James 3:5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 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. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
This is a sticky subject, but that is the point. I am not trying to draw attention to other people, as I said, I have my share of colorful vocabulary. But it is not something that we should be identified by, as Christians, especially because we are expected to be lights to the world! People, we are living in this world, and we are living by its standards! What sets you apart, as a believer, aside from where you think you are going when you die? Not much, in most cases.
Addressing "cursing" really requires a quick outline. Cursing is and can be any of the following, and perhaps more: cussing, speaking negatively over someone or yourself, gossip, slander, and lying. The Bible tells us that the tongue is like a rudder, and a rudder steers a ship in the way that it is to go. The Bible also tells us that "out of the mouth, the heart speaks" (Luke 6:45), and that the "power of life and death are in the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). That is a lot to process. Lets get very personal here, and give a scenario you may be familiar with, shall we?
You wake up in the morning and go to get ready, reaching for your toothbrush, you catch a glimpse of your reflection in the mirror, and utter a quick insult, such as, "Yuck, I am so ugly/fat/thin/old/hairy/etc". Now, it was quick, quiet, and no one heard it but you, so does it even matter? Well, yes it does.
Or how about this: Your husband forgot to take out the garbage last night, so when you get the kids ready, you stumble over the bag still sitting in the kitchen floor. You grumble as you grab it, having one more thing to do in your busy schedule, that he is worthless or that he never does anything you ask of him.
At the lunch table at work, the other employees are talking about what a drag your boss is. You just so happen to have something juicy about her that you recently witnessed, and have been dying to share, so you spill the beans to everyone.
Each scenario taken on its own seems to be a different issue altogether, but they are in fact, the same thing. If we put into context what the Bible said, each time you say something negative about someone, you are essentially cursing them. For those who do not believe in cursing people, aside from what happens in Disney movies, it is plain and simple, the Bible speaks about it many times. We have all heard the phrase "words have power", and the Bible confirms it, you can either speak life over a situation, yourself, or someone else, or you can speak death. Even New Age believers use affirmations to bring good onto themselves, of course, being Christians we know that "every good and perfect gift" comes from God alone, and not some cosmic destiny, but the action is the same. (Some time I will go into a post about the enemy mimicking Christ, but not today.) So when you speak those things out, you are cursing yourself, your spouse, your boss, your children. It is dangerous ground to tread on.
Cussing is one of those things that can be argued and argued, and I am certain my view is not exactly the same as the view of many others. My stance on it is this, we give a certain air and power to words, and cussing is something that we have given power to. Cussing is usually based out of an angry spirit, and therefore rooted in things that are not of God. Aside from that, it is an agreed upon thing, morally and socially that cussing is wrong for innocent children, hence movie and television ratings, explicit lyric warnings, and many a parent swearing off swearing when they first have a child. Because we have allowed cussing to have this power, it is only right for us to set ourselves apart from it. If we are to be different from the world we live in, we have to set standards that set us apart.
As I said before, if we are no different from the world aside from where we think we are headed in the afterlife, then why are we even trying to proclaim Christ? With that as their example, what conversion could be expected from someone coming to Christ for the first time? Nothing, apparently. When the Bible speaks about getting saved, it tells us that we are "new beings" in Christ, old things are passed away, meaning that we have cut from ourselves (through the grace and might of Christ) the things that made us part of the world. We take on a completely spiritual change that must be reflected in our physical actions, otherwise it is pointless.
Please consider what has been said here. It is so important for us, especially as things gets darker in this world. The lines that have shown a clear distinction between the Church and the world are slowly blurring and fading, and soon there will be no distinction. We must be the identity of Christ to the world or else no one will, and He will return and the world will go down without Him. When we are judged at Heaven's gates, we will be accountable for every action and non-action. We will be accountable for the friends that we never witnessed to. We will be accountable for the times that nonbelievers saw our worldly actions, and it cemented their view on Christians as fakes and hypocrites.
I pray that you will have a deep look at yourself and ask God to reveal to you places where you have fallen short in these ways. My pastor always joked that we "don't forget the words the minute we become Christians". I know that Christ can and will remove those tendencies from you, but it takes both your faith in His action, and your attention to your own weaknesses and triggers.