It’s no secret that society has become more tolerant of bad language. You hear it on the radio, see it in movies, and read it in books. Even people who consider themselves religious use words that would make a sailor blush.

But does that mean it’s okay to use bad language? And what does God have to say about it?

The bible is clear that we are to watch our tongues. Our words are just as important to God as our actions. Bad language can take away from the beauty and sanctity of prayer and worship. You may not mean any harm, but using profanity around others can be seen as disrespectful. It’s even worse if you utter such words with the intention to hurt, malign, or demean others. Swearing can also be addictive and what goes out our mouth may manifest into other sinful behaviors.

Before you utter anything inappropriate, it’s best to keep these bible verses in mind:

Ephesians 4:29 NIV

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.

Colossians 3:8 NIV

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Ephesians 5:4 NIV

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

Exodus 20:7 NIV

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Colossians 4:6 NIV

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Proverbs 13:3 NIV

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Matthew 12:34-35 NIV

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

Matthew 12:36-37 NIV

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.