“OMG” — and Other Ways Christians Take God’s Name in Vain

Exodus 20:7

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

I briefly mentioned, in yesterday’s post, one way in which Christians take the Lord’s name in vain.  Unfortunately, too many of us have become very casual about this commandment, and I thought I’d take the time to mention some things we should consider.

Taking God’s Name in Vain

“Vain” means useless, or empty.  This verse, one of the Ten Commandments, tells us to not use God’s name in an empty or useless way.  God is to be respected as high and holy.  This isn’t optional.


I read an article a couple of weeks ago (unfortunately, I forgot to note who gave me the link) which I thought was excellent.  I know nothing about the author, but her article (What does the Bible say about OMG?) is excellent.  Too many Christians, in moments of excitement, dismay, etc., say, “Oh my God,” — and it isn’t a prayer.  Others, more “refined,” say, “Oh my gosh,” which is effectively the same watered down a little bit.  When we do this, we are saying God’s name without any real meaning to it — using it vainly.

Text-speak and Internet usage have made this far worse.  Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter too often encourage people to speak quickly and mindlessly, and it is so very easy to type in “OMG” without even thinking about it.  Is that consistent with reverence for our God?  If you see a Christian doing this, perhaps you could send a private note asking him to stop.  He’s probably not even thought about it.

No one ever says, “Oh my Satan,” or a watered-down “Oh my Santa.”  Or, for that matter, “Oh my spaghetti” or “Oh my desk.”  Why do unbelievers always use “Oh my God”?  We know why — the god of this world is influencing them to use words that diminish reverence for the Almighty God.  Why should Christians even mimic that with a watered-down “Oh my gosh”?

“In Jesus’ Name, Amen”

I am NOT saying people should not pray in Jesus’ name.  He told us to.  I wrote about this briefly yesterday (Proverbs 10:24).  The point of praying in Jesus’ name is to pray as Jesus’ representative, and that means praying as He would have us pray.  It is not a magic spell to make our wish list come true, or vain repetition stuck at the end of our prayers.

It is intended to cause us to think about whether we are praying for things that we can and should appropriately ask in His name.  It is to remind us of the glorious privilege given to us as His servants.

“I’ll Pray For You”

If you say you are going to pray for someone, you speak as a Christian who can speak directly to God.  You are promising to speak to Him.  If you don’t do it when you said you would, you took God’s name in vain.  You talked about communication with Him in an empty and meaningless way.

It is not wrong to tell people we will pray for them.  But if we say it, we must mean it and do it.  I have a friend who is careful about this.  I don’t think I have ever heard him say, “I’ll pray for you.”  He does say, “I just prayed for you,” or, “Let’s pray about this right now.”  Something to consider….

Un-Christian Behaviour

About a week ago, News for Christians linked to Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain.  It is worth reading.  The writer appropriately refers to Romans 2:24:

For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you.

If you are called a “Christian”, you are called a follower of Christ.  You carry His name.  If your behaviour gives sinners excuses to blaspheme, you are taking His name in vain.  Those who bear His name must live by it.

T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers, Cute Sayings

I’m not going to get specific here, because those who want to nitpick can nitpick.  Rather, a suggestion:  read Isaiah 6, and see how Isaiah responded to his vision of the Almighty.  Look at Revelation 1, and see John’s response when he saw the Lord of glory.  Remember that even in these visions, not all of God’s glory and majesty was fully revealed, or these men would have died.  And ask yourself, does my bumper sticker, my t-shirt, my cute expression that I like to use, all these ways in which I speak of the Lord, do they really fit with who He is?

When I stand before Him (or rather, when I fall on my face before Him) will I be glad I used that bumper sticker and wore that t-shirt, or will I be horribly ashamed?  Am I altogether too casual and cutesy in how I speak of Him?

“God Told Me”

Many times, we hear Christians say that “God told me” to do something.  Unless it is written in God’s Word, God doesn’t tell me to believe your statement (even if you do believe it).  If there is no reason I should believe that God told you, there is no reason to say it.  The Bible doesn’t tell us to go around saying “God told me.”

