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”

There is a lot of wisdom in being careful with our words. Whether or not we believe that cussing is a sin, it is important to remember that God has entrusted us with voices that can either bless Him or dishonor Him. We need to think through it before we speak. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us speak life. James 3:3-12 says it so well. It tells us that just like horses have a bridle around their mouths or a ship is steered by a small rudder, our mouths might be one small body part, but they direct our lives and make a big impact. A small spark starts a forest fire. The tongue is compared to a fire. This can be used for good or evil.

James says the human tongue is hard to tame. He compares it to a restless evil, full of deadly poison. This is a humbling thought that we can bring such destruction and hurt with our words. He talks about the controversy that both praise and cursing come from the same mouth. This is quite the conundrum. As we reflect on these biblical truths, may it inspires us to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us any ways we are using our words that are not honoring to Him. With His help, we can speak intentionally and represent Christ well.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Helin Loik-Tomson

Emma DanzeyEmma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew for over two years and mom to baby Graham. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She had the joy of hosting Her Many Hats podcast where she explored the many roles that women play while serving One God. Most recently, Emma has released her first Bible Study Book, Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness.

Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Emma also had the privilege of having been a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com and check out her Bible Study videos on Instagram @Emmadanzey.