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It is not uncommon to hear people toss around God’s name as the exclamation point of their frustration. Their angst or excitement is not usually directed at God but nevertheless his name seems to find its way into our canned responses (even in texts with “OMG”). In the last year I have heard an uptick of Christians engaging in the same routine. So here is the question, “Is it OK to drop OMG’s (Oh, my God!)?”

Answer: No (with some qualification).

The obvious Scripture here is the 3rd of the 10 Commandments:

“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.” (Ex. 20:7)

There is a command and a consequence. The command is don’t take God’s name in vain and the consequence is judgment. This should get our attention.

But what does it mean? The word translated “vain” means worthless, empty, inconsequential or false. It means that the object is lacking in value. God says don’t take my name and empty it of value by making it another common, inconsequential word.

This is because God’s name is synonymous with his God-ness. His name has to do with his essence and his actions. In other words, God’s name is about who God is and what God does. This is precisely why we see such a connection with glory, worship and God’s name. Here are some examples:

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; Say also: “Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise. (1 Chronicles 16:10, 29, 35)

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. (Psalms 29:2)

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! (Psalms 115:1)

Now back to the 3rd Commandment. If you take God’s name in vain you are insulting God. You are taking that which is supposed to be hallowed (set-apart, dedicated, consecrated) and making it a throw-away word. This is the exact opposite of what we are supposed to do with God’s name! It is entirely an uncommon name and never should be common! Christians are called to be people are pray that God’s name is hallowed and live to reflect that it is true. If we continue to carelessly toss God’s name around like a frisbee in the park then we are dishonoring God. It’s that simple.

Some may say, “This is not my intent. I’m not thinking like this.” I can understand this. But this is precisely the problem. God does want you to think about this. If you are carelessly and thoughtlessly using God’s name then his significance is not gripping your mind and heart. You may say, “You don’t know my heart.” This is exactly right, but think with me about the clear teaching of Scripture in terms of the imperatives—Don’t take God’s name in vain—as well as the narratives. God actually kills people who do not regard him as holy. One simple example is Nadab and Abihu.

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” And Aaron held his peace. (Lev. 10:1-3)

They were killed by God because they did not regard God as holy. If you are going to know God then you must know God according to his terms. These terms are clear, from Genesis to Revelation, he and his name will be regarded as holy by all people.

You may think this is a little overboard. But perhaps God thinks you are a little “under-whelmed” with him. If you are carelessly and thoughtlessly dropping OMG’s then there is a glory gap that needs to be closed.

Remember, it is the trademark for the unbeliever to take God’s name in vain:

…your enemies take your name in vain. (Ps. 139:20b)

And it is the trademark for the believer to regard God and his name as holy:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Mt. 6:9)

The city I grew up in had a large population of Puerto Ricans. Whenever something bad would happen they would exclaim, “Diablo!” (Devil!) However, when the same thing would happen to a white guy we would reach for God’s name. There’s a lesson here somewhere.

If you are carelessly using God’s name as a throw-away word when you get upset or stub your toe, then you need to stop. And not just stop, but start regarding it and him as holy and uncommon. This is the place and posture of a true “Oh, my God!” (Ps. 25:2; 40:17)

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70 thoughts on “Is it OK for a Christian to drop OMG’s?”

  1. Dan Sudfeld says:

    Hi Erik. As usual, I like the way you thought through this issue. It seems like your answer is a straight, “no” (to which I agree). I likely missed something, but just wondering what you meant by “with some qualification.”

    1. Erik Raymond says:

      Thanks Dan. Here is the qualification:

      If you are carelessly using God’s name as a throw-away word when you get upset or stub your toe, then you need to stop. And not just stop, but start regarding it and him as holy and uncommon. This is the place and posture of a true “Oh, my God!” (Ps. 25:2; 40:17)

      1. L. Sensintaffar says:

        Challenging article. Agree that we often use God’s name carelessly. But I believe that this wanton overuse/abuse/misuse of God’s names can be found most commonly in the Church. I’ve been in church circles where PTL, Hallelujah, Praise Jesus, etc are tossed around more like “verbalized pauses” and rote repetitions than any words motivated by faith, love, or genuine worship and praise. Are these examples of using God’s name in vain? I think so.

