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I saw a bumper sticker last week that read “I love Jesus, too. But I still cuss a little.” Although I found humor in it at first, I got to thinking…..Just what is cussing anyway? Can someone really LOVE Jesus and still cuss, even a little?

Webster defines “cussing” as another word for “curse.” “Curse” is defined as “a solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.” With that definition, it is impossible to love Jesus and still cuss, even a little. But our culture thinks cussing in any form is OK, from a simple “naughty” word to raucous profanity.

In fact, one reason I left my old employer was because cussing, profanity included, was considered “healthy” and “normal”, whether by men or women, in the office or at the jobsite. But what does God think about cussing? So, I Googled “what does the Bible say about cussing,” and found more references than I can list here, but here are some of my favorites:

Ephesians 4:29 • No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Matthew 15:10-11 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

Luke 6:45 Jesus said, “ A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

James 3:10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

James 3:6-8 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell….It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Cussing, profanity, a foul mouth, swearing, expletives – no matter what you call it, in any form - offends and hurts God, others, and ourselves. It damages our human dignity rooted in being created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus said “everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned (Matthew 12:36-37).” With all that said, can someone love Jesus and still cuss a little? I’ll let you decide.

Deacon John

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