I Solemnly Swear: Why Curse Words Are No Good


Have you ever been trying to get a million things done around the house and in your gotta-go-fast mode, you stub your pinky toe really hard into the foot of your table?

I don’t know about you, but when that happens (and surprisingly something like that has been happening to me a lot–having kids makes you clumsier), I personally sometimes catch some not-so-nice words coming out of my mouth.

If you’re like me, you grew up with your parents, teachers, youth group leaders, etc telling you that it’s bad to swear. You might also have asked yourself why exactly these words are so bad.

Some of these “bad” words are even mentioned in the Bible, albeit not in the same context as they are used today (i.e. the other word for donkey). Furthermore, a lot of these dirty words weren’t even around until after biblical times, so what is it about them that is so…bad?

Most of the swear words we know today find their origins in Medieval Europe, and over the years have been used in different contexts until they have taken what we know to be their final form (so far, as language is always changing).

Of course it isn’t right to call someone a profane name or to use curse words directly at a person, but what if we just use these expletives out of general frustration or when we stub our toe and need to blow off a little steam? That can’t be too bad, can it?

There’s an answer to a Focus On The Family Q&A segment I found on this exact subject that helps to address this:

“While it can be interesting to trace the history of certain words…this information has nothing to do with the way people use such words in modern times. As Christians, we should consider how these words are perceived in our culture today. If we think about it that way, we’ll realize that profanity is always negative and hurtful.

When you get down to it, swear words by their respective definitions are just unwholesome. Unlike the dolphin noises in Spongebob, sentence enhancers these words are not.

  • It says in Ephesians 4:29, “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.”

Later on in Ephesians 5:4 we are told, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

Perhaps many of us aren’t particularly bothered by certain friends’ sailor mouths, and once in a while we might appreciate the occasional crude joke or two. But how do these things, especially in excess, really build us up? And more importantly, how are we building others up when it’s the crude jokes coming from our sailor mouths?

I admit, I am guilty of letting a few cusses slip out from time to time, especially while driving. I’ve managed to get myself out of the habit a few times, but when I fall back in, it can be hard to get back out.

One habit I had found myself in not even too long ago was using the Lord’s name in vain. This one thing I cringe the hardest at I ended up picking up from friends and family (a prime example of the affect words can have on someone)! It had almost become sort of a verbal tick at one point.

What I started to do when I caught myself doing this was add “Loves you,” after, so that I became more aware of it when it was happening. It helped to serve as a reminder that yes, Jesus does love me, and he wants me to be better than that.

Habits can be very hard to break, but perhaps they can be made just a little bit easier by building new habits. I hope to be able to make it a habit to remove the bad taste of some of these vulgar words from my mouth by seasoning my speech with salt (Colossians 3:8) the next time I stub my toe.

Melissa Ruiz

Old Millenial, Batman and Star Wars fan, Freelancer, New England Grrl, Mom, Christian, Geek.

Leave a Reply