Is it considered taking the Lord's name in vain to say OMG or words like 'geez'?
The third of the Ten Commandments tells us not to take the Lord's name in vain: "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" (Exodus 20:7). Does this apply to acronyms like OMG (Oh, my God!), "geez" (often used as an abbreviated form of Jesus), or similar terms?
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First, to use the Lord's name in vain is to use it with irreverence. When people use, "Oh, my God!" as an exclamation, God's name is often used in an irreverent manner and has been considered sinful.
The same principle could apply to the use of OMG. It is the same phrase in shortened form. This does not mean it automatically is used in an irreverent manner toward God, but it often is. Therefore, Christians should at the very least be discouraged from using slang that is considered irreverent to God by others.
The use of "Geez" is similar, though slightly different. Many use the word with no thought of its connection to the word Jesus. They are not using the Lord's name in vain since they are not even thinking about God when using the term. Again, however, when a term carries a meaning that many others consider irreverent, it would be best to find another expression to use.
First Thessalonians 5:11 states, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." Our goal should be to find words to help others. Using questionable phrases such as OMG can create a barrier with some and provide the opposite effect.
In James 3:9-10, we are taught the importance of our words upon others: "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so." This can apply to vulgar language, gossip, bullying, and even irreverent uses of God's name or variations of it. While our intended meaning may not be to disrespect God, we can strive to improve even in small areas that can better show our faith in Christ and love toward others.
As Colossians 3:17 teaches, "whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Using exclamations like OMG may not seem like a big deal, but we can make it our goal to glorify God with every word we say, knowing He knows our heart and desire to honor Him.
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