Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. –Proverbs 4:24
Do not be confused: it does say “froward” and not “forward” in this verse. Other translations say instead “deceitful” or “crooked”. Most translations still keep the word “perverse” in there somewhere.
Do not be deceived: Nor deceive. This proverb is reminding us that it is not okay to lie (the 9th Commandment, Exodus 20:16), and telling us that it is not good to “have a foul mouth” or denigrate others or … tell dirty jokes.
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.
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
Ephesians 4:26; 5:4, NIV
(See also Colossians 3)
Look at the world today, especially in the United States of America. How many people are stepping down or being fired from positions of power because of comments or jokes they have made?
It is not okay to talk this way, to lie, to objectify others, to speak flippantly about matters or people, to use “bad words.”
Does this mean we can never tell jokes? Of course not. (I would be in so much trouble if this were true!)
However, we should “Be wise in the way you act toward [others]; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,” (Colossians 4:5-6) so that we may remain “blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’” (Philippians 2:15)
As I have told many friends, especially those who work with children, it is better to be in the habit of not using certain words than to let them slip out when we least want them to.