Christians are taught that cursing is bad and we shouldn’t do it, but curses come out every hour of every day for most. You might say “not me,’ but are you sure?
Growing up in the mid-west and having parents that watched out over me, I would hear my mom say “stop your cussin'” after I opened my mouth. Now, I didn’t do this often, but often enough. You might have heard the word said differently depending upon your upbringing and region. “Cussing”, “swearing”, “vulgarities”, and the like seem like they are the same thing, especially when they are used for linguistic bad behavior. As a Christian, we are taught not to talk a certain way, which includes “cursing”, “vulgarities”, and topping the charts “taking the Lord’s Name in vain.”
But are they all the same thing? The answer is “no.” Let’s break it down and see whether, as a Christian, you’ve heard cursing come out of your or others mouth(s).
This is an easy one and includes so many words. S**t, f**k, etc. (you get the idea) are words that are..well, vulgar. Using words like this defiles a Christian on a spiritual level to a degree that if any Christian could actually see what is happening in the world of the spirit when he/she uses vulgarity (corse language – Ephesians 5:4), they would never do it again – trust me. Switching out the original words for “clean substitutes” really doesn’t change things as the heart/motive is still there and everyone knows what you mean like the video below shows.
So, while vulgarities are bad and defile a Christian, they are not cursing.
Taking the Lord’s Name in vain
It’s a commandment, number 3 on the list, and it’s one that I’ve broken on very rare occasions being a Christian. Taking God’s Name in vain is – in a nutshell – taking the holiness out of His Name for situations that are beneath God’s Glory. R.C Sproul said it best:
“So important is the name of God that it is guarded solemnly in the Ten Commandments by a prohibition on taking His name in vain (Ex. 20:7). Violation of this law is a capital offense: “Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 24:16). Leviticus cites a variety of examples of what such misuse of God’s name includes: offering children to Molech (18:21), swearing falsely (19:12), and priests’ shaving the edge of their beards (21:5–6). The sheer variety of infringements of the command shows that taking the Lord’s name in vain involves not merely speaking it badly, but includes living it wrongly.
In his study of the Ten Commandments, the famous Puritan Thomas Watson cites twelve ways in which we take God’s name in vain. Among them are using God’s name irreverently, professing His name but not living according to our profession, worshiping Him externally but not in heart, misusing His Word, falsifying our promises, and speaking without care for the honor of God. It is a sobering analysis, intended not to micromanage our behavior but to show us how the third commandment permeates the whole of life.” ~R.C. Sproul’s Blog – What Does it Mean to Take the Lord’s Name in Vain? – June 01, 2016 02:00. (2016). Goodreads.com. Retrieved 9 March 2019, from https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/12925029-what-does-it-mean-to-take-the-lord-s-name-in-vain
God doesn’t want us to defile His name with our talk, nor our actions. While God cannot be defiled by things we do, we can drag His name through the mud of out talk. Think of it like this, would you use the name of someone that you love/care about as a less-than-honorable way with your tongue?
While God’s Name can be used IN a curse, it’s not cursing. Moving on…
Cursing, the real deal
To get a real view on what cursing is, I’ll cite two clearcut examples from the Bible.
“Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the LORD who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.””
Joshua 6:26 NKJV
“And he goeth up thence to Beth-El, and he is going up in the way, and little youths have come out from the city, and scoff at him, and say to him, ‘Go up, bald-head! go up, baldhead!’ And he looketh behind him, and seeth them, and declareth them vile in the name of Jehovah, and two bears come out of the forest, and rend of them forty and two lads.”
2 Kings 2:23-24 YLT1898
The two examples show an actual curse happening. Nowhere is God’s Name being used in vain nor are any vulgarities being utilized. We see a pronouncement of a “condition” being set upon a person and place. Later, we would see the fulfillment of Joshua’s curse many years later:
“In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the LORD, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.”
I Kings 16:34 NKJV
There are many movies that show a curse being applied to a person/place. Often, it is used in horror movies where the person applying the curse is a witch, gypsy, or some other dark, sinister person (“Thinner” comes to mind).