If you make a statement the Bible didn’t tell you to make, and I should examine what you say (rather than take your word for it), then to claim God’s authority is to claim it vainly.  “God told me” in any context other than what the Scriptures have said is taking God’s name in vain — even if you personally believe He did tell you.  God doesn’t tell others to believe you when you say it, so it is an empty claim.  You shouldn’t say it.

“God Gave me Peace”

It’s amazing how many times God “gives peace” to people who are doing the exact opposite of what He said in Scripture.  Just because you feel comfortable about your decision doesn’t mean God has given you peace.  Perhaps all it means is that you’ve started to have better sleeping and eating habits so you physically feel better.  Perhaps it means you’ve seared your conscience so badly that it isn’t functioning anymore.

God does give peace, the Scriptures say so.  But the Scriptures never say we should make decisions by checking our “peace-meter” to see if it is measuring high enough.  “Peace-meters” are often inaccurate — God’s Word is not.  Many times, when people say “God gave me peace,” they are merely taking God’s name in vain, speaking it meaninglessly, claiming some kind of God-authority for decisions that He manifestly does not approve.

I am sure there are other ways in which we do not honour our Lord’s name as we should.  We, as Christians, need to take God’s holiness seriously, and give Him due reverence.  We should encourage and help one another to be alert to failings in this area, so that we can speak as He would have us speak.

Somewhat related later post:  Why is “Jesus Christ” used as “Blasphemous Profanity”?

And:  “God Told Me to Preach This”???

And:  Curing “Oh My Goodness”

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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77 Responses to “OMG” — and Other Ways Christians Take God’s Name in Vain

  1. Chris says:

    “If you see a Christian doing this, perhaps you could send a private note asking him to stop. He’s probably not even thought about it.”

    Many years ago, a dear Christian woman pointed this out to me. I was a believer. I would use the word “Gosh”. It sounded so harmless. I was completely oblivious to the offense I caused, or the true nature of this and many other euphemisms. I am so thankful that she was willing to speak out. Speaking out is not always pleasant, but it is an act of love – both to the Lord, and to our Christian neighbor.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, Chris. The Lord is very gracious, even when we don’t err in ignorance, but especially when we do. But the goal of the Christian life is to draw nearer and nearer to what He wants us to be — and that means refining our words as well. And we do well to help each other in this, because we live in a world that works constantly to give us blind spots.

  2. Leslie A says:

    Thank you so much for referencing my blog post “What does the Bible say about OMG”. I am committed to helping Christians live beyond the status quo and to start thinking about their choices. Thanks so much for helping me get a broader audience.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Leslie. It was a well-written post on an important topic. As you can probably tell from my blog title, I want to encourage Christians to think Biblically in all areas. Blessings to you.

  3. Chip Van Emmerik says:

    Excellent post Jon. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  4. Pingback: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord, Thy God, in Vain. « Life of a Sinner

  5. sueliz1 says:

    Great post. I have been horribly guilty of this in the past. I respect the Jewish practice of writing G-d, as to respect His name. I don’t do it, while writing but have thought about it.
    I am still guilty of OM ‘gosh’ and never thought of it as a watered down version.
    Some good food for thought.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, Sue. If we go by the letter of the law, I’m not sure “gosh” is absolutely forbidden, but I don’t believe it fits the spirit of reverence that God calls us to have.

      As far as the Jewish tradition goes, I do not think it is good. In Bethlehem, God became man, Immanuel, God with us. Though God is immensely above us, He also came near, breaking down the barriers, becoming the Mediator as well as the Master.

      I would also add Gen. 4:26, I Kings 8:24, I Chron. 16:8, many other passages, and most notably Zechariah 13:9. God wants us, as His children, to speak His name with reverence, not fail to speak it. To not speak it rejects much of the significance of the Incarnation.

