Blessing and Cursing

Don’t let this post stop you from reading the previous one I just wrote, which is better and more important.

Not that this one isn’t important, so …

Blessing and Cursing

I remember my surprise the first time I really noticed Proverbs 26:2 as I was reading …

Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight. (NKJV)

A curse without cause shall not alight?

Doesn’t that suggest that a curse with cause shall alight?

Real Blessing and Real Cursing

Remember the story of Balaam? Balak of Moab hired Balaam to curse the Israelites.

Balak was scared of Israel. He hired Balaam because he believed that Balaam’s curse would really happen. It would hinder the Israelites.

In other words, Balak—and Balaam who accepted his employ—believed that a curse would cause real world damage.

Remember Jacob and Esau?

Jacob sneaked into Isaac’s tent to steal Esau’s blessing, which was his by right because Esau sold it to him for a bowl of lentils.

When Esau came later, seeking a blessing, Isaac said …

Behold, I have made him your ruler, and I have given him all his relatives as servants. I have sustained him with corn and wine. What shall I do for you now, my son? (Gen. 27:37)

It’s apparent, isn’t it, that Isaac believed his blessing had power. He did not talk about wishing something were so. He talked about "making him" and "giving him" and "sustaining him."

No wonder the Scripture says death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21).

Dealing with Curses

I believe the Bible is correct. I believe blessing and cursing carry power, though that power varies from person to person depending on their faith and sincerity.

However, the Scriptures do not only talk about the power of blessing and cursing. They talk also of the power of those who follow God …

A great example is Balaam, whom we have mentioned.

Balaam obviously knew the power of cursing, or he would never have accepted Balak’s offer. Yet, when it came time to curse Israel, he was unable to. He excused himself to Balak with, "How shall I curse those whom God has not cursed?" (Numbers 23:8)

Also, as we saw in the verse that begins this post, Proverbs claims that a curse without cause shall not alight.

Finally, the Scriptures say repeatedly to those who inherit the promises of Abraham, "I will curse those who curse you."

Cursing Versus Cussing

In modern times we have turned do not curse into do not cuss.

Have you ever wondered why damn and hell are cuss words?

They are cuss words because they were originally curse words. People would tell other people, "God damn you," as in, "May God condemn you."

Similarly, "Go to hell" was a curse that at one time people meant.

Cursing someone to be condemned by God and to go to hell are things the Bible forbids to Christians. We are told to bless and not curse by Paul and to bless even those who curse us by Jesus himself?

Why should we worry? If we are under God’s blessing, how can a mere man curse us? If we give no cause, then a curse should not alight.

Worse, those who curse us face being cursed by God. Thus, it is a matter of kindness to bless in return so that they are not damned by God.

Of course, we have added a lot of other cuss words that are not curse words since cursing became cussing. I won’t print any of them on my blog, of course.


This section is completely and aside. It adds nothing to what’s above, but it’s related, and I thought you’d be interested in this.

The Scriptures say nothing about cussing because cussing wasn’t invented back when the Scriptures were written. They still knew about cursing. They didn’t know there were words you shouldn’t say just because they have 4 letters in them.

That doesn’t mean we should cuss.

The Scriptures do forbid us "filthiness, silly talk, and jesting" (Eph. 5:3).

I don’t believe that means never telling a joke. If it does, then you might as well curse me with going to hell because I’m definitely on my way straight there.

I think that verse is talking about being crude and silly. Christians are told to be sensible and responsible (my interpretation of sober and grave, which I think can be justified by the Greek words).

No one wants to lean upon or trust a crude or silly person.

An example of what I think the Scriptures are talking about with jesting is Prov. 26:18-19: "Like a madman throwing firebrands, arrows and death, so is the one who deceives his neighbor and then says, ‘I was just joking.’"

Cussing is a sign of a weak intellect. By that I don’t mean people who cuss aren’t smart. I mean they’re lazy, indifferent to the feelings of others, uncontrolled, and offensive. In other words, they’re wimpy about putting effort into their lives and relationships.

Most cussing can be replaced by very effective adjectives, and overcoming a bit of laziness will allow us to communicate our feelings more fully, more accurately, and with respect.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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2 Responses to Blessing and Cursing

  1. britt says:

    per your aside …

    I remember when I was a young kid and was, um, exploring the different ways to say cuss words I knew about and driving my very Christian and wholesome mother crazy.

    My dad didn't wash my mouth out with soap or yell at me. He just sat me down and said, "Cussing is for lazy people who can't think of their own way to say something or express themselves so they use the same words as everyone else to do it." As a young kid who loved to read and write, that was the perfect thing to say. I made it a point to find more creative ways to say things instead of cussing.


    • shammahbn says:

      Lol. It's what my parents told me, too.

      Sorry it took a day to approve this. I'm trying a new plugin for comments, and I like the way it works, but it's not automatically approving after the first approval. It's set to do that, but apparently it's not doing it.

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