The Third Commandment. Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” What does it mean to take the Name of GOD in vain? Is it just swearing and cussing? Or is there something more to it than that, and if there is, what? Swearing and cussing are definitely involved here, but this commandment goes further than just that; it not only deals with our outward words but our inward thoughts [~Matthew 12:34].
Many of us, Christians…Prayer Warriors, would never give sanction to the idea of swearing ourselves when we, for instance hit our fingers instead of the nail head when using a hammer; but how many would exclaim “Oh, G…., Oh G…!” Or “J…!” Or “J…. C…!” when something horrific happens? This, too, is taking GOD’s Name in vain. Or how many ‘Christians’ tell someone a ‘little’ lie? Or get angry at another because they did something wrong? Yet JESUS has told us to: “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. ~Luke 6:27,28].
Being a Christian is more than just wearing the name of CHRIST. 1 John 2: 6 says: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.. When a person wears the name Christian but doesn’t act or speak like CHRIST, they are breaking the third commandment by taking GOD’s Name in vain as well. Another meaning for this verse includes what is called “slang cussing” [~Colossians 3:8], but unfortunately many professing Christians come in this bracket.
The following ‘words’ are euphemisms, or substitutions, that are less direct or expressive than the real words or terms, according to Webster’s New World dictionary:
*Gee…a slang term for JESUS’ name.
*Geez…a slang term for JESUS’ name.
*Golly…a slang term for GOD.
*Gosh…a slang term for GOD.
*Go-darn…a slang curse about GOD doing something nasty.
*Holy Toledo…a slang term about holiness.
*Darn…a slang term for damn, a curse word. This word, in effect is calling GOD to take ones own side and condemning another.
Whenever a ‘professing’ Christian uses “dag-nabit” or “gosh-darn” or even “dar-nation,” each of these is a slang swear word.
*Holy cow…this is making light of GOD’s character – holiness is an attribute of GOD.
To use any of these substitutions for our heavenly Father’s or JESUS’ Name and/or character is the same as using it outright [~Colossians 4:6]. Beware of also telling jokes that use the person of GOD as a character within the joke. While it may not directly attack or mock Him, it is using Him in a light manner [~Ephesians 5:4].
Additional notes by Angela Trenholm
The tongue is definitely an area we all need help on! I’m very thankful for whoever the author of this devotional is.
To answer some questions and comments, the “Oh my goodness” is really a slang on the “Oh my G…”, but also, the whole term is unscriptural. What is good about us? The Bible clearly says there is nothing good about us, so why proclaim our own goodness?
This verse comes to mind:
Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
I know I have used this term in the past and try very hard not too.
The term “Good night” is one I’ve used quite a bit, but I have never used it with the intent of a cuss word or heard others do so. It might be different for others. To me it has always been an exclamation equivalent to saying or an expression of confusion on a particular event.
When teaching our children about cussing, I have tried to explain to them that it is not necessarily the word that makes it a cuss word, but rather the intent behind it. Perfect examples are the words “hell” or “damn”. Neither are cuss words in themselves. It is the improper use of each word that turns them into cuss words at that time.
The point? Any word can be a cuss word if it is substituted in the place where a cuss word would normally be used.
So, when teaching our girls I basically tell them that if your intent is not proper, don’t say anything. The old adage “If you haven’t got anything good to say, then don’t say anything” sums it up very well.