Jefferson Bethke: Is Swearing a Sin?

Author and YouTube star Jefferson Bethke | (Photo: Courtesy of McClure Muntsinger PR)

The Bible emphasizes the true weight of words and how they serve as a reflection of ourselves and God, says evangelical speaker Jefferson Bethke.

In his "Monday Message" posted to YouTube, Bethke discusses the gravity our words carry and answers the question: "Is swearing a sin?"

The answer to this question may not be as "black and white" as it first seems, Bethke says, although Christians can look to the Bible for the answer as it has "a ton to say about our speech, our words, our mouth."

Bethke points to James 3 which states that the same mouth Christians use to praise God is the same mouth used to mock or gossip about others.

"When we make fun of someone, or reap pain, or gossip, or damage upon them, we are actually assaulting our Creator," Bethke argues.

He goes on to explain that a Christian doesn't have to say a traditional "curse word" to speak out against their Creator, but this verse applies to anyone who partakes in gossip or mockery of their fellow man.

While hurtful words damage a Christian's relationship with God, they also make a bad impression on non-Christians. Followers of Christ have a responsibility to speak lovingly so they may represent what it means to be a real Christian, Bethke says.

As followers of Jesus, it's not a matter of "have we said this word today or not said that word, but it's actually are our words building up other people at every moment?" Bethke questions.

The author of Jesus Is Greater Than Religion notes that language is a "reflection of what's going on in our hearts," and therefore a good barometer for one's relationship with God can be answered with the question: "How do you speak to or how do you treat the people that seem to do nothing for you?"

The evangelical leader adds that when he experiences moments of frustration and angst, the words that come out of his mouth ultimately reveal "what [he's] truly made of" and whether he has chosen to build someone up or tear them down.

Bethke incorporates his message into pop culture, arguing that the words Christians write online are just as weighted as the words that come out of their mouth, quoting Ephesians 4:29 that states: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths."

"Christians must not only assess the negative words that come out of their mouths, but rather every word," the religious leader suggests.

Bethke ends his talk by encouraging Christians to allow only words that "build up, encourage, [and] love" to come out of their mouths.

Ultimately, the things Christians say should "give grace to those who hear," Bethke concludes, saying that words can serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy because they have "the power to pull us into the future, to pull us into our destinty, to pull us into our identity."

Bethke is an author and inspirational speaker who lives with his wife, Alyssa, and daughter in Hawaii.

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