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What’s the big deal about cursing?


What’s the big deal about cursing?—Philadelphia Guy, 16, PA

Shayna Answers:

Dear Philadelphia Guy,

The Bible says a lot about the words we use and their impact. Let’s start with Proverbs 18:21. This verse is one of my favorites because it says: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

This verse says that we actually influence people with a blessing or a curse simply by what we say. Whatever we choose to say affects us the same way—we “eat its fruit.” This verse’s implications are powerful! Let’s break them down.

For those of us who have pets, we usually feed them on separate dishes from ours. Why? Well, when unsupervised, our dogs lick the dirty ground, drink water out of the toilet, and sometimes eat garbage. Since we don’t, why would we eat out of their bowls?

Proverbs 18:21 suggests that what comes out of our mouth is precisely what comes back into it. So when we use vulgar, filthy words on other people, we might as well drink out of the toilet too.

It’s almost always our intention to hurt the person we’re talking to when we use foul language. But not only do we hurt them in the moment we speak those words, we also damage future interactions with them. Proverbs 15:1 says: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  And according to Galatians 5:22, 23, anger isn’t one of the markers of the Holy Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

By using words that incite anger, we communicate that we don’t love the person we’re talking to. If this is true, we’re misrepresenting ourselves as Christians, because John 13:34, 35 says that people will know that we’re Christ’s disciples by our love for one another.

Curse words also have the ability to compromise our salvation. Even when used to fit in or seem cool, curse words have the tendency to slip out and keep repeating in our heads. The danger in this is that Proverbs 12:18 says: “Reckless words pierce like a sword,” and Genesis 9:5, 6 says that God will demand an account from us for the lifeblood of every man that we shed. If we pierce someone with our words, essentially we’re killing them and setting ourselves up for judgment (Exodus 20:13).

The bottom line is, when we curse, we open our minds to other sin that can covertly multiply and separate us from God.

Actually, our words should reflect our relationship with Jesus Christ. Both Isaiah 51:16 and Jeremiah 1:9 say that when we are converted, God puts His words in our mouths. Second Corinthians 5:17 says that after we accept Jesus, “the old has gone, the new has come!” So once we’ve become new creations, it’s self-defeating to keep imitating the behaviors of those who don’t know Christ.

It’s not that Christians are expected to never get angry or upset, it’s that we should act differently, because we are different, which includes what we say.

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