I heard a teenager from a Christian family declare, “My mom doesn’t think swear words are bad.” He then indicated which words she found acceptable—words that have long been considered inappropriate.

Society’s standard of language has declined in recent years, but we don’t have to decline with it. As we strive to be “very careful . . . how [we] live” (Eph. 5:15 niv), we should think about how to honor God with our words.

We please the Lord with our tongue when we show discernment. “He who restrains his lips is wise,” Proverbs 10:19 reminds us. When we do speak, we are to filter the words that escape our lips: “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (21:23).

It is important to use kind, positive words—even to address tough subjects. “A harsh word stirs up anger,” but “the tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly” (Prov. 15:1-2).

Finally, avoid words that reflect poorly on who we are as God’s children. Paul’s admonition to “let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth” (Eph. 4:29) sets a strong standard for the righteous use of words.

To honor God in each part of life, use words that are pleasing and acceptable to a holy God.