y oldest son has just now entered High school and recently he had a discussion centered around cussing. For him, as he has gotten older, there has been months (if not years) where he wouldn’t hear a cuss word. Now, the opposite seems true. He cannot go a day without hearing one. For this reason I sought to look for Biblical answers to a very common question, and today I want to share that knowledge.
Is Cursing a Sin in the Bible?
Cursing is a sin because it comes against the original plan God has for our mouth. That plan is for our speech to be used as instruments of righteousness, not the opposite.
Cursing is defined as “to use profanity; to bring evil upon” (Webster’s Dictionary). This is different from swearing, which is defined as “to make an oath or vow sacrilegiously; to swear falsely”. Swearing can include curses and oaths while cursing includes only curses.
The Bible tells us that we should not use our mouth in an ungodly way (Colossians 3:8). Cursing is an ungodly use of our mouths because it speaks against God and His plans for us.
In James 3:9-10 we are told that we should not say evil things about other people with our tongue because it is sinful and will lead to destruction. We should bless them instead (James 3:9-10). So when we curse someone else, we are using our tongue in an ungodly way just like when we tell lies with our tongue (James 2:11-12).
Why is Cussing a Sin?
The Bible says that our mouths are an instrument of righteousness. In other words, we should use our mouths to praise God and speak words of wisdom. The Bible also tells us that our mouth is a blessing or a curse. A curse is a negative thing we say against someone else. We can also say curses against ourselves by saying negative things about ourselves or our own circumstances: "I'm so stupid." "No one likes me." "I'll never get married."
The word "curse" comes from the Hebrew word karath which means to cut off, iniquity, judgment or penalty (Strong's Hebrew concordance). It has the idea of separation from God and His blessing because of sin.
Cursing is not just using swear words; it is using any kind of negative speech against someone else or yourself. It's like putting bad thoughts into your mind that are not true about yourself or others.
We can also think about swearing as giving power to evil spirits who work through our words (see James 3:11). Swearing gives them permission to go ahead with their plans for destruction in our lives, which could include sicknesses and diseases.
Cussing/Cursing is Corrupt Speech
The Bible is quite clear that cursing is a sin. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are not to curse at all. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
The word translated "corrupt" here comes from the Greek word kakkos, which means "rottenness, decay; hence badness, vice." It's a strong word indicating that what we say should not be corrupt or rotten.
The Greek word translated as "communication" here is laleo which means "to speak, talk." Laleo is used more than 330 times in the New Testament and is always something good. We should be speaking words that are pleasing to God and edifying to others (James 3:1-12).
Words Are Powerful
God has given us a gift of speech, but it is up to each one of us how we use this gift. We must remember that our words have value and power. They can be used for good or bad — for positive or negative results.
Jesus said that what comes out of our mouth is what defiles us — not what goes in (Matthew 15:11-20). If we allow the wrong things to come out of our mouth, we will sin against God and cause others to stumble into sin as well.
Our words should always glorify God because they reflect who He is and what He has done for us through Jesus Christ.