The Bible has much to say about our influence through speech upon others. The passage that comes to my mind immediately is Ephesians 4:29 (KJV) “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”. From this passage we learn that “corrupt” speech is not to be spoken by the Christian. There are three ways in which we can use speech in a corrupt way. First of all we can utter a curse upon something. This is basically what Jesus condemns in Matthew 5:22 (KJV) “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire”. To curse another person or even to curse God’s creation is a sin against God. God made the earth and people as a blessing. We ought to respect God’s blessing and not curse it. The second way in which we can corrupt speech is by using God’s name in vain. God told the Israelites in Exodus 20:7 (KJV) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. This principle is still true today. God does not want us to refer to Him in a vain or empty way. He is God, and deserves our constant and complete respect and reverence. To use His name in an empty way is to not give God the respect that God deserves. The third way in which we can corrupt speech is by taking something that God has made holy and making it common. The intimate (sexual) relationship is one such example. God made that relationship to be holy, that is, set apart between a husband and wife. If we speak concerning that relationship or act as if it is just another common activity then we denigrate it. Yet today, television shows mock this relationship and many speak of such matters in a flippant and joking way. This is completely inappropriate and should not be named among the people of God. Ephesians 5:3-4 (KJV) 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”
So where do euphemisms fall into these three categories? When we are unsure of the meaning of words, the best place to go is to the dictionary. When I looked up “gosh” it said that it was a euphemism for God. When I looked up “golly” it said the same thing. The word “heck” is a euphemism for “hell.” The words “darn” and “dang” are euphemisms for the word “damn.” Often on social media, I see Christians write “O.M.G”. This is simply a euphemism for “Oh My God.” And is just as inappropriate as using God’s name in vain. The word euphemism means the following: “the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.” Basically, a euphemism is using a word that doesn’t sound as bad as the one that most consider offensive, but the meaning of the word is the same. So there is no change in meaning when we use a euphemism. Therefore, dang and darn mean “damn”, heck means “hell”, and shoot means …. Well, you know.