As I watched a network TV news magazine explore the growing use of foul language in America, I was pleased to see that someone had noticed the problem. With TV itself contributing to the growing use of swearing and profanity, it was surprising to see the subject addressed. But when the newsman finished his report, his comments revealed a common opinion. He concluded, “It’s just words. What does it hurt?”

If we base what we do in this world on personal opinions, that conclusion is as good as any other. But we can’t do that. We must use a standard greater than ourselves. For believers in Jesus Christ, that standard is the Bible.

According to God’s Word, and out of love for Him, the words we use should be chosen carefully. First, we must never use God’s name in any way that irreverently addresses Him or disrespectfully speaks of Him (Ex. 20:7). Second, our tongue should be used for blessing others, not cursing them (Jas. 3:10). And third, no corrupt language should pass through our lips (Eph. 4:29).

Why should we avoid bad language? Because God says we should keep our words pure. And it pleases Him when we obey.