Christians and Euphemisms

[Disclaimer: bad words are written out in this post are for the sake of example and to warn people not to use them. I do not agree with the normal use of any of said words outside of discussions such as this one]. 

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”-James 3:6

Many people use euphemisms, a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. 

For example, we sometimes say “they passed away” instead of “they died” because the first seems softer and less harsh than the latter.

Obviously, euphemisms aren’t always bad, they become bad when they are used in place of a bad word but still mean the bad word.

Christians and Euphemisms

Words like “crap”, “dang”,  “frick”, “heck”, and “B.S.” etc. are all substitutes for what we know to be much harsher words from vile and not-God honoring meanings.

A lot of people argue that words such as the ones above are okay and that even swear words are fine, however, in the Bible we are told that:

  • Our speech should always be gracious. (Colossians 4:6)
  • Christians need to be set apart from the world. (Romans 12:2)
  • Our words need to build others up. (Ephesians 4:29)

 

Do words that come from vile origins and often mean terrible things glorify God?

Do they build others up?

Do they show non-Christians around you that you are living for the Lord and not for yourself?

“But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.”-James 3:8-9

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Now that we’ve touched a little bit on swear words and their euphemisms, let’s talk about taking the Lord’s name in vain and the euphemisms for it that I hear Christians using all the time.

Words like:

  • My goodness
  • Goodness gracious
  • Oh my gosh
  • Jeez
  • Golly
  • Good grief
  • Gee whiz
  • Sheesh
  • Cripes
  • For crying out loud
  • dadgum
  • doggone

And many, many more (here is an extensive list of euphemisms that come from taking the Lord’s name in vain that I found: https://www.topical-bible-studies.org/21-0008.htm) all are euphemisms for “Oh my God”, “Jesus Christ”, “God damn”, “Jesus”, and “God”.

All of these words originate from people disrespecting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and yet, so many people exclaim them without a thought.

Sadly, it’s very easy to be ignorant or slip into it from being exposed to it all so casually, before I was a Christian I said a lot of those words on that list even though I have always loved God.

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A good friend of mine, who is a strong Christian, was one of the first people to really lay out what all the euphemisms were for me. She’s typically one of the most cautious people I know when it comes to her speech which is why it shocked me to hear her exclaim, “Oh, my goodness!” one afternoon. I didn’t say anything, assuming that it was a mindless slip from being around non-Christians for work.

When she said it again another day, I asked her why she was using a euphemism.

“I wasn’t using “goodness” in place of “God” though,” she said.

“But, it’s already in the place of God in that phrase. It’s a substitute.”

 

I could say “drat” thinking of oops, but it doesn’t change the meaning already attached to that word.

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As Christians, we need to be honoring God, and taking His name in vain either directly or indirectly isn’t honoring.

God’s name is holy (Psalm 111:19) and we shouldn’t take His name in vain (Exodus 20:7).
Using our Lord’s name or even a euphemism for his name when we are upset or angry isn’t honoring in the slightest.

We shouldn’t be using substitutes for terrible words and phrases, and sometimes when we typically use those words, we shouldn’t be talking at all to begin with (James 1:19).

 

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.” -Proverbs 10:19 
let's chat
 Have you fallen into the habit of using euphemisms?
How have you broken that habit?
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14 thoughts on “Christians and Euphemisms

  1. I agree, Grace! It bugs me when I hear others using euphemisms like these. Thank you for this post. It reminds me of how important it is to control the tongue. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a great post, Grace! Wow, I didn’t realize I have fallen into a habit of using euphemisms. I never knew that “Oh my gosh” or “Oh my goodness” (which are the only ones I use) are a form of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Thank you so much for sharing this! I pray that I will break this habit and find other expressions that are God-honoring. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used those two as well in the past, it’s such a tricky thing that hardly anyone talks about sadly. I’ll be praying for you to have the endurance to break it, it can be hard, but it is 100% worth it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Since I have a habit of playing devil’s advocate with you, I have a question: What words do you recommend people use when they cannot control a verbal response to shocking stimulus they didn’t expect? If we aren’t supposed to use phrases like “oh my gosh” or “oh my goodness”, what are we supposed to say instead? Cause if it’s a good shocking stimulus, we could just say “wow.” But what if it’s a car crash or the sudden death of a loved one? What’s an appropriate verbal response, in your opinion?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The English language is so extensive that I don’t think we need to use euphemisms for the Lord’s name in order to express emotions.
      “I’m at a loss for words,” can be something I can say if I can’t find a God-honoring and safe reaction.

      Liked by 2 people

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