DEFINITION: Profanity is language or behavior that shows disrespect for God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit including misuse of their names. It is vulgar and irreverent language or behavior, including jokes or innuendos that mock that which is holy.
FACTS ABOUT PROFANITY:
Your words are powerful. The Bible says that death and life are in your words (Proverbs 18:21). When you use profanity, you are speaking words of death because profanity is sin and God will judge it.
The tongue is unruly. It is compared to a fire (James 3:5); a burning fire (Proverbs 16:27); a world of iniquity (James 3:6); a beast that needs taming (James 3:7-8); a fountain of either fresh or bitter water (James 3:11); a tree bearing either good or evil fruit (James 3:12); an unruly evil (James 3:8); deadly poison (James 3:8); a sharp razor (Psalms 52:2); a sharp sword (Psalms 57:4; 59:7); a poisonous serpent (Psalms 140:3); a deep pit (Proverbs 22:14).
What you speak comes from your heart. Profane words come from your own heart–not because someone made you angry or because you learned the words from your parents or friends. (Matthew 12:34).
Profanity is sin. The Bible declares: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7).
DEALING WITH PROFANITY:
Recognize your mouth is your responsibility. You will give account for every word you speak, including profanity that takes the name of God and holy things in vain. (Matthew 12:36-37)
Ask God to forgive you. Profanity is sin and, as in the case of all sin, requires confession and repentance.
Ask God to change your heart. The words you speak come from your heart, so you need a change of heart (Matthew 15:18-20).
Ask God to guard your words. David said: “…I have resolved that my mouth will not sin” (Psalm 17:3b).
Think before you speak. Proverbs says to clap your hand over your mouth if necessary (Proverbs 15:28).
Separate yourself from those who cannot control their tongues. The Bible says to “Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips” (Proverbs 14:7). Do not hang out with them and allow them to pour their filthy, godless, profane words into your spirit.
Excuse yourself when others are using profanity. If they ask why you are leaving, tell them! If they are bold enough to use that kind of language, you should be bold enough to confront it.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT PROFANITY:
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)
…I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. (Psalm 17:3b)
I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth. ” (Psalm 39:1-2a)
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. (Psalm 139:20)
Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:24)
The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse. (Proverbs 10:32)
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:28)
The tongue has the power of life and death… (Proverbs 18:21)
Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse. (Proverbs 19:1)
Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. (Proverbs 26:2)
Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. (Ecclesiastes 5:6)
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (Matthew 15:18-19)
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. (Ephesians 4:29)
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8)
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do… (1 Peter 1:15)
Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. (1 Peter 3:10)
(See also “Communication” in this database.)