We think of the Third Commandment as a commandment against the use of profanity. And yet, we shall see that this is only one of the aspects of this commandment.
Let’s talk about this aspect a little. How many of you have heard some one use some profanity within the last 24 hours? Last 48 hours? Within the last week? To students of high school and college age, the use of profanity constitutes a real temptation. The trouble is, that to act tough seems to many to show maturity and being grown up. Consequently, to those who are on the verge of being grown up, it is a real temptation to clinch the matter by using and throwing in the conversation a few choice, vulgar and profane words. As a matter of fact, the use of vulgar and profane words does not prove in the least whether one is grown up or mature or tough.
The use of God’s name ins wearing grew up as a result of the Jews in the Old Testament time who got so that their word wasn’t worthy anything. They would give their word, and when it became profitable to break it, they did. Consequently, other Jews came to require an oath on God’s name to seal a bargain on the theory that God would wreak vengeance on anyone breaking an oath in His name. Really, anyone wanting to get out of an agreement would get out of it somehow, given God’s name or not. So we see right off that the use of profanity even more than not proving maturity or adulthood, actually proves that one lacks integrity.
So since this commandment, or rather the breaking of it, grew out of a lack of integrity, let us investigate the importance of a person’s integrity. Why do you suppose it is a good thing for a person to have integrity? Why is it a good thing for a person to have a reputation that can be counted on? What is the one thing in the world that can not be sold, or bought or given away, but can be loaned? Credit, and credit is based on integrity. Therefore, it is most imperative that a person develop a reputation for integrity, and that means that he won’t have to emphasize his agreements or promises by swearing.