Every thing that God prohibits in the Bible reflects his nature and therefore has some good reason behind it. But using bad language, or cursing, is one of those prohibitions that most of us completely ignore. Almost everyone curses.
We swear when we’re angry.
We swear when we’re really happy.
We swear when we tell jokes.
We swear when we’re trying to really emphasize a point we want to make.
We swear when we want to hurt someone’s feelings.
We swear when we talk about someone we really don’t like.
The list goes on and on. So what is the big deal? Cursing seems like one of those sins that is nit picky. After all, we humans decide which words are bad and which are good. It’s just a conventional language thing. Every language has curse words in it. Even the biblical languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) had curse words.
Some of the most vile curse words refer to “private parts,” sexual acts, eliminating bodily waste, and other ethnic groups. Now, all of these things were given to us by God – bodies, sex, and different races – and God only gives good things. Yet, in each case, we rename these things with curse words.
It turns out that naming, and indeed language itself, is one of the most powerful and beautiful gifts that God bequeathed mankind. One of the first things God asked Adam to do was name the animals. However, as with all gifts, language can be used for good or for evil. Language can be used to teach, to heal, to point toward truth, to worship God, to express beauty, and to express love toward others. God felt so strongly about using His name properly, that it made the top ten (Ex. 20:7).
It can be used for evil. As with virtually every other good gift, humans took language and perverted it. When you misuse language (that’s what cursing is, the misuse of language), you pervert a good gift from God.
Clearly, some cursing is worse than others. Yelling out when you hit your thumb with a hammer is not in the same league as yelling a racial epithet at someone. God always judges the heart of a man, so the more hurtful you intend your language to be, the the more harshly you will be judged, but why not avoid it altogether?
Think of the words that come out of your mouth (and the words in your thoughts) as a beautiful self-portrait hanging in the front entrance of your home (a la Dorian Gray). Every person that enters your home sees this portrait immediately. Every time you curse, your face in the portrait deforms in a subtle way. Over time, the deformities build up so that your portrait becomes horribly disfigured. What started out as a wonderful painting becomes more like a portrait of a monster. On the other hand, every time you use language to teach truth, express love, or heal, the portrait reverts back to the original stunning masterpiece. That masterpiece is what God intended for you.