“Cussing Christians” and “Swearing Saints”

A certain well-known minister once shocked his audience by stating that “…millions of people are starving to death, and most of you don’t give a —-!” He went on to rebuke them by saying that “The sad thing is, most of you are more upset at my using that word than you are about people starving!” Was this the best way to make his point? That is open to debate, but it does challenge us in how we are going to define “bad words.”

As much as we might want it to, the Bible does not give us a list of “forbidden words” (and, as we shall see, uses some rather “earthy” language itself in places). So there are admittedly some “grey areas” when it comes to where the line needs to be drawn.

Often, the word “profanity” is used to describe any and all forms of off-color language, but that goes beyond its actual meaning. The word “profanity” means “outside the Temple” and refers specifically to blasphemous or sacriligious terms. Of course, this should not be part of any Christians vocabulary (Exodus 20:7). Nor should immoral sexual talk (Ephesians 5:4) or racist or otherwise degrading language (Matthew 5:22). These principles are summed up in the following Biblical guidelines:

“No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

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