Should Christians Cuss?

As I walked and talked with the Lord one morning, He clarified something for me. I’ve heard several people who identify as Christians use swear words. Years ago, I had a long evening conversation with a pastor on my back porch. During our chat, he defended Christians cussing as a “subculture” issue where the words were nothing more than adjectives. In his eyes and in the eyes of many others, the answer to the question, “Is it OK for Christians to cuss?” is an emphatic yes.

But I would argue that we are asking the wrong question entirely.

In Matthew 12:34, after calling the corrupted religious leaders a “brood of vipers,” Jesus went on to say, ‘For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

So really, the question is: if you feel the need to cuss, what is abounding in your heart that cursing is what comes out?

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Matthew 12:34-35

After delineating the works of the flesh, Paul informed the church in Galatia that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. . .” (Galatians 5:22-23).

It’s worthy of note that cursing is none of those things. At best, it’s contemptuous; an expression of disgust or contempt for the object or person on the receiving end. At its worst, cussing is an expression of anger. In fact, I can’t think of a swear word that doesn’t come from a place of anger.

So, if your heart is full of anger and contempt, it’s only natural for these to fuel what comes out of your mouth. But if your heart is full of Jesus, different things will come out; the fruit of His Spirit.

Something to think about today.


Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:19-25

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