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Friday, December 17, 2010


You know, there is a phrase in our culture that has just become so common that many people don't even know what it means when they say it. I'm talking about that all-to-familiar, "Oh my God!"

Then there is the less-frequent-but-still common, "Oh God!" And the former of these two has morphed into, "OMG" as the latest generation takes to texting and tweeting.

Think about it. You may even use this phrase yourself. I know I have. Even when I try not to, it just seems to roll off my tongue quite naturally. It's like using an exclamation point at the end of a sentence. We use the phrase to express shock, wonder, dismay. An exclamation point. That's all it is really. I mean - it's not like we're really talking to God about anything when we say it. There's nothing prayerful or reverent about it when we look on something impressive and say, without really thinking, "Oh my God!"

For the more colloquial crowd, we're seeing more and more, especially in places like Facebook or on blogs, another version. It turns out that "OMG!" has a sister phrase, "OMFG!" You can figure out what the "F" stands for there. "Oh my f---ing God!" But again, it expresses dismay, shock, wonder, amazement or even frustration. And again, there's nothing prayerful or reverent about it. We're certainly not inviting God into the circumstance or even into our thinking.

Someone on Facebook last week posted a response to something someone else had posted. Their response? "OMFG! LMAO!" Translated (for those of you who aren't cool and hip on the Internet yet), they were saying, "Oh my f---ing God! I'm laughing my a-- off!" Really? Is that really what you want to say about the situation?

Now the thing is, we live in a society where this is common. Get on the social networks. Or just watch TV or listen to the radio. Let someone win something. Let their house get a makeover on a reality show. Invariably the first words that come out of their mouth are, "Oh my God!" Next time you watch a game show or reality show on TV, watch for this phrase to be used.

So why am I blogging about this today? Well, because it disturbs me. And the further along I get in my walk with the Lord, the more convicted I am about this. I've always been taught not to "take the name of the Lord in vain." I've also always knew not to blaspheme the Lord or His name. It's pretty common teaching for most of us. And we think we know where the boundary is for taking God's name in vain or committing blasphemy with His name. I used to think it was simply not cussing with God's name. Avoid that and you're good to go. Or so I thought.

"Do not treat my name as common and ordinary ..." - Leviticus 22:32 Of course there are several translations that we can look to for context here. Most of the translations (see use the word "profane." So they would read, "Do not profane my name ..." Of course the definition of profane is simply to misuse anything that should be held in reverence or with respect, or to use unworthily. Were you familiar with that definition?

At any rate, I think it's safe to say that God is telling us not to use His name in a cavalier, thoughtless manner. Don't reduce it to an exclamation point. Don't couple it with an "f-bomb." Don't use it in any context that isn't deeply reverent and respectful. And it's pretty clear that this is a subject God feels strongly about.

Take a look at Leviticus 24:10-16. Here we have the story of a boy who blasphemed (profaned) the Name of the Lord. God's edict on the situation is sobering. He told the Israelites to stone and kill this young man! Simply put, God said that anyone who misuses His name deserves death.

Now you can say that's just Old Testament - and God wouldn't kill anyone for using His name inappropriately today. That is certainly true. Jesus intervenes for us with God - and saves us from God's wrath regarding our sins against God. Still though, I think it's worthwhile to consider how God feels about something. What is God's perspective on the issue?

And more importantly, do I as a self-proclaimed Christian, really want my life and my words to be pleasing to my Father in Heaven? Of course, the point I'm making here is that there is no place in the vocabulary of a true Christ follower to be saying, "Oh my God!" when we are shocked, impressed, floored, awed, etc. God's name is not to be reduced to an exclamation mark in our vocabulary. It means we have some cleaning up to do with our words and thoughts.

I'm convicted. Are you?

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