  2. Wes Henson says:

    does OMG always include GOD or could it be OMGOSH? and if it is gosh is that an appropriate word to use?

    1. B Kittel says:

      Gosh is just a euphemism for God. In any case everyone understands OMG to mean Oh my God.

      1. Jan says:

        No it’s not….God is God & gosh is gosh….God is not gosh & gosh is not God!
        I have also said Oh My Goodness since way way before text slang came in & my OMG means Oh My Goodness IF I use it.

        1. Neal says:

          1. Do words really mean only what the speaker wanted them to mean? Can I use the F-word indiscriminately and then tell people that when I use the F-word it means “awesome”? I suppose I can, but I believe a lot of people would get upset with me. But whatever. If you will not be bound by standard English usage, you just go on saying whatever you like however you like, and if people don’t like it, well, that’s just their fault, awesome them.

          2. I hope it’s apparent that if Paul adhered to this principle in writing Romans, for example, we would be in big trouble. What if Paul said of Romans 1:16, When I said “everyone,” what I really meant was “only me and my friends and immediate family”? That news would be somewhat less good than, say, the actual gospel.

          3. “Gosh” began etymologically as a euphemism for “god.” As did “goodness” as an exclamation. (See the table of examples at the end of Wikipedia’s “minced oath” article: If you really wanted to be consistent with cutting out “god” as an exclamation from your vocabulary, you should also cut out OMG, gosh, golly, gee willikers, geez, geesh, sheesh, crikey, Geez Louise, blimey, and so on. And whatever you decide to replace those words with, you’ll need to get rid of that word too because it is just a stand in for taking the Lord’s name in vain.

          4. I don’t really care. I don’t have a dog in this fight, as they say. I don’t say “OMG” and I don’t use the Lord’s name as an exclamation, but I also don’t get worked up about those who do. I also don’t use any of these other minced oaths unless I’m making fun of the Christian tendency to do so. I also make fun of phony Christian cuss words: You stub your toe and yell “Oh, fizzle biscuits!” or “Schnitzel!” We know what you mean.

          1. Eva says:

            good points Neal, you say it much better than I was going to.
            There is also the verse which says we will have to give an account for every idle word…
            Here it is: Matthew 12:36

    2. Mary says:

      If you study the usage of using God vs gosh you will understand that people came up with gosh and goodness to take the place of God. Just as shoot takes the place of shit and heck Instead of hell. It was so “genteel” people could swear and not seem as if they were swearing. But anyone with a brain knows what they really are saying, so yes, it is a form of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

    3. T Mark Kurthh says:

      Gosh is just a substitute word so is Goodness (oh my goodness) They are all substitutes for the word God so it is less demeaning and more acceptable This has been around ever since I can remember and I was taught as a young Christian back in 1972

  3. Dan Sudfeld says:

    Aha. OK. Get it now. Very good. Should have had an extra cup of coffee this morning. Thanks, Erik.

  4. Scott Roberson says:

    I agree that OMG is probably an unacceptable trivialization of God. However, the 3rd commandment specifically refers to taking in vain the name Yahweh. It’s not any generic god but the one true covenant-keeping God whose name we are not to make trivial.

    1. c. james says:

      But which god do we usually mean when we say it? I highly doubt someone saying that is thinking of Buddha.

      1. james says:

        A minor technicality, but Buddha is not a god, nor considered one by Buddhists…

      2. Brian says:

        Your comment misses the whole point of this article. This is about Christians saying OMG. If you’re a christian, then you believe there is one God and ONLY one God, so who else could you be thinking of? If you believe there is more than one god, you are not following what Christ taught, and are therefore by definition of the word, unchristian.

