“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” “No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.”1 Corinthians 15:33, Psalm 101:7
Generally, I was not surprised when I heard prisoners I worked with using foul language. It often started with name-calling. When it occurred, it was discouraged— not only by staff, but also by other prison inmates. They cared that their environment was orderly and safe. Angry, racist language would jeopardize safety, hurting many and often leading to violence. Several fights I knew of began with words but did not end there.
We are created in God’s image. Using harsh words that harm others diminishes us and denigrates the name of Jesus. The better way is to use “gentle answers” that do not “stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). We can avoid those who are disrespectful lest we ourselves fall prey to incivility or aggression. We are reminded of the words of eternal life, that “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11).
Surround yourself with those who want to honor Jesus. And rather than calling anyone else a hurtful name, remember that your Savior, in gentle tones and with much compassion, has called you by name.
Jesus affirms and loves us. He asks us to love each other as we love ourselves and to love Him with our whole being.