(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)
"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same — will be called least in the kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 5:19
A great many people are careful about breaking large commandments and committing heinous sins — while they commit 'little sins' continually and without scruple.
They would not tell a direct lie for the world — but their speech is full of little falsehoods!
They would not steal money from the purse or drawer of another — and yet they continually commit small thefts! For example, by mistake the grocer gives them a penny too much change — and they do not think of returning it. Through the carelessness of a postal worker, the postage stamp on a letter is left uncancelled — and they take it off and use it a second time.
They would not purposely try to blacken a neighbor's name or destroy his character — and yet they repeat to others the evil whispers about him which they have heard, and thus soil his reputation.
They would not swear or curse in the coarse way of the ungodly — but they are continually using such minced oaths such as, Gosh! Gees! Heck! and other mild, timid substitutes for overt swearing.
They would not do flagrant acts of wickedness to disgrace themselves — but their lives are honeycombed with all kinds of little meannesses, impurities, selfishnesses, and bad tempers.
We need to remember, that little disobediences — harm our witness for the kingdom of Heaven.
Little sins — mar the beauty of our character.
Then, little sins are sure to grow! The trickling leak in the dike — becomes a torrent deluging vast plains!
Ofttimes, too, little sins are infinite in their consequences.
We ought never to indulge even the smallest faults or evil habits — but should aim always at perfection of character, and perfection is made up of 'littles'.
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Editor's note: Minced oaths are used to avoid swearing, when expressing surprise or annoyance.
Minced oaths are usually, although not exclusively, religious in nature, and date from the days when it was irreverent and unacceptable to use the name of God, Jesus, or other sacred words in everyday speech. To mince your words, means to choose words so as not to offend anyone — except for God, who sees them as sacrilege (the sin of profaning sacred things).
Here are a few examples:
Bejabbers — By Jesus
By George — By God
By golly — By God
By gosh — By God
Chrissakes — For Christ's sake
Criminy — Christ
Cripes — Christ
Dad gum — God damn
Dagnabbit — God damn it
Dagnammit — God damn it
Dang — Damn
Darn — Damn
Darnation — Damnation
Doggone — God damn
Gee whizz — Jesus
Good grief — Good God
Goodness gracious — Good God
Gosh — God
Gosh darned — God damned
Heck — Hell
Jeepers Creepers — Jesus Christ
Jeez — Jesus
Jiminy Christmas — Jesus Christ
My goodness — My God
My gosh — My God
Tarnation — Damnation