    2. Romelle says:

      Exactly. God’s name to His people was so sacred as to not even be used aloud. Saying the word God is His name is close to saying my name is Mom. I answer to Mom and I am Mom to my children, but that’s not my name.

      1. Abbey says:

        I agree on some level with this comment – it was thought-provoking. But so was this post – I know I am guilty of using the acronym in texts, and flippantly using the phrase aloud when talking to my mother or husband, justifying it by the situation. But I take care not to do it in front of my kids, and that in itself should be an indicator to me that I shouldn’t do it at all.

        I heard a woman win a cash prize on a Christian radio station recently, and she kept saying it. “I can’t believe this! Oh my God!” Over and OVER. And each time, I twinged, thinking “This is supposed to be a Christian woman, on a Christian station, with Christian hosts… It really bothered me to hear it, and I need to be much more mindful of it in my own life.

        Thanks for this.

      2. Romelle says:

        (my comment was meant to be a reply to Scott’s comment)

    3. Jerry Hole says:

      Speaking God’s name without reverence is often what people think of when reading the third commandment.
      There are other aspects to taking God’s name in vain.

      A believer in God, a follower of Christ, takes on God’s name. This is to be witnessed in our thoughts, words, and actions. Christ-like individuals, as we are to aspire to be, are recognizable by others. Christ-like individuals stand out. These people have taken God’s name and others see it. They represent God to the world. The world makes the association between these people and God.

      God tells us that this is a serious responsibility we carry. We are not to treat it lightly. We are not to take His name in vain. We are not to tarnish His name in the eyes of others by our sinful thoughts, words, and actions. We are to bring honor to God.

      It isn’t enough that we clean up our language and purge all words we use that others associate with taking God’s name in vain. That is the easy part.

      It sounds like a good deal to simply accept His forgiveness and payment for our sins and salvation from death. He asks more of us than that. He asks us to submit to Him as our Lord, obey His commandments, and to be an example to others of Him so that He will not one day say, “I never knew you.” We are to live in an ongoing relationship with Him as our Heavenly Father, worshiping Him, for He is worthy. It is why He made us!

      While we are saved, we are still sinners. Part of what makes us stand out is our commitment to live outside of sin and how we respond to our sinful acts as we commit them.

      It isn’t just about being a good witness to others though. Yahweh is the one and only God! He is the creator of all things. He created the angels, all matter and species of plants and animals, and man all for the purpose of worshiping Him each in their own way, bringing glory to Him. As The almighty God, He was right in doing so.

      We are to honor God’s name in all our thoughts, words, and actions. Otherwise, we are taking His name in vain, as though He is not significant and worthy of His due reverence as God.

      1. Eva says:

        You are so right,
        I have also been convicted that to sing hymns and praise songs without actually meditating on the meaning of the words, is another way that I take God’s name in vain.
        Raising the standard of holiness as you have just done is very unpopular nowadays, but it is what Yeshua did throughout his ministry.
        The only thing I would add is that we must remember that the point of the law is to show us that we cannot keep it, no matter how hard we try. It is only in Christ alone that we can be considered righteous in God’s eyes. Because that is the state in which all forgiven sinners now exist, we can have confidence that our beloved Father in heaven pours out his grace on us and is delighted with our feeble efforts to obey him even when they fall far short of his mark. The redemption Yeshua brought with his precious blood has made it possible for us to see clearly our own sin and to hate it, finding it as offensive as it once was to God. this is why we strive to overcome it, not because of fear of the judgement to come.
        I know you probably know this Jerry but I thought your readers might not realise that your comment does not promote legalism, just having a right view of our need for the gospel.

