Is it sinful to swear?

I admit I curse. A lot. When I was growing up, every other word my dad said was the “F” word. It didn’t even affect me hearing it. I don’t swear as much as him, but I have a habit of it. However I wonder, is it wrong? I remember my mother saying that swear words were bad because they hurt people’s feelings. But what if they’re not used as insults? Think about the word stupid. If you call someone stupid, then that’s obviously wrong. But what if you burn your hand on the stove, and you say “I burnt my hand on the stupid stove”. Is that wrong? Similarly, would it be wrong to use swear words that way? I know that society has made swearing seem wrong, but I don’t listen to society. I listen to God.

I would say the quick answer is yes. Swearing or insulting something is not good for you.

If you want some bible passage I will post some. Make sure to pay attention to the last one

Colossians 3:8 ESV / 455 helpful votes

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV / 378 helpful votes

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.

Matthew 15:10-11 ESV / 338 helpful votes

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

James 3:10 ESV / 254 helpful votes

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

Matthew 12:36-37 ESV / 236 helpful votes

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

These are what come to mind for me.

Ephesians 4:29 No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

Colossians 3:8But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.*

Just food for thought. :slight_smile:

But what exactly is foul language? In England, isn’t “bloody” a swear word? But everywhere else, it isn’t. I guess I’m confused because are these “Swear words” foul? What makes them foul if they’re not insults? Does society decide?

See the link below which is an article called Why bad language is a sin by Fr William Saunder

catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0302.html

To work out whether a word is appropriate or not, I would suggest checking the definition in a couple of online dictionary’s e.g. the definition of the F word is “Have sexual intercourse with (someone)”. Look for the origin, not the changed version which basically ignores the real meaning and gives the green light to insult people and God.

In my book using a Euphemism doesn’t detract from the original meaning, it is still using language that is either profane, blasphemy, rude or insulting. The person hearing it knows exactly what is intended. Words can and do hurt. Plus I think that using bad language opens me up to being labelled a hypocrite and will put people off the church.

I now have to be honest, as an imperfect human being I do let the odd word slip out or enter my head and I ask for God’s forgiveness and help.

Well, there is a difference between using the f word and swearing. The first is called vulgarity, not swearing. Swearing involves calling on God to damn/curse someone–taking God’s name in vain. Vulgarity is using bad language. Vulgarity is usually a venial sin, but swearing can be mortal if done deliberately, knowing what it is and what is meant by using it.

The best thing to do is wean ourselves off using such language by using some softer word or we can go “cold turkey.” But if using bad language is habitual, it may be harder to stop than that. In that case doing spiritual exercises instead might help. Instead of using a bad word, say something like, “Mary help me” or “Jesus have mercy on me.” Ask God for help to stop doing it and talk to your confessor about it. He will have some good suggestions, I’m sure. :slight_smile:

I believe it is. First of all, using God’s name in vain is breaking one of the 10 commandments. The name of God, is God, Jesus, Christ. But what about Jeeze Louise? Yes, that’s also wrong. I mean who are you trying to fool,another person or God? You can’t fool God. He knows Jeeze Louise is another way of saying Jesus Christ in vain. So is writing OMG. You’re not fooling God. The names of God and Jesus Christ shouldn’t come out of you unless you’re speaking of them. They are live living beings, and they hear you.

Now for foul language. I think we should all know what foul language is. It’s the F word, but also the S word. And unless you’re talking of the hell created for the devil, hell is a bad word too. We find this in the letter St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians chapter 4 verse 29. Most Bibles translate it like this:

" Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear."

I would say if you have any doubt of a particular word or phase, consider if you were speaking to a priest, or God Himself. Would you say it to God, if not, it’s foul, evil talk. If you still don’t know, ask and 1 of us will tell you. I’m kinda old, so I know these things. But you may be very young and not know, especially with the father you had. It can take some years to clean up your speech. That’s alright, God has patience. But work on it, and someday foul language won’t be part of your vocabulary.

When I was teaching my daughter about not swearing, I was pretty laid back about it. The only thing she ever got in trouble for saying was “God” when she wasn’t speaking to him. That’s my standard. Anything else, I told her that while not a sin, certainly didn’t sound very ladylike. For a while when she was a pre-schooler, she used to say “rattlesnakes” when she was frustrated by something. I thought it was sorta cute. I don’t like to hear the F word out of anyone’s mouth, but am guilty of using it myself, so I can’t say a whole lot.

Thank you for that great link. What a great resource at CERC for learning and faith formation!

:blessyou:

It can be noted if one looks to say moralists who liked in the past to make lots of distinctions --they would rather distinguish between blasphemy (and other grave offenses) and Profanity /disrespectful use of the Holy name in anger etc that is not blasphemy --not say out of contempt for God or directed at God… that such in itself --while certainly NOT to be done (we are Christians --we love and reverence the Holy Name of Jesus etc) -it is venial.

Again let us praise and bless the Holy Name!

Praised be Jesus Christ of Nazareth --now and forever!

It can be noted if one looks to say moralists who liked in the past to make lots of distinctions --they would rather distinguish between blasphemy (and other grave offenses) and Profanity /disrespectful use of the Holy name in anger etc that is not blasphemy --not say out of contempt for God or directed at God… that such in itself --while certainly NOT to be done (we are Christians --we love and reverence the Holy Name of Jesus etc-as Paul says --let no evil talk come from your mouths) - is ordinarily venial.

Again let us praise and bless the Holy Name!

Praised be Jesus Christ of Nazareth --now and forever!

IMO the reason bad words are bad is because they are overly emphatic and are likely to lead to loss of emotional stability. “Stupid” is not a bad word, though, but I think the same principle applies to it. Unless used in a joking manner, I think it should be reserved for the most literal and applicable usage.

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