  6. sueliz1 says:

    I affirm what you said, but I don’t think it’s “bad” Jewish tradition. I suppose it can get rather scrupulous, but anywhere you write down His name, the name can be thrown in the trash or somehow disrespected, and I think this is where the tradition came from, not that He was far away or not Immanuel. I may be wrong. Jews also believe His name is the equivalent of the entire Jewish alphabet said at one time (all the letters) which is humanly impossible, hence another reason not to “spell” it on paper. I know of Messianic Jews that still write G-d.
    I just read that in Rabbinic Judaism only the high priest can say His name in the Temple during Yom Kippur. Interesting.
    I wasn’t thinking of not “saying” it, just not writing it. We are to confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and pray in His name always.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      The tradition is very old. I’ve heard more than one source of it. The Scriptures write out His name. In the Old Testament, of course, the vowel points were a later addition, so Jehovah (or Yahweh, whichever you think is best), Elohim, Adonai, etc, were written out as fully as any other word. In the NT, theos, kyrios, etc, were all written out fully.

      It’s certainly not negative in the sense of a tradition that is directly contrary to Scripture. It doesn’t fit the pattern of Scripture, though. I wasn’t meaning to suggest that it is a tradition against the Incarnation, but rather that it just doesn’t fit with the overall tone of Scripture, as exemplified by the Incarnation, of how much God wants to have close and loving fellowship with us. He uses the illustration of a marriage — ask your husband, when you write his name, does he want you to leave out the vowels? 🙂

      To me, it just doesn’t fit. But I don’t suppose I’d criticise a believer who did it, I’d just think they are making a mistake. Blessings to you.

  7. This is a good post. If you had a “Like” button…. 😉 I appreciate this. I may avoid using euphemisms, but I know I fall short in other areas.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thank you for the kind words. The more we think about God’s holiness, the more we become aware of ways in which we all fall short. You’ve never “arrived” when it comes to following the Lord — there is always more to learn, always more to change.

  8. Pingback: Around the Web–3.30.12 » Proclaim & Defend

  9. Pingback: A Tad bit More on: “God Told Me” and “I Have Peace About This” « theolog shmeolog

  10. Jon: While I agree with the clear biblical teaching regarding reverence to our Lord’s name. I am not so sure that you can make broad statements such as what appears above to all who use the statements mentioned above. I think that requires knowledge of intent and I think the only one who has that is the Lord. I understand your misgivings of people using them as “chritainese” and agree. We need to mean what we say and in particular the phrase “I will pray for you” I agree!! If you are going to do it then do it right now!! No time better than the present.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Kelly. I appreciate the comment.

      I don’t know people’s intent at all. “If you see a Christian doing this, perhaps you could send a private note asking him to stop. He’s probably not even thought about it.” My purpose was to challenge people to think about what we often unintentionally do. “OMG” puts in readers’ minds a vain use of our Lord’s name, whether that was our intent or not.

      If a Christian intentionally takes God’s name in vain, something is really, really wrong. But your comment lets me reiterate that this isn’t about intent. If someone says “God told me,” he probably hasn’t thought about it being a claim we shouldn’t make. And so on. There are things we should drop from our language / behaviour whether we were saying / doing them with bad intent or not. We all need to be more Christ-like.

      This is NOT a “beating people up for what they are doing” post. This is a “let’s help each other think about our words” post. Thus my final paragraph — but if that wasn’t clear enough, I am really glad for your comment, because it lets me emphasise that purpose. If there is something specific that gave the impression I think I know motives / intent, I would like to know so I can hopefully avoid giving that impression in future.

  11. Earl says:

    Note by Jon: I have removed the links from this comment, and the name, because I do not want to give publicity to a false teacher. I let it through moderation for a reason which I will explain in reply.

    Good day

    May you know now the real name of God in the Bible as revealed by (…) in the website :

    And also during this time of great disaster and suffering. Our religious pastors and priests advise us to call on the name of Jesus for protection and salvation. But as we call on Jesus’ name, the more the calamities and conflicts are getting worse and more people are dying and suffering.

    Why does this happen?

    In the Bible we can read that before Jesus died, he cried out :
    … “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matt.27:46 NKJV
    Why did Jesus cry out he was forsaken by God? If God forsook Jesus, how much more us who only call on Jesus?

