I read this article in Relevant Magazine last week, and it really annoyed me. The article addresses the topic of Christians and cussing. I understand that we as Christians should hold a higher standard for ourselves, but I think this article really misses the point of what the Bible says about cussing.
The problem with using "bad words" is not the words themselves. When the Bible was written, there was no such thing as English. There was no F-word, or S-word. The problem with choosing to use these words is not the words themselves, but the context in which you use them. It's not what you say that is the problem, it's where your heart is when you say it.
But (most) Christians don't put the focus on the right thing in this situation, so they substitute words. They say things like "FUDGE!" or "You're a jerk!" because those don't include "swear words."
Except that they do. Just because you didn't say the THE F-word doesn't mean you weren't implying it's usage. Saying "Fudge!" out of anger is worse than saying the F-word out of jest.
The worst part of this article is that the author decides that "a well-placed swear word might be appropriate for a Christian when no other word will get across an idea or express a certain level of emotion/emphasis." He then goes on to give examples of some Christian artists that have used curse words in their songs before and excuses them by saying, "there is definitely a place and a time for a well-placed cuss word. But it has to be used sparingly and with a real meaningful purpose behind it."
This guy doesn't get what the Bible says about cussing. He even references James 3:1-12 as proof of his position. James is saying that the meaning behind your words is what matters. "Cursing" doesn't necessarily mean saying no-no words, it means purposely inflicting harm with your words; allowing your anger to speak.
I've always been under the impression that words are only as powerful as the heart behind them. If somebody is joking around and curses, I don't think much of it. In that situation, it's just another word. But when I'm walking around downtown and I see a preacher standing on the corner saying, "God hates you because of your sin and you're going to burn in hell forever," I am stunned. That's what cursing is. It doesn't matter what words you use to do it, but what you mean when you say them. Those words are meant to inflict pain or hatred upon someone. THAT is what the Bible says is cussing.
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness." -James 1:9
It's about time for us to take a Biblical stance on cursing, not a religious one. It's about time for us to worry more about being holy and not just appearing so.
(I love Relevant magazine and value their willingness to publish a variety of positions. My response to this article in no way reflects my feelings for their publication.)