YOUNG PEOPLE ASK
Is Cursing Really That Bad?
“I’m so used to hearing profanity that it doesn’t faze me anymore. It seems normal.”—Christopher, 17.
“When I was younger, I cursed a lot. It was a very easy habit to pick up and a very difficult one to break.”—Rebecca, 19.
How are you affected when you hear others curse?
I don’t even notice it—it sounds normal to me.
It bothers me somewhat—but I just accept it.
I find it offensive—I just can’t get used to it.
How often do you curse?
In your opinion, how important is the issue of foul language?
Why it matters
Do you view cursing as a serious matter? ‘Not really,’ you might say. ‘After all, there are bigger problems in the world to worry about. Besides, everybody curses!’ Is that really true?
Believe it or not, there are many people who refrain from using bad language. And they know a few things that others don’t know. For example:
Cursing isn’t just about words. Your speech reveals what is going on inside you. Using foul language, then, could indicate that you are insensitive to the feelings of others. Is that the kind of person you really are?
The Bible says: “Whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart.”—Matthew 15:18.
Cursing can cause others to think negatively of you. The book Cuss Control says: “The way we speak can determine who our friends will be, the amount of respect we will get from our families and coworkers, the quality of our relationships, how influential we will be, whether we get the job or the promotion, and how strangers respond to us.” It also says: “Ask yourself if your relationships could, perchance, be even better if you didn’t swear.”
The Bible says: “Put away . . . abusive speech.”—Ephesians 4:31.
Swearing doesn’t make you sound as cool as you might think. In his book How Rude! Dr. Alex Packer states: “People who swear all the time are tiresome to listen to.” He adds that a profanity-filled vocabulary “doesn’t allow for the expression of much insight, wit, intelligence, or empathy. If your speech is lazy, vague, and unimaginative, your mind is sure to follow.”
The Bible says: “Let a rotten word not come out of your mouth.”—Ephesians 4:29.
What you can do
Set a goal. Why not try to eliminate bad language in one month or less? You could track your progress on a chart or a calendar. To stick to your resolve, however, you may need to take further steps. For example:
Avoid entertainment that floods your brain with bad language. The Bible says: “Bad associations corrupt good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33, footnote) “Associations” include not only people but entertainment—the movies you watch, the video games you play, and the music you listen to. Kenneth, 17, says: “It’s easy to sing along with a song you like and totally ignore the fact that it has cursing—just because it has a good beat.”
Show yourself to be mature. Some people use profanity because they think it makes them sound like an adult. Really, the opposite is true. Mature people “have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong,” says the Bible. (Hebrews 5:14) They don’t lower their standards just to “impress” others.
Really, bad language only pollutes the mind (and the air) with indecent thoughts. There are too many of those in the world already! “Don’t add to the slop,” recommends Cuss Control. “Do your part to clean up the verbal environment. You will feel better about yourself, and other people will feel better about you, too.”