When I was young, I far too regularly employed the “acceptable” Christian swear words of the day. Regrettably, I even used God’s name in vain. Today it pains me to think about it. Not only was it wrong then, unnecessary words are now an old habit I need to deal with, and as much as I’d like to completely be free from uttering any oath, the reality is that if I do something stupid, I am still prone to utter a word, which while perhaps acceptable even among Christians, is not honoring to the Lord. It is a sin.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Chances are, you too use some of these words. I hear them almost everywhere, even from pastors in pulpits. I get the feeling many Christians don’t even try to avoid coarse language or cussing. Somehow our “freedom in Christ” gives us the right to demean His name. But isn’t that statement itself contradictory? In Christ we have freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.
If we really, truly love someone, shouldn’t we do our very best to honor their name, rather than dishonor their name? If anything even faintly resembles dishonoring your loved ones, doesn’t it raise your ire? If that is true, shouldn’t anything that even faintly resembles dishonor of our Lord and Savior give us pause? Certainly, it causes the Lord pain, after all He has done for us, that we’d diminish His name, as we so often do.
That is what seems so strange to me about it all – why is dishonoring God with our words considered ok? I suppose one could understand why the world, which is opposed to God, may do that. But why the Church?
What I’d like to do is take a look with you at some of these “acceptable” swear words. It’s hardly necessary to list using God or Jesus’s name in vain directly. Those words are so obviously wrong, and if you don’t believe me regarding those words being wrong, there is no way you will believe me regarding derivatives of those words. But, consider the below sampling of words that are supposedly acceptable, when the reality it is clear that saying these words is taking God’s name in vain.
Now, with some of these words or phrases, such as “man of days,” you may be too young to remember when people commonly used this expression. I’m old enough to remember when “man of days,” and other words like that, were commonly used, and as such, it is easy to see how the following words developed.
Gosh = God
Geez = Jesus
Jeez = Jesus
Man of Days = God
Man = Man of Days, or Son of Man
Oh My Goodness = God
Holy [anything] = Replacement for “God”
Do you see the pattern? Who is good (as in “Oh my goodness”)? Only God is good, that much is Christianity 101. We all know that, yet somehow this “family friendly” swear word has become a Christian household, acceptable exclamation-at-will. Many other things, such as three-letter abbreviations using God as a byword have sadly become accepted as well.
What about “man”? How frequently that word is used. Yet, don’t think for a minute that when someone says “man,” it’s referring to a human being, but rather to God or the Son of Man.
I don’t suppose I can change the world with this one blog post. But, I hope it made you think. If even one pastor, or one father or mother, or one son or daughter even, decides to honor God, rather than demean God, some progress will have been made. Please join me in honoring the Lord’s name today.
– Jeremiah Zeiset
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. (Matthew 15:11)
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. (Matthew 12:36)
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)
“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated into any other language.”