What we say…..”Oh my God”

Somewhere along the way the phrase “Oh my God” has become second nature for those who don’t care much about God and taboo for those that do.  And that ain’t right.  

Now the part of the Bible that’s always used to discourage the use of “Oh my God” is found in Exodus 20.

Exodus 20:7  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 folks quoting that passage know, or should know, that we’re not bound by it anymore…Just like we don’t have to offer animal sacrifices or rest on Saturdays.  But we’d be foolish to ignore the principle behind the command, the idea that God is our Creator, our King, and that we should be reverent about His name. In fact, that idea is repeated over and over again in the Bible.

Psalm 8  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 111  Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; he Lord is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Matthew 6:9  And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  

The words that we use when we speak of God 

reveal our heart’s attitude toward Him.

When we’re casual with our words when we speak of God, it reveals a casual attitude that we have toward Him.  If your words about God are careless, if you’re invoking the name of your God and Creator, the God who sent His son to die for you while you were in rebellion against Him, if you speak carelessly about Him—There’s probably no greater damage you can do with your words for those you’re speaking to.

Casually tossing about the phrase “Oh my God” is just stupid.  There’s no denying that.

But to be honest, I think that in a knee jerk reaction to avoid violating passages like Exodus 20:7, too many Christians have come to think of the phrase “Oh my God” has become a sort of curse word.

But really, I don’t think that Christians

use the phrase “Oh my God” often enough.

I can think of innumerable situations where invoking the name of God, either in joy, or sadness, or fear, would be would be not only acceptable—But what God would expect from people who claim to put their trust in Him.

When we receive good news, when we see that we’ve been blessed by God, why wouldn’t the first words out of our mouth be “Oh my God”?  Why wouldn’t we immediately give God the credit for the blessings that we have?

When we receive terrible news, when we’re distraught and in need of help, why wouldn’t the first words out of our mouth be “Oh my God”?  Why wouldn’t we immediately turn to God for comfort in a time of distress?

God EXPECTS us to cast all of our cares on Him.  God EXPECTS us to praise Him when He blesses us.  And I believe that God EXPECTS us to do that publicly.

What is our alternative?  What happens when we remove mention of God from our daily conversations?
I hide my religion when I’m happy.
I hide my religion when I’m sad.
I hide my religion when I’m hopeful.
I hide my religion when I’m distraught.
—When people see us enduring all of the emotions of life we hide God from them.

But when we see sin in their life, we have no trouble at all pulling our religion out of the moth balls and setting them straight.  We’ll use our faith in God to beat people over the head with His condemnation, but never expose them to God’s blessings or comfort.  What kind of messengers have we become?

When it comes to passages like Exodus 20, we need to start worrying about the attitude that our words reveal instead of just teaching against certain 3-word phrases.  Of course–That requires getting to know each other, investing time and energy into our relationships with each other and raising children with hearts that want to serve God.  And all of those things are much more difficult than just outlawing the phrase “Oh my God”.