When you say ‘jeez’ or ‘OMG’ are you taking God’s name in vain?

Many terms are used freely today without much attention to what they stand for. For example, the word jeez is the first syllable of Jesus’ name. Also, the acronym OMG stands for the phrase “Oh my God!” and the term “gosh” is modified from of the word “God.” These acronyms or terms are used in many cases without knowledge of their meaning. Nevertheless, they should not be part of our daily language.

The prohibition of saying God’s name in vain is one of the Ten Commandments: “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). Most of the time when people use such terms, they are not talking about holy or truthful things anyway.

The main purpose of the third commandment is to teach reverence (Psalms 111:9; Ecclesiastes 5:1, 2). Those who serve the true God, and serve Him in spirit and in truth, will avoid any careless, irreverent, or unnecessary use of His holy name. The apostle Paul said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

It is not enough that the Christian merely abstain from unseemly speech. His words are to be chosen with care. The apostle Paul wrote, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

The apostle James also teaches that a Christian should not be characterized as having an un-sanctified tongue: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water” (James 3:9-12).

Finally, the apostle Peter tells us, “For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil” or using irreverent language (1 Peter 3:10). And He who finds it hard to “refrain his tongue” can pray the prayer of Psalms 141:3, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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