    Are we suffering because we are making God angry by calling on a false god in the name of Jesus whom He has forsaken and not on His TRUE NAME and disobeying His commandments?

    It’s time we discover who Jesus in the Bible really is and learn God’s true decree about Jesus — was he forsaken by God to be punished by the rod of men for our sins OR for his OWN iniquity?

    I would like to share with you a link about a Bible exposition by my teacher, (…). May you read it with an open mind.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Some marks of a false teacher:
      1. Special knowledge that everyone else has been missing (in this case, the name of God).
      2. Denial that Jesus is God, or suggesting that there is disharmony in some way between the Father and Son.
      3. Suggesting that maybe Jesus wasn’t sinless.
      4. We need a specially enlightened teacher to teach us. (This is cultic. II John 2:27 refutes it).

      I let this comment stand because this kind of “special knowledge, if only people knew” teaching is a common mark of a false teacher, and I wanted to let my readers see it so they can be alert to it. It appeals to our intellectual pride, that WE KNOW the answers, I AM THE ONE that has discovered the truth. It is false.

  12. Melinda says:

    I am late in stumbling upon this post, but I also know it is due to God’s perfect timing. We just recently moved from Texas, where it isn’t hard to find a fellow Christian, to the mountains of Colorado, where it didn’t take us long to realize we are going to be scrutinized for what we believe. In the three months we’ve been here, I have heard people of all ages say “Oh my God” as flippantly as they say “see you later”. It led me to Google how we, as Christians, are to respond to this, and I was thankful to land on your post, as it enlightened me in other ways, as well. Keep writing!

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Melinda. This post still has a lot of people stumble upon it. (I suppose that is true spiritually as well.) I’m glad you found it beneficial.

      Of course, we don’t really expect those who aren’t Christians to act and speak as if they are. The troubling thing is that we Christians can be so easily drawn into saying and doing similar things, often without even thinking about it. I’m glad our God is gracious!

      May the Lord bless your service for Him in whatever path He takes you.

  13. cherie says:

    Its how you use His name Jesus that matters!

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, cherie. Of course the name “Jesus” matters, but many people who never misuse that name still dishonour the Lord. The point of this post was to encourage believers to think about many of the different ways we don’t give Him the honour and respect we should, and make those changes. It isn’t enough to just avoid swearing.

      “Jesus” means “Jehovah saves”, by the way. When we respect the name “Jesus” we also respect the name “Jehovah”.

  14. David says:

    Hi Jon,
    I appreciate your stand on honoring God’s name.
    Looks like you’re in the company of a lot of reformed thinkers on this issue. (Our pastor recently had a sermon on this and nailed us if we weren’t living 100% godly full-out lives for Him. See http://www.gracevalley.org/sermon_trans/2013/Glorifying_Gods_Name.html for the text)

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, David, great to hear from you!

      Our lives, our words, what we say and do intentionally, what we say and do unthinkingly, these all reflect how much we honour the Lord in our hearts, and teach us of our need to honour Him more.

      I’ve appreciated much that Pastor Mathew has written in the past. I’ll try to get to this soon.

  15. Carol says:

    I live in a small rural community and have been involved for years in a little bible study which has, for a couple of years now, been led by the pastor of the church. (Not the church I attend) This pastor has been more and more often using the OMG expression and it has really bothered me. Wanting to understand how to best confront her on it is what brought me to this site. I’m very grateful for the insiteful comments from everyone.
    What I am wondering about now is that often times we may feel a need to express some sort of expletive…an “Oh my!”…or “Yikes”…etc. but not wanting to use irreverent language…Is there anything at all that is appropriate? Or does it come down to what our heart is really saying? Can’t we maybe become kind of legalistic about this on some levels? , yet I don’t want to be afraid to speak up at all for fear of maybe using His name in vain. In another article someone suggested that even the phrase “God Bless you” when someone sneezes could be taking his name in vain because we really say it with out much thought about it.
    I am no longer sure how to close this so I’ll just say thank you. This has all been diffinitely very thought provoking!

    g before now I might have said something like “Blessings to you” but now I’m not sure I shoudh even


    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Carol. You describe a serious lack of spiritual discernment and leadership, in more than one way, though I’ll just keep to this one issue in this post. In any event, you could always refer anyone to this post if you think it would help them think about what they are saying.

