Matthew 5 : 33-37 KJV
33. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths.
34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
35. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Swearing in Times of Old
Of old it had been forbidden to swear or take oaths except in solemn covenant before the Lord; but in the gospel dispensation the Lord forbade that men swear at all; and the heinousness of wanton oaths was expounded. Grievously sinful indeed it was and is to swear by heaven, which is the abode of God; or by earth, which is His creation and by Him called His footstool; or by Jerusalem, which was regarded by those who swore as the city of the great King; or by one’s own head, which is part of the body God has created. Moderation in speech, decision and simplicity were enjoined, to the exclusion of expletives, profanity and oaths. –James E. Talmage – Jesus the Christ, Chapter 17
In my reading of the Saviors directive on swearing, I do not believe he is referring to profanity or cussing. However, that does not relieve us by implying that inappropriate language is okay. It most certainly is not. If we engage in it, we should reassess our speech and repent.
Profanity is disrespectful. Profanity shows contempt. Profanity is a display of lacking cleanliness. And most of all, we should never profane the use of God and the name Jesus Christ – which is sin per the Ten Commandments.
As we strive to be a light unto the world, displaying profane language causes the light shines less brightly. People who are drawn unto Christ are drawn unto cleanliness. Let our speech be pure that we may shine the light of Christ brightly.