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Home The Light Articles from 1999 "Your Speech Betrayeth You"

"Your Speech Betrayeth You"

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"Your Speech Betrayeth You"

Jehovah has ever regarded, with the greatest displeasure, any disposition on the part of man to use his name in flippant, frivolous and profane fashion. The first commandment of the decalogue was designed to protect the sanctity of God's being; the second forbade man to approach him through some human device; and, the third ("Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain"), was formulated to guarantee respect and reverence for his name (Deut. 5:7-11.)

One is profane who uses sacred things in an irreverent and blasphemous manner. The word vain, in the third commandment of the decalogue, is translated from a word which means in a flippant, and contemptuous fashion. It is of serious consequence that many members of the church have allowed to creep into their phraseology words and phrases the use of which amount to profanity. Others, who would not dare use the holy names Christ, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, Hades, as interjections ("an ejaculatory word or form of speech, usually thrown in without grammatical connection" Webster), and for emphasis, will, nevertheless, use euphemisms (the substitution of a word or phrase less offensive or objectionable), the derivation of which goes back to one of these foregoing forms. Were those who do thus aware of the origin of many of these common by-words they would be shocked. It is therefore important that we obtain a clear conception of the significance of such words and phrases and avoid all which even indirectly border on the profane. No true Christian wants to offend either God or man by their speech.

1. Gee Whiz. Gee is an euphemistic contraction of the name Jesus. It is slang, and has no proper use in our language. It is used as an interjection and to express surprise. It is, in effect, to say: Jesus! (Cf. Webster's New World Dictionary.) Webster's Unabridged Dictionary says it is "A minced form of Jesus, used in mild oaths."

Whiz is slang for anything excellent, "a corker, sometimes applied to a clever person or thing of excellence. Something or someone of exceptional ability or quality." The words Gee Whiz! are therefore an oath in which Jesus and something extraordinary or unusual are joined.

2. Gosh. This, too, is an interjection and used euphemistically for God. It is an exclamatory slang expression indicating surprise. The Century Dictionary says that it is "A minced form of God: often used interjectionally as a mild oath." Webster's Unabridged Dictionary says that it is "a softened form of God, used as a mild oath. 3. Golly. This word, of extremely common use, is described by the New World Dictionary as "an exclamation of surprise, a euphemism for God. It is often used in conjunction with the word "by," i.e., "By golly!" sometimes as a noun, and at other times as an interjection for the word God.

"By golly!" is "By God!"

4. Good gracious! My goodness! etc. These are all mild oaths, where the word good or goodness, is used euphemistically for God. (See Webster's New World Dic-tionary.) There are many forms of this usage, such as Goodness sake! Goodness knows! Thank goodness! all ejaculatory and exclamatory expressions in reference to the goodness of God, but used slangly for emphasis. One who thus speaks calls God to witness to the statement with which the oath is associated. "In goodness knows who it could have been, it means God only knows and I do not; in Goodness knows it wasn't I, it means God knows it and could confirm my statement." (American English Usage, Nicholson.)

5. Heavens! Good Heavens! For Heaven's Sake! are all statements of exclamatory

character, in which the heavens are called to witness to the truth of the statement made, or to support the affirmation. All such expressions when used as bywords, or as slang, and in flippant, frivolous fashion, are guilty of the same sin condemned by Jesus under Moses' Law in Matt.5:34.

6. My Lord! Lord have mercy! These and similar are shamefully common, even among Christians. Especially is this so in the south. Such bywords use God's name in vain. Many who would never think of exclaiming "My God!" commonly say "My Lord!" as an exclamation.

7. Heck! A common word with many people, and although it does not invoke God's name, it is a euphemism for the word hell. To say "Heck no," is the equivalent of saying "Hell no."

We are not to suppose that it is wrong to use the various names of God in our con-versation when such usage is reverent, respectful and sober. We have, indeed, numerous instances of such usage in the scriptures. (Cf. God forbid, If God wills, The Lord grant mercy, etc.) The Jews regarded the name of Jehovah as ineffable and to this day refuse to pronounce it in Hebrew. It should be unthinkable that Christians should presume to use God's name as an oath, even through the use of a euphemism (or in forms of joke telling). It is the profane use of sacred things and names against which the Bible inveighs. All such expressions as these we have above analyzed should be rigidly excluded from our Christian vocabularies. -(Much of the foregoing is lifted from a work by bro. Guy Woods)



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