      On expletives, perhaps Jesus words in Matthew 5:37 help: “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” As to your question about “what our heart is really saying,” this appears to say expletives generally “come of evil” — there is something behind them (in the heart) that isn’t good. I talked about wanting to be important and expletives in this post: https://mindrenewers.com/2012/11/29/why-is-jesus-christ-used-as-blasphemous-profanity/. An expletive wouldn’t have to have bad words to be driven by an attitude of pride. And we certainly don’t need to be using expletives to express anger, that’s going to end up being sinful, too.

      God does not want us to live in fear, but He does want us to train ourselves to speak in a way that shows respect for Him. I personally do not say “God bless you” when someone sneezes, because it is rarely meant or taken as a true spiritual statement. Even if >Imean< it if we are going to say it, rather than just using it as a habitual sign-off phrase which means nothing.

      I hope that helps a little bit! Keep reading your Bible and asking the Lord to make things very clear to you. That's a prayer He loves to answer.

    • Jason says:

      Instead of saying “Oh my God!” or “Oh my Gosh!”, some Christians would say “Oh my goodness!” which no longer uses the name of God in vain but are still able to express their feeling of surprise or excitement. For guys, we can also say “Oh man!” or “Oh boy!”

      Another word to avoid is the word “freaking” which is just a euphemism for another word Christians shouldn’t say. i.e. Instead of saying “It’s so freaking hot and humid”, Christians would say “It’s so hot and humid.”

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hello, Jason. I edited your good comment slightly, I hope you don’t mind. Please use my contact page if you want to know why.

        Yes, there are many things we should be careful about saying. I’ve come to the conclusion that “Oh my goodness” is something I can do without (https://mindrenewers.com/2014/10/15/curing-oh-my-goodness/).

        I’ll also note that “Oh boy!” may be fine for expressing excitement but is probably not a good idea for expressing anger, for the reason I cited just above in answering Carol.

  16. Dennis Laren Harden says:

    heres a list of term that i think is saying gods name in vain 1.good god 2.good good 3.good morning 4.good night 5.good golly 6.good love 7.good god 8.i swore to god 9.i swear to god 10.i sworn to god 11.gee 12.oh gee 13.good afternoon 14.good evening 15.good day 16.geez louise 17.gee wiz / gee whiz / gee wizz /gee whizz 18.gosh darn-it 19.got dang-it 20.oh my freaking gosh 21.oh my freaking god 22.oh my freaking golly 23.oh my freaking golly ned 24.gee willikers 25.gee wilikers 26.oh my golly 27.oh my god 28.oh my gosh 29.oh my goodness gracious 30.oh my goodness 31.oh my gracious 32.oh land 33.oh my land 34.my land 35.oh lo! 36.oh my lo! 37.my lo! 38.oh laws 39.oh my laws 40.my.laws 41.my goddess 42.oh my goddess 43.oh goddess 44.oh lanta 45.oh my lanta 46.my lanta 47.oh my jimminy cricket 48.jeeper creeper 49.jeepers creepers 50.jiminny cricket 51.jimminy crickets 52.oh jiminny cricket 53.my jimminy cricket

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Well, Dennis, I can’t say I want to spend a lot of time on listing things like that, and I’d disagree with some of them. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening are a way of telling someone you hope they will have a good morning or good day, etc.

      In general, however, we can do without the kind of things you’ve listed. Jesus said to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. If you read my follow-up post on why “Jesus Christ” is used as profanity, I think the same attitudes that lead people to use His name blasphemously lie beneath a lot of the expressions you’ve listed. We don’t need that kind of thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Goodness’, ‘gee’, ‘Jiminy Cricket’ and other substitutes are what you could say in shows like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Barney, Jake and the Neverland Pirates…

      • Jon Gleason says:

        It’s quite interesting that you should acknowledge these are “substitutes” in light of your other comments. Do you think the Lord who told us to avoid swearing and let our speech be Yea and Nay wants us to use substitutes that are designed to let everyone know the profanity the designers had in mind?

