Profane Speaking

("Pleasant Readings for the Home" Author unknown)

"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

"Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name." Matthew 6:9

We mean by profane speaking all the ungodly speech, all the hard sayings which are spoken against the Holy Name and Word of God, all the profane jesting with sacred things, and all the cursing and swearing which defile human lips and grieve the Almighty. For all these things God will require a strict account, for He knows all our thoughts afar off.

There is no habit so free from any excuse, or any temptation to indulge in it. In some sinful habits there is an appearance of gaining some advantage or gratification but there can be none for profane speaking.

Those who indulge in this sin, testify to all that they are enemies to God. They prove themselves to be avowed rebels against God's authority, and are therefore enemies to their own eternal interests. As the psalmist exclaimed, "Your enemies take Your name in vain." Psalm 139:20

When the tongue is under the dominion of sin, it is full of deadly poison, it is as "a fire" it is "a world of iniquity." Alas! how many employ the tongue that was given them to glorify God, in profanity, although God's command is, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain!" This command is broken when divine things are spoken flippantly or irreverently. "The Lord will not hold him guiltless, who takes His name in vain."

Such is the reverence that even Mahommedans show for the name of God, that if they find in the road a piece of paper with the name of God written upon it, they will conceal it in a hole by the wayside, lest anyone should tread it under foot. The reverence shown in this act is worthy of imitation. How unlike the profanity which shopkeepers show when they use God's Word for wrapping up their parcels!

Sometimes the swearer and profane person is punished even in this life.

"There was an excellent clergyman, who preached with such holy zeal, that many were converted under his ministry. There lived in the same place a man who not only slighted all the means of grace, but turned the most serious matters into ridicule, and made a laughing-stock of the preacher's expressions. One morning, he went early to the ale-house, and soon became quite intoxicated. He began profaning the Name and Word of God, and ridiculing the word conversion. 'Now,' said he, 'I, myself, will become a convert? Turning himself round, and dancing about the room with a variety of foolish gestures, he quickly went out, and falling down the stairs, broke his neck and died!"

"The wicked shall not go unpunished." If men escape in this life, they cannot avoid the punishment of Hell; for every profane word is written in God's book, awaiting them at the judgment-seat. "When the great day of God's wrath has come who will be able to stand?"

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

The way of Profanity is full of danger. It is written, "The way of transgressors is hard." "As he loved cursing so let it come to him." "Because of swearing, the land mourns."

The way of Profanity is a foolish way, for it is fools who make a mock of sin, and insult their Maker. "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools pour out foolishness." If others choose the way of death, it is no reason why we should. If others think it a fine thing to preface their words with an oath, and thus bring upon themselves a curse, it is no reason why we should do it; each must answer for himself, each one must stand responsible in God's sight.

We should always show our disapproval of profane speaking by protesting against it. "As John Howard was standing one day near the door of a printing-office, he heard some dreadful oaths and curses from an ale-house opposite, and buttoning his pockets up, said, to the workmen near him, 'I always do this whenever I hear men swear, as I think that anyone who can take God's name in vain, can also steal, or do anything else that is bad.'"

A good old man was once in company with a gentleman, who occasionally introduced into his conversation the words devil, deuce, etc, and who at last took the name of God in vain. "Stop, sir," said the old man, "I said nothing while you only used freedom with the name of your own master, but I insist upon it that you shall use no freedom with the name of mine."

When the tongue is under the dominion of divine grace, the words which drop from it are like "apples of gold in pictures of silver" chaste and pure, sincere and devout. "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones."

"A foolish young man, traveling in a stage-coach to London, forced his deistical sentiments on the company by attempting to ridicule the Scriptures; and, among other topics, made himself merry with the story of David and Goliath, strongly urging the impossibility of a youth like David being able to throw a stone with sufficient force to sink into the giant's forehead. On this he appealed to the company, and particularly to a grave Quaker gentleman, who sat silent in one corner of the company. "Indeed, friend," replied he, "I do not think it at all impossible, if the Philistine's head was as soft as yours." This grave rebuke silenced the young man."

Do we wish to leave off this fearful habit of profane speaking? If so, we must seek strength from God to do so. Although we have treated Him as our enemy, He is willing to become our friend. His grace is all-sufficient to enable us to overcome the sinful habits of our nature. Let us look to the cross of Jesus plead the atoning sacrifice offered there, and say, "Create within us clean hearts, O God and renew a right spirit within us."

We should strive to abandon such an evil course; for no swearers can ever enter Heaven. "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life!"