Are “four-letter words” really all that bad?
Is it okay for Christians to cuss?
Is there a set list of words to be avoided?
John Piper answers these questions and more in this edition of Ask Pastor John.
To summarize, here are two biblical categories of language that Piper believes Christians should avoid:
1. Language that belittles big, weighty, and glorious realities and speaking as though they were not important (God, Jesus Christ, damn, hell).
2. Language that is corrupt, unseemly, inappropriate, dishonorable, disgraceful, rude, crude, foolish and filthy (1 Corinthians 13:4-5; Ephesians 4:29; 5:4).
Piper also notes that Paul teaches that those who speak in this way have a heart issue. Something is out of whack. If you are about to cuss or speak unseemly, ask yourself if you are dissatisfied. The presence of this kind of speech is the result of an absence of overflowing gratitude and happiness in Jesus. Thankfulness to God guards the heart against foul language.
Finally, Piper exhorts that a good question to think through: Is what you are about to say make Christ more beautiful in the eyes of those around you? This should be your marker when you smash your thumb or are with your friends.
Be aware in the culture that you live not to offend what is considered rude. – John Piper
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).