        I can understand a Christian saying ‘Jiminy Cricket’ without stopping to think that it is a substitute. It is hard for me to see how a Christian who loves his Lord Jesus Christ and knows it is a substitute would ever think it is appropriate. I would strongly urge you to ask yourself if your attitude towards this reveals the love and honour due the Saviour.

      • Anonymous says:

        Also, in “Play Ball,” an episode of Barney, you could hear “oh, G*d,” being said once by the dinosaur. Just watch the entire episode!

      • Jon Gleason says:

        I’m not sure what that really has to do, though, with what Christians should say….

  17. sarah says:

    i think that even saying o my gosh is also taking God’s name in vain
    no matter how you say it if what you are thinking is taking His name in vain you should not say it

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Sarah. Thank you for the comment. As I said above, saying “o my gosh” is a little more refined, but it is essentially the same thing.

      Certainly, if a person’s thoughts are taking God’s name in vain, they shouldn’t say it, however they say it. I agree entirely.

      But even if a person isn’t really thinking that way, and is just speaking casually and saying these things without thinking about it, it still isn’t reverential, is it? That’s why I said if you hear a believer saying such things, it’s a good idea to kindly point out to them that it really isn’t honouring God as they should. If their heart is towards God, they’ll appreciate it.

  18. Danny Doyle says:

    You do realize that the word “God” is an Old English word rooted in Indo-European language. The word God is closely related to the Germanic word gad (pronounced gohdt, meaning good), not YHWH (which is the tetragrammaton for the word Yahew). Your article is pointless if you don’t even understand the origin of the word. The most common and accepted form for the word God in the in the Middle East was El-ah (Aramaic) and El-ohim (Hebrew). So when a “Christian” uses the word “God”, they are not taking the Lord’s name in vain because that isn’t even the correct word anyway.

    1. http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/20240/what-word-did-jesus-use-for-god-in-aramaic
    2. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06608x.htm
    3. http://www.bibleanswerstand.org/God.htm

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Danny. “God” is the word used to translate the Hebrew El or Elohim. It is a name used to represent the One we worship, and is the most commonly used name for Him in the English language. As such, we should not treat it lightly (take it in vain).

      When Christians do the things I’ve described, they are not showing reverence to Jehovah-God.

      Whichever language a person speaks, they should show reverence to the words used to designate the Almighty in their own language. He is not One to trifle with or disrespect.

  19. peaceforeternity says:

    Hello Jon..this is a subject I discovered some time ago, and although I was immensely against people using ‘OMG’..I started to realise that some of the things I said were wrong. Dennis mentioned some common phrases..but there is alot of common sayings that are blasphemous. The worst thing for me is hearing the OMG thing coming out of people’s mouths, from all different walks of life. It jarrs me and makes me feel sick.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thank you for the comment. Yes, this article struck a chord with a lot of people.

      We do need to be patient with others. Most who say “OMG” have never really thought about the seriousness of it. Especially with believers, a gentle word can have a significant impact. But even unbelievers can be asked, “Oh, is He your God?” Maybe they’ll stop saying it — or maybe they’ll think about the fact that He ISN’T and they need Him to be. So perhaps we should see these things as an opportunity.

      Anyway, our greatest need is to first examine ourselves and always seek to have reverence and purity drive every aspect of our own lives.

  20. Pingback: OMG – Please, not again! | Defending. Contending.

  21. Ashley says:

    Thank you for this. I am so bad about saying, “Oh my gosh,” or “Oh my goodness,” and substitute curse words like darn or dang. Thank you for giving me something to think about and pray about. God bless you. 🙂

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thank you, Ashley. It won’t kill us to drop a few words here and there if it pleases our Lord, will it? 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing wrong with that! Characters in kids’ shows like Barney and Mickey Mouse say those words all the time, especially ‘goodness’ and ‘gee’.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Are you suggesting that the standard of Christian speech and behaviour is determined by what characters in kids’ shows say and do? Shouldn’t we first be asking what our Lord considers to be acceptable rather than asking what the world considers to be acceptable?

