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Say What? The Truth about Bad Language

Have you ever found yourself repeating bad words that you’ve heard on TV or from the mouth of your friends? Some think that it doesn’t really matter what words you use. After all, the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is true, right? Let’s check it out in the Bible and see what God thinks about our choice of words.


Does it really matter if we use bad language?
Yes! The words we use are important. The Bible says, “Dirty stories, foul talk and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead remind each other of God’s goodness and be thankful” (Ephesians 5:4, TLB). Remember that positive words build up others while negative words tear them down.

What difference does my choice of words make? Sometimes I’m just talking with my friends and don’t mean what I say.  It’s in the Bible. “A good man out of the good treasures of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:35-37, NIV). Brain specialists are now determining that the more we say something, the more we believe it. The expressions of words react on our thoughts.

What about using God’s name in a joke or in swearing? Does the Bible say anything about that?
One of the Ten Commandments forbids the misuse of God’s name. “You shall not use the name of Jehovah your God irreverently, nor use it to swear to a falsehood. You will not escape punishment if you do” (Exodus 20:7, TLB).

Shouldn’t I express myself when I’m angry? It’s in the Bible, “You must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (Colossians 3:8, NIV).  It’s okay to inform someone if they have made you angry, but remember that emotions are easy to catch. An angry person can spit out insults and before you know it, everyone in the room is angry. The reverse is also true; be happy and watch others smile too.

What difference does my language make to anyone else? It’s in the Bible, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12, NIV). Choosing good words helps others to choose good words. A good rule to follow is to not say anything that you wouldn’t say in front of Jesus and the angels. After all, they are listening too!