“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

To refrain from cursing may be seen by some as a pious, self righteous avoidance of certain words that aren’t “prim and proper,” that are dirty or unclean. Let’s rethink that.

Webster’s Dictionary gives us this definition of a curse: “a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one.” Think about what you are literally saying when you curse. “What the” can be understood as “what from” so when you say “who from hell is he?” or “who from fornication are you?” you are making a statement of condemnation that calls for God’s judgment on the person. What do you literally mean when you say “shut the fornication up?” Aren’t you saying to the person that they’re a source of fornication making them worthy of judgment?

If you’re a Christian, one of your purposes in life is to be used to bring people to Christ and save them from hell so why would you ever tell anyone to go there? Next time you’re about to curse think about what you’re literally saying. Does it reflect your love for God and your neighbor?

“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.” Ephesians 4:29

Gary Langel has taught classes for several summers at Delanco Camp and is known for his chess-playing skills at camp and his long-time service as a pianist and organist at Chews United Methodist Church. Image Credit: Sam Jessup, via CreationSwap with minor alteration. 

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