Early on as a little girl my parents taught me that taking the Lord’s name in vain was wrong. Even then, I understood that saying “oh god” or any variation was a sin. That was 50+ years ago. Through the years I have kept that nugget of truth tucked in my heart. I am sure I haven’t been perfect when it comes to using the Lord’s name but I also know I have tried and been successful more times than not.
Fast forward half-a-century as I began to write about a terrific recipe I saw on Facebook. The headline read …
“OMG I AM IN LOW CARB HEAVEN WITH THIS ONE!”
As I was writing the post I struggled momentarily about quoting it or just leaving it out. I decided to write the quote, however, I would rationalize the OMG by adding my own OMGosh later in the post.
Last week I received this comment from one of my readers, Ruth –
“When did OMG (we all know what those letters stand for) stop being swearing? Seeing this throughout your recipe for stuffed chicken breasts, I was saddened. I hear many Christians these days using this language. We are not supposed to do this. I hope you will not feel offended, but using God’s name in vain is counterproductive to witnessing for Him.”
I knew what Ruth was referring to even before I went back to read the post. OMG was actually only written once as a quote, but it was still there. And my OMGosh was also there loud and clear. I felt sick. She is right. When did this become acceptable language for me? Truth is, it didn’t and it isn’t acceptable language for me or for anyone proclaiming to be a Christ follower.
Here is the email I sent back to Ruth:
I am definitely not offended by your comments and in fact I have taken them to heart! The first OMG I wrote I struggled with because I was quoting from the Facebook post where I got the recipe. I thought about leaving it out and wondered about that because it was a quote. So I tried to “fix” that by using OMGosh! later in my post. I grew up in Nebraska and “gosh” has always been a part of my midwestern language. We were never, ever allowed to swear and definitely not say “god” in any form. To this day I cringe when I hear others use that term and that is why I wasn’t sure about writing the quote OMG in my blogpost.
After I received your email I decided I should look up “gosh” in the dictionary. I found what I understood the word to mean “use of surprise or sometimes dismay.” But – the Urban Dictionary goes on to use a whole group of swear words as synonyms!
You have done me a favor — not only have I changed the blog post but I need to change my language. I say “Oh my word” or “Oh my gosh” all the time — but no more. You have inspired me to write about this.
Changing this habit is already harder than I thought it would be but I plan to kick “oh my gosh and oh my word” to the gutter.
WHAT do you think about the use of these terms? I am very interested in hearing from you.
6 thoughts on “The Day I Wrote The Lord’s Name In Vain”
I say “oh, my” or “oh, me”. I need to refrain from saying “oh my goodness” sometimes.
Change is hard. Since writing the post I am acutely aware of my exclamations … and it is hard to change. I am a work in progress!
Hello Catherine. I, too, do not use our Lord’s name as an expression of surprise or shock and cringe when around folks that do. With all the words in the English language it is not necessary to break the 1st commandment. Thank you for this blog. Much appreciated
I feel the same way, and I’ve always done the gosh thing too. Will be using a differant figure of speech for sure. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for your comment Terri, the conversation is good. I have heard from others via email saying the same thing!