  22. Dane says:

    Yes…. This information is extremely helpful.. For I hesr people say
    “Oh my God! Are you serious!!
    And I tell them it’s not right to say God’s Name in that way! This is all the more the reason as of why people ought not say the things they say……..

  23. Gæstensgæsgæsgåsgass says:

    No intelligent answers here. Please, people, get over yourselves. I can say whatever I want. With consequences of course. I don’t say this word that often. Almost never in fact. But still, this is lame. Taking the Lord’s name in vain? You do know that “god” is another word for “deity”, right? So everytime someone says this, it could be any god from any religion. Thinking otherwise makes you look arrogant.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      I will let this comment through moderation, but I ask you to please check the comment policy before commenting again, or I’ll have to delete further comments. This comment failed that policy on several counts.

      That comment policy links to the purpose of this blog. This site is for Christians who want to be transformed to be more like what God wants us to be. It is not for people who think they can “say whatever I want.” It is for people who believe God has given us guidelines for speech and behaviour. You clearly have a very different perspective.

      Others are obviously welcome to read, and even to comment — if they are willing to show respect for the purpose of the blog and those who agree with that purpose.

  24. Anonymous says:

    “Oh my God/gosh” is a phrase of surprise, so it doesn’t mean you’re using his name in vain.

  25. Dear Pastor Gleason,

    I hope you’re doing great across the pond in Scotland!!

    neat topic, and one other thought to that does come to mind, is the fact that He’s telling folks, His people Israel, that they should not only watch out how they use His Holy Name, or as they would’ve called it instead of the intimate Jewish reference to the Yod Heh Vav Heh in Hebrew for LORD “The Name”, He was also telling them to watch out how you/we/I represent His Name or “My Name” as in ok look you’re my people Israel who are called by “My Name” reverence it and behave correctly, as well as in word, and in deed!! is that not pretty close as well? if we who are claiming to be followers of Christ, not only are we to show people how to live, but by our behavior, conduct, and language, the whole deal, or whole nine yards, or maybe even the whole ten yards, so to speak, etc., in other words we are to be reverent in our speech, and actions or else we are taking His name as Christians, in vain? same as James saying hey faith without works is dead etc.,? does that make any sense, I’m the slow one in the room so, sorry I’m such a rambler, haha

    oh and if I may, to the atheists, and all those internet trouble making trolls, as they are called, who come here to this very respectable site, by a very kind hearted tolerant man, looking for trouble here on Pastor Gleason’s site, you know very well what you’re doing here, and you know very well who we’re speaking of when we say the word GOD, so the question to all of you who wish to play this game to you is this what will you do with the man Christ Jesus ?? well?? now go and think about that and then who or what is your Final Authority?? we have our answer and we have the One who has all the answers who is the Ultimate final Authority!! The only Truth and The only Way, Jesus!!Pastor Gleason you’re too kind to those who would be mean spirited on your very own blog!! to that you deserve credit of truly showing Christ like spirit!! thanks!!

    May The LORD bless you and yours with many, many more years of fruitful service to us all, with health love, joy and peace in Jesus name always amen! have a blessed day and week!!

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, John Mark. Your first paragraph pretty much covers it. We treat His Name with respect, and we live in a way that honours His name since we bear it as Christians.

      As to others who comment, we should realise that some who respond have just never been taught to think through these questions, to consider every idle word. Too many so-called pastors have never taught their churches to give a holy God the reverence He is due, or to bring every thought and action into obedience to the Word of God. So it is not surprising that even some Christians may have trouble taking this in at first. That’s ok. We all have had our areas as we progressed in our Christian life where we weren’t what God wanted us to be.

