As a kid, you learn bad words. Usually by repeating one after hearing someone else say it and then being scolded or maybe watching an older sibling or relative get scolded for saying something naughty in front of the kid.

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Isaiah 6:4-5

It is true that there are some ways of talking that can hurt; they hurt the one hearing and the one speaking. Those can be swear words or they can be abusive without profanity. Bad words can be manipulative, demeaning or cruel. Bad words can be good words spoken at the wrong time. But ultimately we must watch out for all of them.

“Now when they bring you before the synagogues and the officials and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Luke 12:11-12

If we speak the things that benefit us individually, we will have plenty to say but it will ultimately fail. The words we use to reach selfish goals are ultimately fruitless and destructive.

If we speak things that benefit God’s kingdom, not only will He bless us but He will provide us the words to say in difficult moments.

The words most worthy of being called bad words are those which we use to harm others and get selfish gain. If we seek the good of others through God’s work and His words, we will bless others and be blessed, without worrying about what momentary, earthly things might happen because of those words.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published March 16, 2021