Even before I had my “break up to make up” moment with God, I had decided to make an effort to stop taking the Lord’s name in vain. I found it odd that when shocked, excited or scared, often the first words out of my mouth were “Oh my God”. It’s been a while since I made my decision and I’m proud to say I’m doing pretty well. It’s become a lot easier to substitute “oh my goodness”, “unbelievable”, “wow” instead of “Oh my God”.
In my previous post (Forgive Me Not?) I used the story of the boy who cried wolf to illustrate the implications of insincerely asking God for forgiveness; however the story applies even more so to taking the Lord’s name in vain. Exodus 20:7 says, “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.” I mean, if someone constantly calls my name and has nothing to say when I answer, it won’t take long before I ignore him. Granted, God has more patience than I do (obviously) but it is unwise to test Him in that way. It is disrespectful, rude, and irreverent to call on God so casually. By doing so, God’s holy name is lowered to the level of the common words we use and the way we use it amounts to profanity.
Use of the term “OMG” has inundated the world via “text-speak” and rapidly made its way into the verbal lexicon but this too is breaking the third commandment and using God’s name in vain. Seriously, even if I say “OMG”, what I really mean (and what it’s understood to mean) is “Oh my God”. Abbreviating it doesn’t make it any less irreverent. Just as it is with using profanity, taking the Lord’s name in vain shows a lack of verbal skills in that one can not come up with any other reply than to indiscriminately utter God’s name. I hear it all the time and everywhere (public bathroom, McDonalds, Walmart). People who don’t even acknowledge God use his name in vain. How sad is it that a fictional character (he who shall not be named) gets more respect than Jesus (no pause) Christ?!
In any case, I’m happy that it irks me to hear people say God’s name in vain. Because it bothers me, I know that behavior is becoming more abnormal to me and I’m less inclined to do it myself which is a step in the right direction.