OK, I’ve had about enough

No, make that more than enough.

Enough what, you ask?

Enough of hearing the phrase, “Oh my God.” You hear it everywhere, but especially all over TV. The other day I heard the “oh my” in a high voice with God’s name in a low, guttural, drawn-out voice. On blogs and Internet forums it has been reduced to OMG. And then there are those who say “Jesus Christ” or shorten it to “Jeez.”

Why does this bother me?

Because I worship God and regard His name as high and holy.

He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. Psalm 111:9.

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Psalm 115:1.

Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant. Psalm 135:3.

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. Psalm 148:143

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13.

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. I John 3:23.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. I John 5:12-13.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11.

That’s only a small smattering of what the Bible says about the name of God. One of the ten commandments is “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” (Exodus 20:7).

What does it mean to take God’s Name in vain? Well, according to Dictionary.com “in vain” means:

a. without effect or avail; to no purpose: to apologize in vain.
b. in an improper or irreverent manner: to take God’s name in vain.

Using God’s name as a lower purpose for which it was intended is using it in vain. That certainly includes using it as an expression of surprise or disgust or anger or silliness or as just a filler in the blank spaces of conversation.

By the way, I believe this also applies to euphemisms of God’s name: gosh, golly, gee and the like. If you look up the definitions, all of these have their origins as an alteration of God or Jesus. But even though people might quibble about that, I think we can agree that using His actual name as an interjection is using it in vain.

Yes, I know this is not a Christian nation and not everyone believes in that name. But it seems that there could at least be a modicum of respect for it. I would never say, “Oh my Allah” or “Oh my Buddha” even though I do not believe in the Islamic religion or Buddhism. Think of the outcry there would be if people started doing that! Why should not the Christian God have at least that much regard?


14 thoughts on “OK, I’ve had about enough

  1. good post

    I was playgroup yesterday and heard a wonderful story

    a little girl of about 5 told another girl that she shouldnt use the Lords name in vain. What a little trooper for Jesus 🙂
    bless her

  2. This is becoming an issue for me to. I am guilty of saying it sometimes, but as soon as I do, I’m convicted. It must stop. God’s name is Holy and everyone should respect it, but I guess we can’t expect that. Atleast Christians should respect it!

  3. I have been having an issue with a little fella in my dayhome. He’s five and constantly yells out “oh my God!” I’m almost getting to the point where I think I might have to sit down with one of his parents and talk about it.

    I was not aware of the those euphemisms being derived from the name God and Jesus.

  4. I remember being really shocked when my daughter came home and demonstrated her frustration with a ‘Geez!’ statement. The look of confusion on her face when I explained that it was slang for Jesus and that is was not an acceptable term for our family to be using. The unfortunate part was that it turned out that her teacher (a Christian at a Christian school) used the term often. It also became apparent (after some friendly discussion) that this beautiful young teacher did not realize that it was slang and was not intentionally disrespecting God – whom she loved. We are adopting slang more and more – sadly. I have to admit to feeling a little squeamish when I hear Christians referring to our Heavenly Father as ‘daddy’. Is that disrespectful? I would love to hear your thoughts.

  5. I must confess that I sometimes use the OMG abbreviation and reading your post now made me realise that its just as wrong as saying it out loud. Thanks for the rebuke and the reminder!!!!

  6. About ten years ago our pastor where we lived then talked about this. He really encouraged us to be aware of our verbal interjections. He really lives this, too. I have never heard him say anything more than was necessary. He is an effective communicator.

    What has stuck with me even longer was when I was in sixth grade my mother had a job as a waitress. She came home one day marveling at one of the waiters, who had spilled hot coffee on himself. She said all he said was, “Owwww!” And that was all that was really needed.

    It is something I try really hard to be aware of. Sometimes I do better than others. With two very impressionable young men, I try to set an example and offer suggestions that might be appropriate.

    Great post!


  7. I’m with you on this, Barbara. I try to be so careful and endeavored to do so with our son, Daniel, when he was home and with the youth when we worked with them. Thanks of the great post!

  8. I agree. It’s astounding how many times I hear it come out of Christians’ mouths as well these days! We have definitely stopped holding our God in a high place!

  9. Great post, Barbara! God’s name is indeed wonderful and above all other names. I fear that sometimes believers take God’s name in vain even in prayer, of all things! 😮 Let me ‘splain….

    One of the meanings of the vain is “empty” = devoid of meaning or substance. How often do we hear people pray and treat the word Lord like empty nothingness … like punctuation marks when they talk to God. I’ll illustrate….

    Barbara, if I were talking to you, Barbara, and telling you something, Barbara, and Barbara, if I kept saying your name, Barbara, as if it were nothing more than “like, like ya know” (empty blather), Barbara, would you be ever so slightly annoyed with me, Barbara? Barbara, I think I’ve made my point, Barbara. And Barbara, everyone reading this knows they’ve heard people pray like this! Or may be guilty of doing so themselves.

    I never have quite figured out why people say the words Lord, God, etc. so often in prayer, like God’s name means nothing to them! Or like He’ll stop listening unless they keep saying His name!?

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I agree totally with your premise, and maybe others might agree with mine too.

  10. Pingback: Book Review: The Little Women Letters « Stray Thoughts

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