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When we allow His name to be used in vain—as CURSE words—and don’t say anything, we are literally saying it doesn’t offend us when it SHOULD offend us!
Oh, God Help Us!

The Third Commandment

A dear and special friend of mine began a campaign a couple years ago called, “No God Slurs.” I applaud her for taking a strong stand against using the Lord’s name in vain. After all, turn on the television, radio, or read books, watch videos, or indulge in any form of entertainment and you would be unable to count the times the Lord’s name is taken in vain.

For many, they aren’t even aware it’s being said—it has become a spontaneous response for people of all ages in any situation, good or bad.  To be clear, what I'm talking about is the frequent use of "Oh God!" or "Oh my God!" or  "My Lord!" or other similar expletive using God's name.

What’s the Problem?

Well, let me defer to this commentary of a couple years which back summed things up very well.

Silence on our part means OMGs and variations thereof aren't offensive to us … Our Christian God is Holy. The third commandment states that we are not to use His name in Vain. The most well-known prayer in our country begins: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Have you ever stopped to consider why God would be so specific about the handling of His name as to include it in the Ten Commandments? There are so many other “thou shalt not’s” He could have included. But this is so important to Him that it ranks number THREE among all the commands in the Bible. I’d say that’s enough to cause us to stop and take note. “God” is not an expletive … He is the eternal sovereign supreme God, perfect, holy and pure, glorious and mighty, virtuous and victorious, King of the Universe! There is none like Him, there is none above Him. He is God!

When we allow His name to be used in vain—as CURSE words—and don’t say anything … or pay money to hear it, or invite it into our homes via any number of ways, we are literally saying it doesn’t offend us.

The problem, at least for me, is that it IS offensive. I’m guilty, as are 99.9% of those who will read this, for allowing God’s name to be used in vain without reacting. But, again like most of you, it bothers me greatly!

Have you ever taken the time to wonder why people don’t say “Oh, satan!” of “Oh, Buddah!” or “Oh Krishna!”? Why don’t people say “Oh George!” or “Oh Sally!” or any other name? Don’t laugh! Why do we choose God’s name as an expletive rather than that of sinful mortal man? Why do we defame the holy while we protect the unholy?

Originally, the expletive began as a prayer. In a moment of crisis, the person would cry out, “Oh, God!” Not as a curse, but as a prayer invoking His presence, calling for His attention, and desperately seeking His intervention. Believers will often begin prayers, especially in critical situations, with “Oh, God….” But, predictably, the enemy of our souls has taken a cry from the depths of the heart of a sincere believer and turned it into a slur against the Holy One. And, by remaining silent or even saying it ourselves, we have become part and parcel to the enemy’s scheme to diminish the holy estate of the God of all creation!

Is it any wonder today’s society has become so casual about the matters of a Holy God and man’s eternal soul? If we continue to ignore and even invite the use of God’s name in vain into our homes and our language, we have brought God down off His throne and made Him no greater than a common expletive … no better and no more holy or glorious than the four-letter words that elicit a negative response from us.

God Help Us

I urge you, as parents and grandparents, to help form your child’s conscience to include sensitivity to the holiness and purity of God’s name. But, while doing that, make sure you don’t fall into the same trap. Remember, children look at parents and grandparents as their most influential role models. What they see you do, what they hear you say, how they see you act and respond, is what they will emulate. If you take a firm stand against the defamation of the Holy, it’s likely they will have more strength to resist the common street language that strips God of His glorious estate of Eternal Creator, holy and pure.

It’s not difficult to retrain yourself or your children to express themselves without taking God’s name in vain. Start today … don’t allow another day to go by without retraining yourself and/or your children to revere the name of the Most High God whose name is hallowed in heaven, in earth, and throughout the universe.

“Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God …
For they speak against thee wickedly,
and thine enemies take thy name in vain.”
(Ps 139:19-20 KJV)


For an expanded explanation about God's Name, I strongly recommend "Bearing God's Name: Why Sinai Still Matters" by Carmen Imes.

In this warm, accessible volume, Imes takes listeners back to Sinai, the ancient mountain where Israel met their God, and explains the meaning of events there. She argues that we've misunderstood the command about "taking the Lord's name in vain." Instead, Imes says that this command is about "bearing God's name," a theme that continues throughout the rest of Scripture. Listeners will revisit the story of Israel as they trudge through the wilderness from a grueling past to a promising future. The story of Israel turns out to be our story too, and you'll discover why Sinai still matters as you follow Jesus today.