I was listening to a Christian radio talk show host who was posing the question to his audience, What do you think about preachers who use cuss words?
I was aghast when I heard some persons call in and say it was perfectly okay for them if their preachers swore. They believed it put their ministers on the same level as everyone else who curses and it made them more human. Apparently, they didn’t want their spiritual leaders to appear more spiritual than themselves. According to my observation, those who approved of their preacher cursing wouldn’t have to feel so guilty themselves.
I’ve heard some preachers use curse words even at the pulpit. Sometimes they throw in the D-word. They say it is in the Bible, namely the King James Version. But it’s often spoken in the context of getting all fired up over an issue in order to whip up their congregation into a hysterical frenzy. I question this tactic for it borders on mind control rather than Spirit control. The fruit of the Spirit does not feature such behavior neither are cuss words endorsed as its by-product: Galatians 5:22-23.
The Bible says that our church leaders, such as elders and deacons, including deaconesses, are to live “above reproach”: 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 2:8-15. The way we use our words are part of following this qualification. Foul language fouls up leadership abilities.
The aim for living a higher standard in both speech and action is not to make one’s self appear “holier than thou.” Rather, the aim is for setting a good example to others (especially children), for encouraging one another to abstain from worldliness and to obtain holiness in living. How else can we be “light” and “salt” in this world (Matthew 5:13-16)? Certainly, if we think we have to cuss just to fit in with the crowd, then how are we to witness effectively to them? Are we not sounding a bit hypocritical when we talk about being a good Christian from one side of our mouth then let out some profanity from the other side of our mouth?
The pattern of this world is to use filthy words and make it sound like this is okay, even justifiable. But the Christian doesn’t think this way. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world….” Instead, we are to think and act and speak according to the pattern of God’s will, and that includes cleaning out the kind of gutter language the world is known to use.
James wrote, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be,” (James 3:9-10 New International Version NIV).
Cursing is a behavior that “should not be.” Like it has been written, “Profanity is the sign of a weak mind.” It sends the wrong message to those who need to understand that the Gospel includes keeping control of our tongues as well as our tempers: Proverbs 16:32; Ephesians 5:4; Colossians 3:8; James 3:1-12.
We’re also commanded not to take the Lord’s name in vain: Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11. Usually, in the heat of swearing, God, Jesus, and Christ are used in vain. I imagine God and Jesus do not take too kindly to the desecration of their sacred names. But there are many who unashamedly violate this command.
Do you know persons who constantly swear? Some have such a bad habit of cussing that they don’t even give any thought of how offensive it is to others. Whenever someone lets out a bleep word, it ought to feel as uncomfortable to our ears as someone scraping their fingernails across a chalkboard.
When a pastor heard a little boy use a cuss word, he said, “Son, every time I hear you swear, a cold chill runs down my back.”
“Gee,” said the boy, “if you had been at our house yesterday when Dad caught his finger in the door, you’d have frozen to death!” (Holy Hilarity)
Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of God and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Matthew 6:33). If we’re truly serious about this admonition, then we’ll honestly consider how we use our words, particularly when it comes to cuss words. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” (NIV).
Good News to You!