I recently returned from taking my family to a waterpark in Missouri. I enjoyed watching them run and splash and even make new friends. I heard that day, as I often do, a phrase coming from the mouth of kids and adults alike. It’s so common that it’s impossible to escape. That phrase is, “Oh my God.”
Most people don’t think anything of it. It’s just another way of showing excitement or shock. Although it has become a casual part of conversation, it’s a sign of a far greater issue. It’s not about just taking the Lord’s name in vain; it’s about understanding how Christians are supposed to view the world.
The world has a strong tendency to turn things that are sacred into things that are secular. The three main areas I see this done are life, love and language.
For Christians, life is sacred. That is why we stand against abortion and all forms of racism. Love is sacred. That is why we support a healthy biblical understanding of love and marriage between a man and a woman. It’s why we discourage divorce and adultery.
Lastly, language is also sacred. Language is how we discuss all matters of truth. It’s how we communicate what is right and what is moral, but it is also how we communicate with God. The world has tried to reduce the name of God to a simple expression. Even the name Jesus Christ is used by many in a way that removes the honor that is due to Him and turns it into cultural slang.
I once read that when some ancient scribes would be copying sections of the Old Testament that they would pause whenever they reached the name of Yahweh, which is God’s unique name in Scripture. They felt that His name was so scared that they would ceremonially clean themselves before they wrote each letter. This would add hours to just writing such a simple word, but for them it was more than just a word; it was the holy and reverent name of God.
Still, to this day, many orthodox Jews will not even write the full word. Instead they write G-d, inserting a dash to show that His name is so holy it must never be treated lightly. The fact that we have come so far that we have taken such a precious name and made it common is surely a sign that we barely understand the holiness of God.
I encourage you to stop yourself before using God’s name in a secular way and to remind yourself it is an incredible privilege to be able to call upon the holy name of God. Teach your children the difference between things that are secular and things that are sacred, and role model for them the proper reverence for the name of God.