Sometimes when we become upset, our first inclination is to say or yell something in response to what has upset us. If something negative happens to us, it might feel natural to want to say something negative in response. Saying a bad word or phrase might even make us feel better at that moment in time. We know that in Exodus 20:7 we are told not to misuse the name of the LORD our God, but what does the Bible teach about swearing and profanity?
Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Here we are told that we should not let any filthy language come from our lips. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Here again we have scripture telling us that we should not let negative or offensive talk come out of our mouths. We are to build one another up the best we can. Swear words are usually demeaning or hurtful, and we should take care not to offend those around us. Even if no one is around us to hear, swear words are usually the dirtiest and filthiest words of all. Why should we fill our mouths with such language? It doesn’t help any situation in the long run and will probably even make us feel worse in the end. Even if we try to only swear while alone, chances are we will make the mistake of swearing in public at some point because we’ve already made it a habit to swear when we’re on our own.
Scripture tells us that we should take care not to stumble those around us. 1 Corinthians 10:23,24 says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” 1 Cor. 10:31, 32 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” It is good practice to think about those around us and what will be helpful to them. We should be building one another up instead of offending one another, for when we help our neighbor, we are putting their needs before our own and making their life easier. “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2