Our moral superstitions about cussing can keep us from reaching people.
Some people are so offended by hearing cussing they refuse to even "be around it." People refuse to buy movies that have cussing in them. People even walk out of theaters when someone cusses in a movie. People even walk away from other people who start cussing. People even confront others, "Please don't cuss around me!"
My parents love to watch movies. And i remember my mother often saying, "That movie would've been just as good without all the cussing in it." i used to heartily agree and say it myself when reviewing films. But now i think i missed the point.
Yeah, i'm sure i would've thought the movie was just as good. But the fact is a lot of people cuss. And a lot of people hear a lot of other people cuss--people around them, close to them, even related to them, even their best friends.
While cussing may sound offensive to you or me, the fact is there are a great many people for whom this language is normal. There are even people who are so familiar with these words, that they find it easier to express themselves using them than not (even though they're perfectly intelligent enough to think of other words to say).
What does my enforcement of cussing taboos say to them? If i say, "Don't cuss around me," what have i communicated to someone? Perhaps, "you're too offensive for me to listen to." If i get up and leave, what does that say? Perhaps, "you're too offensive for me to spend time with, love, or pay attention to." Do you really think Jesus would get up and walk away from that person? Do you really think Jesus would say "stop speaking to me in your own way"? Maybe i'm wrong, but i definitely see the Pharisees acting this way but not Jesus. The Pharisees wouldn't be around or spend time with people they thought of as "sinners." Yet these are the very people Jesus spent a great deal of His time with.
If we're so offended by cussing that we have to walk away from or hush people, how are we even going to talk to people we're supposed to be trying to reach? Don't you hope people would choose to overlook something in you in order to love you and try to reach you if you needed it? That's certainly what Jesus did for us all. If Jesus felt He had to leave or stop people from communicating every time He detected something offensive, where would we be now? In what state would that leave us?
Any set of rules that leads to us failing to reach people, failing to love people, and failing to be Christ-like to people cannot possibly be a good ethical strategy.