%@*$ing Profanity, Part 1

Like I said yesterday, I would like to start a discussion on profanity. What it is and what it isn't? I would like to get as much feedback as possible from anybody who reads this. Feel free to agree with me or disagree with me or tell me to go @$!# off. I will say from the get-go that I have very definite opinions on this topic, but they are primarily just that - opinions. I would like to systematically go through the different teachings of the Bible on this topic and attempt to figure out what the Bible says about it. So let's start here:


Exodus 20:7 (NIV) - You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
I hope we can all agree that this is definitely a very specific (but possibly not clear) teaching on the kind of language that should not be coming from our mouths. We are not to misuse, or take lightly, the name of God (and since Jesus was also God, we'll throw his name in there with this teaching as well). The potentially unclear question here is what is really meant by "misuse" or "vain" as the KJV states.
Now, in the house that I grew up in, this meant never saying "oh my god", or using "jesus christ" as a swear, or putting "god" before "dangit" or "damn", or even saying "I swear to god". In other words, if you weren't specifically talking about God or Jesus, then their names should not be thrown around casually. I think this was and is an accurate teaching of that scripture. These uses definitely would be misuses, or show a lack of respect, of the name of God.
I've also heard it taught that this teaching was referring to using God's name in an oath when you're not serious about the oath. For instance saying, "I swear to God I will repay that debt," when, in fact, you have little intention of repaying the debt. I would say that this would also be misusing God's name, but that wouldn't mean that the first teaching is incorrect. I believe both would be examples of misuse.
There may also be other ways to misuse God's name. Telling someone a particular desicion was "God's will" when it was more accurately your own desire or opinion, would be misusing God's name. Let me know what you were taught about this scripture, if you agree/disagree, or other examples of misusing God's name.


Anonymous said...

I think the basic idea behind this command is the holiness of God. That Psalms states that His holy name is exalted above all things. I once read a quote from the puritan Thomas Watson where he said that God's name or the concept of God should never be used in any humorous conversation. Now many(including myself) would say that's pretty extreme but I think Watson had the right idea. That while you are a friend of Gods, we need to remember just how holy that Friend is. We need to remember to remember many of the famous stories in Scripture when men wrongly took Him to be just some cudly teddy-bear and their deaths proved otherwise.

I agree w/ you completely, if you use the name of God at all, you had better be speaking to Him or specifically about Him. No exceptions.

Don said...

I agree with what you are saying about misusing God's names. Your position is backed by scripture.
What about this example? I have seen this preacher on tv who interviews different people, often about their current ministries. Anyway, the interviewer would continually interject into the conversation the phrase, "thank you Jesus". He would say this after almost every statement that the interviewee made.
After so much repetition, it did not seem genuine, and to me it felt like he was misusing Jesus' name. Of course, I don't know his heart. He could have been very genuine with each repetition, but it did not come off as genuine, just habitual.