I’ve been a Christian since October 1992, and I remember one of the hardest things that I had to stop doing was cursing. Every other word out of my mouth was filled with colorful phrases and epitaphs. I used to have the excuse that I listened to hip-hop, gangsta rap, and most of my friends were immersed in hip-hop culture. Though there may be some validity to that, the real issues is that I simply didn’t care how I spoke, or what people thought of me until I read 1 Timothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” This scripture alone gave me reason to be mindful of those around me. How would I make an impact on those around me when the language I used what still worldly and perverse? I wouldn’t.
Fast forward 28 years later and thought profanity is not common in my vernacular, there are many times that I allow the floodgates of curses to come out of my mouth. Most of the time I’m by myself sitting in traffic, yet there have been times that I’ve been around those closest to me when I’ll let something slip out because of a reaction to something, or I get upset. To my shame, I tarnished how people perceived me, and though they may not say it, I know I lose the respect of those close to me that as a shepherd, I should be leading and taking care of.
That’s the whole reason I decided to do something about it. Today I felt the need to study out praises and curses simply because I’ve felt more of the latter in my lifestyle and speech. Below is a small handful of scriptures that I thought would get me started on memorizing.
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth”
Colossians 3:8 “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
Matthew 12:36-37 “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
James 3:10 “From the same mouth comes praises and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be.”
Matthew 15:10 “And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the tmouth; this defiles a person”.
James 1:26 “If anyone things he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
Below is a list of 10 things that you can do to help curb profanity from your lips.
Understanding the power of words. If God can speak life into our bones like he did with Adam, we need to see the power in words. Why if cussing called cursing anyway? Because when we use profanity, we’re calling down curses on someone else.
Pray Before You Say Anything. If more impure things are coming out of our mouths then righteous, then we need to increase our prayer life. Instead of cursing, replace the word with spiritual phrases instead to keep us mindful on holiness.
Find Out Where Your Anger Is Coming From and Resolve It. Profanity is a sign of pent up anger that is coming out verbally instead of in action. There’s no better way to stop then to resolve the root issue of the problem. What exactly was the reason that I cursed? Does it come from depression? Short temper? Does it elevate in certain conditions or around certain people? Identify the specific areas that trigger cussing and “throw off anything that hinders”.
Memorize Scripture About Upright Speech. This is a no brainer. All the scriptures listed above are just a few to help “re-format” your mind and thought process about profanity.
Fill Your Mind With Holy Things. Examine how the fruits of the Spirit are working in my life. Are they as ripe as they need to be? Is my “vine” lacking anything? Is it time that I changed my mindset to more Godly things?
Start a Swear Jar. There need to be consequences to my actions. Put a dollar into a swear jar every time something nasty comes out of your mouth. It will add up, and eventually, you’ll benefit from stopping. Then give that money to benevolence or special missions.
Monitor What You Watch and Listen To. Garbage in, garbage out. Foul language pervades most forms of entertainment. Even movies with PG ratings
Give Up You Your Right To Be Right. What we believe often comes out in words and deeds. When we put others before ourselves, we forfeit the right to be right and instead opt to put our relationship with God first. When we put God first it means we become more like God through our selflessness. In turn, we become more humble and gentle and will not lean on harsh words and prayerfully, more gentle words will come forward.
Count Your Blessings. Or just count. Swearing often happens when we speak before we think. The goal here is to reduce the amount of speaking and more time to think. When something happens that causes us to want to cuss, start counting. To 10, 20 or 30. However long it takes to allow time for us to not “lash out”. Not only will this help to reduce the foul language that comes out of our mouth, but it will also develop good habits of respect and love towards others, even if you don’t agree with them.
Consider Who We Are Hurting. Like James tells us that the tongue is like a spark that can burn an entire forest, so too do our words have the same impact on others around us. Many people relate profanity to those who are uneducated, impatient, suffer with anger issues, and more and when we use improper language, it impacts those around us to see us in a different perspective. Not to mention that we may be hurting the ones closest to us.
For many of us, eliminating words or phrases from out vocabulary may seem like a daunting task, and its not an easy one. We’ve conditioned ourselves over time to think, speak and react a certain way and only through the Word and prayer will we ever be able to conquer the demon of profanity in our lives. Don’t think of this as a sprint. As with all conditioning it will take some time, but it all starts with simply making a decision to rid ourselves of such moral filth.