There are things that we said as children which our parents told us not to, so therefore we didn’t. Whether it be a threat of soap in the mouth (that wasn’t considered an issue decades ago) or some other form of punishment, there were certain words that were taboo. As we became older we may have realized that some of these words were not as bad as we thought they were. Were our parents lying? No. Often, if they told us to not use a word like “stupid,” it was because we were unable to use those words in their proper context or we used it to insult others.
Once in a while, when something is actually stupid, I will declare that it is stupid. Immediately following it my children will tell me that “stupid” is not a word which we are allowed to use. They are old enough now that I can explain, , “Listen, there are some things that are stupid.” Consider the snuggy. That being said, we don’t call people stupid. Or, when we say, “Putting gum in your hair is a stupid idea.” This would be the proper context.
What do we tell small children though? We tell them that they should not be using the word stupid at all. We tell them this because they don’t have the capacity to properly use the word in its context. So children grow up and find out certain things are alright to say in the correct context. Sometimes though, they throw the baby Jesus out with the holy water and take things too far. Let me get you to consider the acronym “OMG.”
The acronym OMG of course stands for “Oh my God.” In the day of acronyms, I would contend that the use of this phrase, through acronym, has actually grown. This is ironic in a secular culture that would claim that there is no God.
I am not speaking to the secular atheist though, but the Christian. The acronym, which is no different than the phrase here, actually breaks one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:7 says, “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.”
The first question that we have to ask is what is vanity? The idea of vain means useless or producing no result. In other words, it is invoking God’s name flippantly, or without it’s proper cause (or honor/respect).
It is not that we are not allowed to say God’s name at all. Thousands of verses, songs, and poems properly give God credit while using His name. There are times when we even make a contact with God, using His name, and saying that we will do things.
Think of those who are elected to political office. Many Christians make a vow, claiming the help of God to do their God-given task. They will often declare, “So help me God.” The use of the phrase here is a reliance on God. It is properly saying that they are relying on God, and with His help, will function as best they can.
Most of the time when the phrase, “Oh my God” or the acronym “OMG” is used, it is not in a serious way, but that of a flippant one. It is used when a teenage girl tells another teenage girl that someone just broke up with someone else. Someone may declare “OMG” when they go out in the cold and declare how cold it is. A dad may use it when he bites into a piece of prime rib cooked to perfection. Our society uses this phrase often on a daily basis. To use the phrase or acronym in this way, is to misuse God’s name.
To use God’s name as if one were wholly relying on God or making a serious pact with God, but instead in a way of everyday use that is not for those things is to take His name in vain. Christian, I am asking you to rethink using the phrase “OMG” in your social media, messages, email, and daily speech.
If you believe in God, you should not just take my word for it. Remember what the end of Exodus 20:7 says. If you use God’s name in vain, He will not hold you guiltless. I am not coming from a place of sitting in an ivory tower when I ask you to reconsider your speech. I like to watch out for you and warn you that not only is using God’s name flippantly sin, it comes with divine punishment. The divine punishment is not listed here. God doesn’t say how He will punish those who misuse His name. Whatever that punishment is, I don’t think that we want to be on the wrong side of that punishment.
Christian, how do you use God’s name? Is it something that is holy and sacred to you? Is it something that you see as a source of salvation, or do you take it flippantly as one who does not believe? Our behavior should always reflect our reverence for God Almighty.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.