  5. Marlene Sanderse says:

    Thank you for this post. I will make it a point to tell KFC why I no longer frequent their establishments here in Canada, they use the 3 upper case letters in their poster ads. Also, how many of us remember when OshKosh childrens wear had an additional phrase on their clothing, even stamped onto the buttons? Happy that is gone for the most part. What is very disturbing to me is that I now hear God’s name used in vain by commercial radio announcers; the CRTC used to have rules about that. (visited via Tim Challies blog)

  6. arb says:

    To me it means, OH, MY GOSH. I do not mean for it to mean God. Never have, never will.

    1. John Coombes says:

      Hi arb
      I do not wish to be legalistic or pedantic. When we say things like “O my Gosh” we are substituting for the word GOD. While it may not be an intended substitution, the world sees a Christian doing so and assumes that it is OK.
      I am not sure of Americanisms, but there are many others (particularly English Cockney). What does “Crikey” imply or (“Crikey Moses”)? On a non-divine note what is being substituted in the now common word “freaking”.
      Oaths etc are as old as mankind. For example the word “bloody” is used often; it means “By the blood of our Lord”. The variant “bladdy” means “By our Lady”. Now, i am not a RC, but nevertheless we do not swear by anything including the mother of Jesus.
      And so it goes. Secularisms creep insidiously into our everyday speech.
      As i said not a judgmental comment, but merely a gentle warning about our speech.
      Blessings to you.

    2. Jan says:

      I agree arb. My use of “gosh” means gosh…don’t want someone who doesn’t even know me telling me my “gosh” means God.

    3. Chelsi says:

      When I became Christian, I purposefully trained myself to switch “oh my God” to “oh my gosh” as a way to honor God. Recently a Christian friend got very angry with me for saying “oh my gosh”. I honestly believe this is a stronger brother/weaker brother, sin for some/not for all kind of situation. It’s about the heart.

      1. Lynn says:

        I once had a couple of people who knew I was a Christian accuse me of using the word gee. I don’t use, OMG, or gosh or gee, so I could truthfully tell them they hadn’t heard that from me. Yet what surprised me was that they knew it was a euphemism and felt it shouldn’t be said by me. They both used it. As for euphemisms. Just look them up in the dictionary, and see what they mean. Once we have the knowledge of something then we are responsible with what we do about it.

  7. adam says:

    Great thoughts. Another side of taking in vain is to associate his name with things/ideas/actions that God would have nothing to do with – using God to promote an agenda, for instance.

  8. Preston says:

    Lots of people say they don’t mean God, but if that is what others think when I use omg then I am not living above reproach.

    1. Louise says:

      Very good point!

  9. Liz says:

    Thank you for this post. I am saddened and frustrated by all of the swearing (that’s my old-fashioned term for it) on social media and on TV, both in words and in acronyms. It’s completely unnecessary. Fortunately, our culture tires rather quickly of trends, so perhaps this will soon be replaced by something different.

  10. Sarah Beals says:

    I tell my kids that we don’t substitute God’s holy name for a four letter swear word. Great article.

  11. Patricia Clark says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  12. John Coombes says:

    Just a thought.
    Isa 43:10 says, “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after Me.”
    I stand corrected, but to my mind that means simply that the word “GOD” (upper or lower case) is exclusive to Yahweh himself. There simply are no (real) other gods.
    So, as a South African who watches a bit of American TV, i find this particular Americanism alarming. Virtually every actor seems to use it at time or another. And now i find it spreading to other productions as well. Just listen to American Idol as a tragic example. Even kids who claim to be Christian, use this as the fashionable mantra.
    Sad stuff.

  13. james says:

    Technically ‘God’ is not the Lord’s name, as an earlier commenter pointed out. I think it does make a difference. It’s kind of like the difference between me saying ‘Oh, man!’ and using a specific man’s name to swear or curse.
    Could it be that us Christians are guilty of speaking to impersonally of our God, calling him by his species (‘God’) rather than his names and titles (Jesus, Lord, Father, Abba, Yahweh, etc.). Maybe if we used these more personal names with great reverence and joy, we will find the need for using religious oaths less pressing.

