OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            Virtue, morality, holiness, purity, and innocence are qualities that bring little respect in a culture that has given itself to decadence, immorality, sin, and perversion.  However, God’s children are still called to live lives of non-conformity.  “And be not conformed to this world…” (Rom. 12:2).  And again:  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…” (I John 2:15).

            One of the problems that Christians face involves desensitization to sin.  Webster defines the term “desensitize” as follows:  1: to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or non-reactive to a sensitizing agent…3:  to make emotionally insensitive or callous.”  Our society displays many “sensitizing agents” before us every day.  These sensitizing agents are such things as nudity, sexual expressions, violence, and profanity.  When seen or heard, God’s children should react with shock and dismay.  They should be ashamed and blush.  Righteous indignation ought to rise within them.  Their desire to be holy should cause them to flee in the opposite direction.  But, because we have been desensitized, we no longer have these negative emotions and reactions.  Instead, we tolerate, participate in, and promote many of the displays of sin and corruption.  We accept them as a common part of life that will never go away.

            Filthy language is one of the things to which children of God have become desensitized.  Profanity fills many of the songs that make the Top Forty List.  It is seldom that a movie is made that does not contain some of the most vile of curse words.  Politicians, actors, performers, sports figures, and media personalities cannot give an interview without some expletives rolling from their lips.  It has even become customary to hear so-called religious leaders spewing vulgarity from the pulpit.  The workplace, the ball field, the gym, and even the church buildings are overflowing with cuss words.  Hearts and ears that should be hypersensitive to these words have become insensitive and callous.  In some cases, we have accepted these things.  Some do not even understand why cursing, swearing, and profanity are wrong.

            Let’s look at a few passages of Scripture as we examine why cussing is wrong.  In one of his psalms, David wrote:  “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile” (Ps. 34:13).  David’s son, Solomon, set forth this admonition:  “Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee” (Prov. 4:24).  Paul exhorted the saints in Ephesus with these words:  “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that is may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).  Even the Son of God spoke on this subject.  His teaching ties the words of our mouth to the condition of our heart.  “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:  and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:34-37).  The Bible clearly forbids evil words, corrupt communication, and idle speaking.  Our Father wants us to use our tongues and lips in a positive, edifying manner.

            Cuss words to not fall into the category of positive, edifying communication.  First, the many purposes of cuss words show that they are negative.  These words are intended to hurt, to intimidate, to express anger, and to condemn.  These are not the kind of actions the holy God of heaven desires of His children.  Remember, Paul said that our words should be good and bring about edification (Eph. 4:29).

            Second, cuss words are wrong because of the evil categories into which they fall.  Below is a list of some of the ways cuss words can be categorized:


  1. Profanity:  not belonging to the church, blasphemous, not concerned with religion and religious purposes
  2. Vulgar:  morally crude, undeveloped, unregenerate, gross, earthy
  3. Insulting:  to make little of, offend, an act of attacking, that which brings injury
  4. Sexual:  that which relates to sex and the reproductive organs of men and women, suggestive, stimulating, erotic
  5. Racist:  that which promotes prejudice, discrimination and hatred between different races and cultures of people
  6. Disrespectful:  lacking a sense of honor, reverence, admiration, and appreciation for those of higher authority
  7. Crude:  that which is raw, lacking maturity, primitive, unrefined, gross, ignorant, and unpolished
  8. Obscene:  disgusting, revolting, designed to incite lust or depravity


The life of a Christian, and this includes his speech, should rise high above these eight categories.  The kinds of traits involved in the above categories are to be removed from the saint’s life.  “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry….But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col. 3:5, 8).

            Third, cussing is wrong because Jesus would never engage in such offensive language.  Jesus was pure, holy, and without a hint of sin.  He did not stoop to raw, ignorant, sexual, offensive, and rude words to communicate His message.  He is our example to follow.  The beloved apostle John wrote:  “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6).

            In Psalm 10, the inspired writer gives us a description of the wicked.  This is an  individual who opposes God (Ps. 10:2).  His language is described in verse 7.  “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud:  under his tongue is mischief and vanity.”  Surely no Christian wants to be perceived as part of the wicked.  One of the ways of distinguishing ourselves from them is to keep our communication both pure and holy.  Our desire in this area needs to be like that of the inspired poet of old:  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).