I was sitting at a sporting event, when the lovely, Christian lady beside me shouted, “Oh, my God!” as her child made a mistake. I cringed inside. And then I wondered, “does she know?” Does she know that the Bible tells us not to use God’s name in vain?
And honestly, this is not unusual. I hear Christians do this all of the time. Many are wonderful people who obviously love the Lord. Is it because we just don’t hear this called sin anymore? Are we so hardened to the use of His name due to the company we keep and the entertainment that we fill our minds with, that we just didn’t notice when we started doing it, too?
Exodus 20 is where we find the ten commandments. The third commandment is “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.”
We are not to use God’s name as a curse word. We are not to use His name lightly. If we study who God is, we understand a bit more why this is such a grave sin. God is holy, sovereign, unchangeable, omnipotent, omniscient, faithful, patient, and merciful. This is just a short list of the adjectives that could be used to describe God, the One who made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through His son, Jesus Christ. If He is so awesome and so wonderful (and He is!), then we can understand why it is so important for us not to use His name when we are angry or surprised.
I am not writing this to point a finger or to make you feel guilty. Quite honestly, I have personally believed for a long time, that I probably shouldn’t even say “Oh, my gosh!” It is obviously a sadly disguised copy of the original. And yet, I still struggle with it. You will still hear that come out of my mouth on occasion. Language is a hard thing to change. When we grow angry or are surprised, we tend to forget our speech in the heat of the moment.
My desire in writing, as always, is to make us think. We need to think about the words that come out of our mouths. If we are a redeemed soul saved by grace, then all of life should be lived intentionally to please our heavenly Father. May we recognize that taking God’s name in vain in any form is offensive to the Holy God who saved us. And let’s start today anew using our tongues to glorify God’s name instead of curse it!