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Profane and Vain Babblings: Part 4
David’s description of the “wicked” person includes this pertinent observation: “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression” (Psalm 10:7). David probably could remember how Shemei cursed as he attempted to stone the king (2 Samuel 16:7). The deceitful person “clothed himself with cursing as with his garment” (Psalm 119:18). James wrote: “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh” (3:10-12). Christians have no business pronouncing curses. We cannot presume to condemn someone to eternal punishment—that’s not our business. After people die, they will approach the judgment seat of Christ, not the judgment seat of Caleb (see Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Furthermore, lost people will disbelieve that we are Christians if they hear us cursing. “Do not curse the king, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the air may carry your voice, and a bird in flight may tell the matter” (Ecclesiastes 10:20). It will be difficult (nearly impossible!) to teach someone the truth about Christ if he heard you curse just moments before.
Someone may say “I don’t mean to curse. It’s just a habit. I can’t help it.” Who is foolish enough to believe that a sinful action becomes righteous when it becomes habitual? Simply because you do an action often does not make it less offensive to the Lord (see Hebrews 10:25). Furthermore, habits can be broken. Interestingly, many teens who are in the habit of cursing are able, somehow, to summon the strength to refrain from cursing while in the presence of their preachers and elders. We must delete any curse words from our vocabulary. We can refrain from cursing for so long that it no longer even occurs to us to say such words. Quite frankly we can make it a habit not to curse.
One of the most precious biblical portraits of repentance is the occasion on which Peter left the house of the high priest to weep bitterly, having denied the Lord three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18). There were many reasons for Peter’s tears, but undoubtedly one of the reasons he cried was because of the curses he uttered just moments before. We can be certain that Peter gave up cursing—he became one of the great leaders of the early church (see Acts 2, 10-11)! We cannot be spiritual leaders if we are unwilling to forsake sinful “habits” such as cursing. Let’s develop godly habits (Ezra 3:4; Daniel 6:5-10; Malachi 3:16; Luke 4:16).