This past Thursday Elliot joined me on my bus ride from through Minneapolis and St. Paul. On the first bus of two, we sat near the back where some individuals were carrying on a lively conversation filled with words I won’t repeat. As I tried my best to distract Elliot from listening, I had a few thoughts regarding the proper use of curse words. I’m not an advocate of cursing, but if you’re going to do it, I would appreciate proper usage. Thus I propose the following general guidelines:
- Don’t curse around children. Don’t let their exposure to obscenities come from you. Pretend life is a movie and apply the rating system to your mouth.
- Use grammatically correct curses. Only use curse words as nouns and verbs. Don’t use them as substitutes for pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and certainly not articles.
- Curse in context. Understand the word’s definition and apply it appropriately. It actually makes no sense to curse when injured, disappointed or facing certain doom.
- Curse sparingly. The impact of such words is lost in mindless repetition.
- Refrain from cursing. Not as a matter of spiritual legalism or vain attempt to earn points for eternity, but as one of the simplest forms of living out your faith. When we guard our mouths, people will notice.
- Replace cursing with blessing. Take it a step beyond refraining and choose to speak life to those around you. There’s enough discouragement in the world already. Encourage those around you.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)