  14. Phil McCheddar says:

    If I say “O my God” then I am addressing a prayer to the one who is my god, whoever he is and whatever he is called. So I think it is irrelevant to discuss whether the word ‘God’ is a name or just a descriptor. If I address my god in prayer when my mind isn’t intending to speak to him, then that is praying in vain. Praying in vain is part of what it means to use your god’s name in vain.
    The bible uses the concept of the ‘name of Yahweh’ to mean Yahweh himself. Therefore taking Yahweh’s name in vain is not a matter of misusing a particular word but dishonouring a person by refering to that person thoughtlessly or disrespectfully.
    Regarding euphemisms such as gosh, golly, crikey, crumbs, jeepers, etc. Technically these are not references to Yahweh. However they are virtual references to Yahweh – they refer to Him indirectly since they were derived from the words for which they act as euphemisms, and therefore I avoid saying them. I think they are as insulting to Yahweh as saying the word they act as substitutes for. They may not violate the 3rd commandment technically but I think they do violate it in spirit, and it is the spiritual essence of commands that matters.

  15. Mike Klassen says:

    While I appreciate the line of reasoning here, I have to respectfully disagree.

    If our basis for striking OMG from our speech is because it’s “taking God’s name and emptying it of value by making it another common, inconsequential word”, then we are very inconsistent with that belief. Because that would also apply to saying “God bless you” after someone sneezes. Or saying “God bless you” as a replacement for ‘goodbye’. Sure, some truly mean something holy with those phrases, but most are empyting it of its real value by making it another common, inconsequential word.

    But even regardless of that, I would challenge you to dig a little deeper into an understanding of a “name” and what is signifies in the context in which the commandment was given.

    Now I’m not saying it’s ok to use God’s name in vain. I’m just challenging the application that you’ve made here from Exodus 20:7.

    1. Phil McCheddar says:

      Thank you Mike for your polite correction. Please would you show me where to dig further to understand the meaning of the name of God in this context? I’m not sure what you mean. Thanks.
      Personally I never say “God bless you” because of my tendency to say it automatically and mindlessly.

  16. Colonelchi says:

    What about all the uber devout Hispanics/Latins who use the colloquialism “Dios mio” which predates “OMG” by many many decades? I wouldn’t say they’re any less Christian for using that term.

  17. Ron Winston says:

    I always found this very petty. Not the act of saying “oh my god” or utilizing it in acronym form but I mean we have this all powerful god who created everything, and we’re supposed to believe it’s all worried and concerned about us losing the significance of it and/or it’s name’s importance? Maybe Eve wouldn’t have been so into eating a forbidden piece of fruit had this god spent more time explaining to her why not to eat that particular item rather than worrying about whether she was gonna say “oh my god this is a good piece of fruit!” I spent years as a Christian making more than sure not to ever drop an OMG, once I realized it’s uselessness to my becoming a better person and christian I have since started to, and find I mostly enjoy it. At the end of the day at best it’s true value lies somewhere near zero and more or less an ego play. What a waste of a commandment that otherwise could have been used to do some good in this world, maybe less people would rape if one of the commandments stated not to do that rather than not to hurt god’s feelings by saying his name for no real good reason. I’m pretty sure any true god has bigger fish to fry than pandering to his own ego.

    1. Nicole Deweert says:

      Ron, it really doesn’t matter what you think (the fact that you find it petty). What matters is what God thinks. He gave us the commandments and we should do our best to obey them. It’s as simple as that (although it is often hard to do). He created us and He loves us so why shouldn’t we follow His rules?

      What I find particularly hard is hanging out with people who do take His name in vain. I ask myself “would I hang out with people who regularly kill or lie?”, and yet I do hang with out with those that take His name in vain even though God felt this was important enough to make it a commandment.

      It’s not us to us to pick and choose which commandments we find important enough to obey. We need to strive to obey them all and the world would be a better place. Period! God bless!

