What does the Bible say about cursing?

We’ve all said them: four-letter words that send mothers everywhere reaching for a bar of soap.

It could’ve been a stubbed toe, frustrating traffic, or undesired results of Clemson or Carolina’s most recent game. We’ve all resorted to words we try to avoid around children or people who might think less of us.

How we speak matters because words have the power to do good and bad (James 3:5-8).

If our lives belong to Jesus, so should our language. 


It’s Not Just Cursing

If we curse at people or speak harshly, we’re using language in a damaging way. It hurts them and it hurts us, too.

Profanity isn’t the only word abuse we’re guilty of; it’s just the easiest to spot.

I can’t believe he’s doing that with his life.

Did you see who she went home with?

That person deserves what’s coming to him.

Plenty of our conversations include gossip, judgment, and even hate. Cussing may be bad, but tearing people down is worse. The most hidden forms of foul language can be the most destructive.

What Our Words Really Mean

Speaking differently around your friends from church and your college buddies might mean you’re trying to hide part of your life.

Cleaning up your language around your family but speaking ill of them behind their backs will only damage your relationships.

Letting one fly when you’re angry shows a lack of self-control. Careless words reflect a careless attitude.

Maybe you make it a point not to say anything offensive at all. Substituting less jarring words while still speaking harshly about someone is like covering farts with an air freshener. It’s not fooling anyone, especially not God. We aren’t duping God into thinking we’re sinless by keeping our language free from obscenities.

Your foul mouth is not the problem; your heart is.

Our speech is just a symptom of a deeper issue. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” God is far more concerned about the condition of our hearts than the condition of our tongues.

Choice Words

If our lives belong to Jesus, so should our language.

Rather than use words to selfishly promote ourselves or tear others down, we have the opportunity to build them up (Ephesians 4:29). Gracious words are always more powerful than critical ones (Proverbs 16:24). Our speech is strongest when it’s careful and consistent (Colossians 4:6, James 3:10). God is for us and wants to connect with us; that message is the motivation for how we speak and live.

Do you still struggle with self-control when it comes to your words (or anything else)? It’s OK not to be OK, but it’s not OK to stay that way. Jesus always cares more about people than proper language.

God’s not interested in behavior modification; He’s after heart transformation. He doesn’t just change our language, but every part of our lives. Our efforts don’t produce lasting change, but the Holy Spirit working in us brings eternal change.

And that’s something worth talking about.

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