It’s in this area of an actual curse that Christians are quite proficient, and it’s in this area that we sabotage the work of Jesus Christ.
What Jesus gave us
`The thief doth not come, except that he may steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and may have [it] abundantly.” ~John 10:10 YLT88
Jesus’ atoning work on the cross not only gave us reconciliation between us and our Heavenly Father, it also gave us access to an abundant life in the here and now.
“So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” ~Mark 10:29-31
This is what Jesus gave us, an abundant life, along with persecutions – but many of those so-called persecutions come from our own lips through our continual cursing.
So, what is a “Christian curse?”
“Man, I’m always tired,” “I’ll never see that kind of money,” “You know, I’m always sick around this time of year,” “You know, Tim (example name) is always having problems,” etc. are but a drop in the ocean of “Christian cursing” that I’ve heard in my short time on this planet. Yes, these types of curses are very prevalent, more prevalent than prayer and everyone, including myself, has uttered them not only on ourselves but on others as well as our respective church(s). You may not agree with this, but if you check the examples at the beginning of this section with the Biblical examples I show with regard to Joshua & Elisha, they are the same and they are just as potent.
Christian cursing can be something as small as “I’ll never learn this in time” to “I’m afraid I might get cancer.” It’s so common that it could be considered a second language from many in the pews. Many brothers and sisters deny this truth – that they do indeed curse – that they’ll fight this point, curing all the way. Christian cursing may not happen all at once, but given time, it will happen.
Ok, I curse, what can I do about it?
The first thing to do is have a desire to change. Yeah, it sounds like a bad Hallmark movie line, but it’s the truth. The desire to change is step one. The second is understanding what constitutes a curse. Here are some very general examples:
- Predicting the worse about yourself. Usually having “never” & “always” is an indicator of a “curse-in-motion”
- Predicting the worse about others. Usually saying “they’ll never…” or “they always seem to….” and the like.
Usually, curing speaks to the worst about something, basically wishing that something bad would happen. Here’s an example:
“Wow! I’m just so tired all the time.”
Take out the “wow” and you get:
“I’m just so tired all the time.”
Now imagine a demon or something/someone standing in front of you, pointing a finger and yelling:
“YOU ARE TIRED ALL THE TIME!“
I will bet you that in the 3rd example, you thought to yourself “yeah, that sounds more like a curse to me”, and you would be right. The first example was the exact same thing, only “nicer.”
Each and every day, I make it a point to monitor what comes out of my mouth. If a curse comes out about myself (condition, either present or future) or others, I relinquish it by saying “that’s not true” and substitute it with memorized scripture that counters it. Keep in mind that if I say “I’m tired all the time”, it’s not going to immediately take effect, but it will and sooner than you think. Constant monitoring, until you don’t curse yourself or others with your mouth, is highly important to living that abundant life that Jesus sacrificed Himself for on the cross.
Now, when others curse me, well, you don’t want to be around me for that.
They don’t mean to do it, but many do, and I won’t stand for it. When it comes to people I love/care about that curse me unwillingly, I’ll deflect it with scripture. If they persist, that’s when the gloves come off. It’s like they try to convince me and hammer me with curses to try and make it stick. I’ll say to them, and quite bluntly “you’d better stop cursing me or we’ll have a very big problem.” I take others curing me very seriously, not with fear, but because I won’t have it. Think of it like this, if a person insisted on you taking a big bag of dog crap that’s still warm and mushy, you would “insist” on not taking it.
Cursing is not vulgarity and not taking the Lord’s Name in vain, although they can be used together. Cursing is not something that happens in spooky movies, uttered by gypsies and the like. Cursing is not something that only happened in the Old Testament. Cursing is what is going on in Christian homes, worship, churches and in the day-to-day lives of almost every single Christian today. Put a stop to it and counter curses with promises that God has shown in His Holy Word. If you want to find out what God has promised to you, read my post: 66 Confessions That Every Christian Can Make.