Q. Recently I have found that a lot of people, who I know are Christians, still swear, and it really really bugs me. I want to tell them that it is an sin to swear. How should I go about this?
A. In Ephesians 4:29 Paul said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
This includes coarse language, dirty jokes, racial epithets and other comments that would be considered derogatory, rude, or insensitive. But while these are examples of speech that’s not appropriate for believers, they are not necessarily sins.
The term “swearing” comes from the practice of invoking a curse on someone or something using the name of God, such as asking God to damn (condemn) the person or thing. This is a violation of the commandment against taking the name of the Lord in vain and is a sin (Exodus 20:7).
If a person is using coarse language in normal conversation, you can point to Ephesians 4:29 and say that such talk is not appropriate for a believer. But if he or she uses God’s name to condemn someone in anger, you can say it’s a violation of the 3rd commandment to do so, and that makes it a sin.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45)