      1. Ron Winston says:

        It very well might not matter what I think, all that matters what is true. And I certainly don’t hold all the truths or claim to, but I do believe that if god gifted us with the utensils (brain, common sense, free will, etc) to question his ideas, rules, or whatever and in doing so we find fault, then additional questions and concerns stemmed from this must be addressed. God who obviously predates man, and therefore human thought processes might have over”god”thought itself on this topic, and if so should be held accountable for what easily might amount to nothing more than a lapse in judgement by an overestimating (or underestimating) god. Or more likely by a mistranslation or power play by one of the eventual authors of the passage.

  18. AllenD says:

    Any suggestions on what we can say in place of “oh my gosh” when we are amazed or surprised?

      1. Derek says:

        No, according to the argument people are making, wow then becomes a substitute for it and is now unable to be used. At this point even the thought of being surprised is substituting for taking the Lord’s name in vain. The correct answer, of course, is stop being surprised. No longer allowed.

        In all seriousness, in my humble opinion it’s the name and character of God that’s sacred not the act of being surprised or expressing such. Let’s not try to add on to what God has commanded. We all know where that leads.

  19. eric says:

    ‘s for plural is taking the apostrophe in vain.

  20. Blake says:

    Erik, first off, great article. I completely agree with you. Second, I have a question. Living in the south, I hear a constant barrage of “Oh my lord.” (Especially from my parents, when they visit) What would be your opinion on this?

  21. I’m a little sad by some of the responses I see here, especially one who says maybe she shouldn’t be friends or hang out with those who say it. Really? That is very judgmental and we are told not to judge. Jesus said to love above all things. That’s our number one commandment. And I am going to disagree on this point about OMG a little. I try not to use that phrase but I also do not live in fear of God being angry with me if it slips from my lips when I’m injured and say it w/o thinking. I don’t believe we serve a God that is petty but a God of love. And if we are aware of it, and it really bothers us, then we repent and are forgiven. There are other things we should be more concerned with than what other people are saying. Get out in the world and actually love on people and change their lives by loving them. That’s what we’re called to do. Stop worrying about things like this that make us look like judging jerks. The world is watching and checking to see if we’re really going to love them, even if they drop and F bomb or say OMG. We focus on some really minimal things here in the US. Go to a third world country and serve and then let me know how important some of this stuff really is.

    1. Matthew Johnson says:

      I suppose you were speaking of the “harsh” comments by some, but we must be careful not to justify some kind of behavior or desire of ours by comparing it to another problem. To suggest, that God is not petty, but a God of love does not have anything to do with being certain that the words that come from our mouth are always reverencing and in awe of God’s holiness, purity and perfection. To tell someone that they are making the name or title of our Creator/Redeemer banal and mundane (vain) is not judging nor unloving. Suggesting so is unfairly pitting obedience to God’s Word against loving others. They are not in opposition but are parallel spiritual disciplines. I only read one comment where someone suggested not being around people who use God’s name in vain. Of course that is ridiculous, we live in a sinful world and are supposed to be salt and light. But how can we be salt and light if we are not willing to express a holy appreciation and articulate a real awe concerning who our God is. I personally do not go around rebuking unregenerate mouths for abusing the name of my God (or his title), but since I know that I will stand before a master and give an account concerning how I served him, I want to glorify and honor his name, therefore, I want to use every opportunity than when God’s name or titles or attributes leave my lips, it is the savor of Christ, not the jargon of the pagan heart that God has recreated into a holy heart only by his grace. I struggle with people suggesting (and please forgive me as I know that you did not say this directly) that living in such a way that seeks to always honor the king of Kings is somehow legalistic or not loving others. Can we not do both? Can we not love them while walking above reproach in the world? or must we adopt the language of the world and her euphemisms in order to “love them”? Just some thoughts, don’t take it personally.

    2. James says:

      Mel. I think that you are being very judgemental of people who choose not to be friends with people who treat God’s Name lightly.

