Profanity has become so common that many no longer consider it objectionable. It is printed in papers, used on camera, spoken in mixed company by both sexes, and used in the presence of children, as if God does not object. He does. God’s name is not to be treated irreverently.

God forbade the ancient Israelites’ taking His name in vain. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

God’s name is holy and reverend; it is to be respected. “Holy and awesome is His name” (Psalm 111:9).

God’s name is to be hallowed. Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). The Greek word hagiazo means: “to set apart from common use” (Berry).

God’s name and His doctrine are not to be blasphemed (1 Timothy 6:1). It may surprise you to know that profanity is more common in so-called Christian America than in heathen countries. Idolaters often have greater reverence for their false gods than some persons do for the true and living God. 

A missionary was returning from India with his small son who had never been to America. One day an American on deck was using profuse profanity. The missionary said to him, “Sir, my boy was born and brought up in a land of idolatry, but in all his life he has never heard a man blaspheme his Maker until now.” 

The New Testament forbids a person’s using profanity by command and principle (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 3:8). As Christ is a member of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9; Matthew 28:19), His name is not to be taken in vain. 

Children should be taught not to use profanity (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4).

To use profanity in the presence of persons who object to it is to manifest a lack of respect for them (Matthew 7:12).

To sin, a person does not have to say the obscene words orally. He can use profanity in his heart even as he can commit adultery (Matthew 5:28) or murder (1 John 3:15) in his heart (see Matthew 9:4; Proverbs 23:7).

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord” (Psalm 19: 14). 

—Eris Benson (adapted)

“For every idle word that men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” 

Matthew 12:36

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