I was sitting in Wednesday night class at church one night, and we were studying a Bible story that involved a dam. Being about five, maybe six, at the most, and having been only to Christian school, I thought the teacher was saying a bad word, that she was swearing.
Back then, the extent of a bad word to me was damn. But now you cannot turn on your television or your radio without hearing someone utter words that are offensive. You cannot roll down your windows because someone might pull up beside with their music blaring swear words. You cannot go to the movies without hearing such language. I have even seen kid-friendly movies with cursing in them.
The name of God is taken so many times in television shows and movies and out of the mouths of strangers on the street.
The very same people who will stand in line to watch a movie, such as Passion For The Christ, will come out of the movie theater, uttering obscenities.
What exactly constitutes swearing? The Merriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary defines swearing as "to use profane or obscene language: curse."
But what is profane or obscene language? Profane is described as "to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt: desecrate." Obscene is said to be "disgusting to the senses: repulsive."
Did you know that humans are the only of God's creations that has the ability to control what they say? Can a parrot? No, he only mimicks what humans say. He never says anything on his own. But as humans, we tend to abuse that precious gift that God has given us.
Your mouth has creative ability. You can have what you say--good or bad.
Solomon writes in Proverbs 18:21 that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." The Message Translation puts it this way: "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit--you choose."
You can speak good words, such as what is written in the Word of God, to uplift someone, to comfort and encourage him/her. Or you can speak bad words that will abuse, disrespect or desecrate his/her reputation and character.
But how, you may ask, is saying a few curse words or taking the Lord's name in vain, hurting anyone? It is grieving God, and it is hurting you.
In Matthew 12:36, Jesus warns us "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
We are going to have to account for the idle words we have spoken. All the curse words, all the lies, all the deceitful and misleading words. Every word.
When God asks you about your swearing, what are you going to say? Oh, God, the celebrities on television cursed, so I thought it was okay. Oh, well, God, my friends swore, and I was trying to fit in. These excuses aren't going to fly.
Before this Scripture in verse 34, Jesus said, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
And over in chapter 15, verse 11, He noted "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."
What does that mean? It means that what is in our hearts, what we've allowed to set up residence in our hearts, will come out our mouths. You can tell what is in a person's heart just by listening to how they react in a stressful situation. Do they yell? Curse? Blame others? Hit things?
Things settle in our heart by what we allow into our ears and before our eyes. Do you watch a lot of violence of television? Listen to your parents or friends curse? What about the lyrics of the songs you constantly hear? These things enter into your heart and sow seed into its ground. The more cursing you hear, the more violence you watch, the more that seed is watered. And what happens when a seed is watered? It grows. Now when you get into a stressful situation, you open your mouth and a curse word flies out. Where did that come from, you think. By not guarding what you allow to grow in your heart.
How can you control your cursing?
1. Ask God to help you.
2. Before saying anything, think: "Do I really want to account for these words on Judgment Day?"
3. Read the book of Proverbs through every month until you have the problem under control. Proverbs talks a lot about the mouth and what we should and shouldn't say. You will be wise to take this book to heart.
Remember: "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth" (James 3:5). Make sure your tongue speaks good things, things that build up and donít tear down-- others or yourself.