Is it wrong to use profanity? Are there specific curse words that are sinful? Most of the words we classify in this category are not addressed in the Bible, so we must reason from the principles found in the Word. It can be especially difficult for those in the athletic arena, since it is widely accepted to use these words in a competitive environment.
It might be easy to say, “That’s just how we talk where I’m from.” Or, “That’s the way it is in the heat of competition.” Is this true? Does the setting dictate the words we use? Or is there another standard that can apply?
Paul’s description found in the Ephesians letter cited above is very helpful.
- Our words should “build up.” Are your words constructive or destructive? Do they motivate, inspire and push others to be better? Or will they be interpreted as condemning, arrogant or, even worse, empty? Much like exercise selection, our word selection plays a huge role in building the strength of those around us.
- Our words should address a “need.” What need do your words address? Do they give strength to others or do they simply make you look stronger? What about the meaning of the words you use? Do they fill a need or make the problem worse?
- Our words should “give grace.” The greatest need we could fill is pointing others to the gift of God in Christ. Where do your words point? Jesus recognized we have opportunity to bring attention to God through our works as the light of the world and salt of the earth.
“Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6) Make your words so full of taste that those who hear will thirst for more!
- Identify three ways your words can tear others down instead of building them up.
- Describe a moment in your life when someone’s words inspired you to improve. What specific words were used?
- How does the gift of God in Christ motivate you to use your words carefully?