  22. Shari says:

    Thank you so much! This bothers me so much and I appreciate the article that I can share with others.

  23. Luke says:

    When a Christian acquaintance of mine says “Oh my God!” I ask him (and if we’re in a group, I might wait until we’re alone before I ask) how it would strike him if I were to say “Jesus Christ!” in the same tone of voice, in the same context. If the latter bothers you, so should the former. (And in reference to earlier comments, the same applies to “Oh Lord” or “Dios mio.”)

    The question is not really one of obeying a rule, though; it’s about the state of the heart. Respect for God’s name comes naturally to those with a high view of God, to those who know and love Him. The trivialization of God’s name reveals trivial thoughts about Him.

  24. R G says:

    I am thankful someone has addressed this issue so thoughtfully. I would like to put out there that Jesus did say things that implied it was very important to Him (and therefore should be to us) that He not take something holy and denigrate it through careless use. It isn’t ‘just’ and OT principle. Though I know it wasn’t this context (the name of God) Jesus once asked the question if He should ‘take something holy and throw it to the dogs.’ This is an important issue. Of course we should not.

    Some other food for thought: I am not RC, but from an Italian family, where, if anyone said ‘for crying in Italy’ or ‘mamma mia’ and several other such type phrases, everyone around them knew they were intentionally cursing. And no, I am not old. In my 30’s. I think someone familiar with British colloquialisms commented above with similar information. Though these Italian based phrases are associated with Mary, (who is not deity) and not with God himself, I will nonetheless not allow them in my home because I know what they mean to those who originated the terms, and still believe it to be desecration, profane, irreverent, and sacrilegious, because my Italian family does hold Mary to be like deity. God wants us to avoid the very appearance of evil, and to walk and talk cautiously. We should be aware of the meanings of words before adopting them at whim. The books of Proverbs and James are replete with instruction on the tongue.

    I don’t expect everyone around me, outside of my home, to hold these strong feelings about Italian based phrases. A few times someone has seen me involuntarily flinch when they say something like that, they have always asked me privately later, and after I tell them where those terms came from, they are usually compelled on their own to not use them, (at least in my presence). Many of these people have been Christians, but others don’t even claim to believe in God, are Hindu, Jew, Muslim, etc. Some people in above comments talked about the heart attitude, I think those I have just mentioned show the true meaning of the heart attitude subject in that they have seen it could offend someone, so purposefully avoid saying that in order to not offend.

    Just an observation, but many times the claim that ‘its the heart that matters, God sees my heart’ seems like a cover up to deflect personal accountability for one’s actions. Yes, God sees your heart, and man sees the outside, which is supposed to remind them of how Christ would act, talk, react, etc. were He still walking the earth. I don’t ever see the Lord Jesus Christ pleading with those who disagreed with Him, to consider His heart. He knew He was the only One who could see the heart of man and perceive their thoughts. He said ‘ If you don’t believe my words, at least believe me for the works that I do.’ Thus, He fully intended that people judge His ministry and claims’ validity based on what they saw and heard. Is the servant greater than His Lord? No. Judge righteous judgement. Inspect the fruit. These are urgings Jesus gave. When He said ‘Judge not,’ He continued quickly with saying you would be judged by the same measure. He wasn’t saying, never judge, but rather, make sure you are willing to be judged by the same standard in that area of your life. Ok. Long comment. Sorry. Hope it isn’t taken as arrogant, or as one said ‘legalistic.’

  25. David Tramble says:

    When I type OMG, I do not mean to say “Oh My God” – I mean to say “oh my goodness”

    Regardless of how society has molded the acronym to reflect on the majority of the population. Me saying OMG does not mean I am taking the Lord’s name in vain, it should never be assumed unless it is fully spoken. If you think that means I’m replacing God with Goodness, that’s entirely your own issue, not mine.

