A euphemism is a pretend synonym. It puts a good face on a bad-sounding word. It indicates the same act, practice, or exclamation but does it in such a way that the thing it signifies does not sound bad. In fact, it might even sound good or at least innocent. Here are a few examples:

·       adultery—affair

·       homosexuality—gay

·       Jesus—Geez

·       taking the Lord’s name in vain—doggone it

·       damn it—darn it, dang it 

Some people think it is a virtue to soften words like adultery and homosexuality. They think it sort of cleans up the dirt. This kind of treatment does not succeed; it only has the appearance of being clean. Why? God cleanses those things which are confessed as sin. Cleaning up the words is not confession, and therefore the sin is not forgiven.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

God does not forgive mistakes. With love we can say to those who have sinned, “No, it was not a ‘mistake’; it was sin. If you want forgiveness, you must call it sin.”

*Excerpted from Being Christian. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.