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- Words have the power to create and the power to destroy. Our words, like God’s, have great power. We can build up others or destroy them with our words (Proverbs 18:21).
- It’s not just about cussing. We can be hurtful, mean, vulgar, and offensive without ever uttering a cuss word (Ephesians 5:4). Discernment is crucial. (See excursus 1 below for more.)
- Do your words fit the occasion? In Matthew 5:22, Jesus used the Aramaic (the language of first-century Israel) cuss word raca in order to tell his listeners not to call others “raca.” On that occasion, the word was appropriate because it was an important teaching moment.
- Do your words give grace to those who hear? This is a tougher question to answer than “Did I say one of the words on the cuss list?” We must learn to live, think, and speak the way Jesus lived, thought, and spoke.
Ephesians 4:29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.