  26. Moe says:

    When Christians start concerning themselves with how the homeless, widows, and fatherless are taken care of with the same fervor as worrying about the significance of three letters being used, then maybe then I can take a post like this seriously. I get the point, but seriously, here, there are people next to you in line at the grocery store on their way to eternity separated from Jesus, and we are more worried about judging an acronym. I truly understand where the author is coming from, but speaking as someone who has travelled to different countries and seen how the christians there worship God, and what is important to them, this seems strange that THIS is what christians in this country are concerning themselves with. It just seems sad.

  27. John Graham says:

    Dear Erik, I don’t want to nitpick or appear to be a know-it-all rather I’m genuinely seeking an opinion. Probably due to the translation of the Kings James Bible, the names attributed to God in the original texts have been trans lated as God, or Lord ( and I believe something has been lost because of it), so can we really say God is the name of God, and by using it carelessly take his name in vain? But I still try to avoid saying OMG and never in my whole like have I ever used the name of Jesus or Christ as an expletive which is so prevalent in the UK.

  28. Donna says:

    Thank you so much. I hear people saying this all the time and it makes me cringe. I cried and cried as I read and contemplated your blog. It is wonderful and I thank you for it. I don’t think anyone would like their name thrown around like a ‘frisbee’. I know I wouldn’t. Our Jesus is way too precious to speak of Him so flippantly. Ps. I am concerned about the people who are next to me starving and I try to do something about it but God is so huge, He is concerned with ALL things, no matter how seemingly small and inconsequential it may seem to us and personally I think it would really bother Him.

  29. ErasingGod says:

    “This is the exact opposite of what we are supposed to do with God’s name! It is entirely an uncommon name and never should be common! Christians are called to be people are pray that God’s name is hallowed and live to reflect that it is true. If we continue to carelessly toss God’s name around like a frisbee in the park then we are dishonoring God. It’s that simple.”

    But there is no frisbee… First off thank you for writing this, and opening up a powerful subject. Your heart is well meaning. Now lets all get to work. Pop culture Christianity can’t defend the Name of God without actually mentioning His most holy Name, the Name above every name isn’t LORD or God. OMG is like washing the outside of the cup, and never examining the inside, where its usefulness is realized… You have heard it said, but I say…. (We are called to a Higher standard). Take a closer look: “Seeing they do not see, hearing they do not hear…”

    Vain is to make useless, to kidnap YHWH with substitutions like LORD, Adonai, God; or even worse the unholy – as in G-d, or L-ORD.

    Who is boldly claiming the Name of YHWH, to know the True identity of YESHUA as YHWH this is the good news that Christ was specifically crucified, on the legal ground of blasphemy, speaking the Name YHWH.

    Think about this, we are seeking to participate in a spiritual contract (detailed within the Old Covenant and the New Covenant). The King of kings, has a legal name that He has chosen to use for His heirs, its not Daddy (Abba), it’s not God (Elohim), or LORD (Adonai).
    “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is YHWH.”
    @ErasingGod a forthcoming book addressing this.

  30. The Holy Spirit which glorifies Christ has shown me many things
    that I can hardly express in words. Christian Sermons has come out many times that has affirmed the Holy Spirit has
    touched many other. Christian Sermons are truly a means to express at least to an extent the ability of Jesus Christ.

    Christian Sermons can convict you and almost force you to come to terms with the ability of Jesus Christ.

    Several Years ago I prayed and prayed for God to show me the way, the light, and the path for my motive.

    How God could bless others through me. Enoch is an excellent example of
    man that walked with God and was taken or interpreted.
    Christian Sermons hopes I have had and validated the reply to many
    prayers. Even though you love God you may very well (if not definitely) still sin but
    you can do the best that you can to prevent temptations that lead to sin.

    I come from a family that preaches the Gospel and Christian
    Sermons are a terrific way to spread the word of God.
    It is crystal clear for the Bible. The King James version is what is used
    as Biblical “calibration” but as long as you understand this you’ve come a very long way from your everyday non believer. Genuine Christian Sermons will always support or validate this.

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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