      I find Philippians 3:15 helpful in this regard. Those who are wanting to follow the Lord will eventually be taught by Him the things they need to correct. Those who aren’t wanting to, well, there isn’t much that can be done.

      But whichever it is, I believe that II Timothy 2:24-26 gives the pastor instructions in to how he should respond.

      Every blessing!

  26. Pingback: OMG! (Oh my Gandhi!): Redeeming Blasphemy « StoneThePreacher.com

  27. We teach my grandchildren to say, “Oh my goodness”. Anything wrong with that?

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Elaine. That’s far better than saying, “Oh my God,” of course. But I’m not sure it is really what our Lord wants us to be saying, either. Do we have any “goodness” that we can refer to as “mine”? If not, aren’t we saying using important words in an empty way?

      Lots of people do say this, and it doesn’t really bother me much to hear it. But from my understanding of the Scriptures, I think it would be better to express ourselves in other ways. Here’s an article I wrote on it: https://mindrenewers.com/2014/10/15/curing-oh-my-goodness/

  28. Angie says:

    Saying OMG is not taking the Lord’s name in vain. His name is not God. His name is YahWeh. And I think our Lord is more concerned about our heart. If we follow Him, we would make a choice not to say these things. If we do not, well we know there is no gray area…you are either for Him or you are against Him, as evidenced by Revelation 3:16 about being lukewarm and spitting us out.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Angie. I apologise for the delay in clearing this through moderation, it got stuck while the blog was dormant.

      God also goes by the name or title “God” in both the Old and New Testaments. If it is not a name it is a title. But this sort of misses the point, in that to use this expression is to speak lightly or in an empty way of Him. It is not respectful.

      It is true that our Lord is more concerned about our heart. But as you rightly say, if we follow Him we would choose not to say these things. Yet, many Christians have never thought about this. I have heard from many who are delighted to have this pointed out to them and have changed their behaviour as a result. They want to please Him, and they never even thought about the fact that this isn’t really respecting Him. Hopefully, this will encourage Christians to give a little bit more thought to some of the ways we speak.

  29. McKelly says:

    When speaking to my younger brother, every other word he say,s is the GD word or the JC word. I have talked to him about it in the past to no avail.
    So my question is, would it be wrong of me to say Dam Satan, in response to him? At least until he see’s how annoying the GD and JC words are.
    God Bless and Thank You

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Well, my friend, I doubt that would have much influence on your brother. And Jude verses 8-10 suggest that it is not a good thing to speak that way even about Satan, evil as he is.

      I recommend that you read the article I linked to near the bottom of this one about why “Jesus Christ” is used as blasphemy. I’d be pretty sure that one of the reasons I gave in that article is what is driving your brother’s behaviour. Once you identify why he’s doing it, then maybe you can come up with an effective strategy. Ultimately, though, he’s doing it because he wants to. If you’ve told him it is offensive then you have to accept that he probably wants to be offensive.

  30. Diana Clayborn says:

    What are people meaning you shouldn’t write God. I’m confused. Please explain.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      I’m not saying you shouldn’t write God. I’m saying that when you do it should be with reverence, rather than as a throw-away line or an ejaculation that really has no relationship to Him.

      There are people who say you shouldn’t write God, and so will often write it G-d. That has its origins in Jewish traditions and not in the Bible. It is not something I correct when someone does it in a comment here because I believe it is meant to be a sign of respect. But I do not believe the Bible teaches it, and do not abide by it myself.

  31. Kimberly Owen says:

    I’m curious about whether it is taking Go’s name in vain when someone says praise the Lord, or glory to God or, hallelujah quite often in conversation. I don’t think that’s the way the early Christians spoke. It seems almost flippant. I mentioned to them that they may want to think whether or not they might be using God’s name in vain to say praise the Lord or glory to God so readily. What do you say? It seems so irreverent to me. I’m all for giving God thanks and praising Him, but to use it in conversation every other sentence just seems wrong to me.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Kimberly. I think it probably comes down to if it is respectful and truly praising the Lord, or if it has become an empty habit. If the person is truly praising/thanking the Lord, expressing gratitude for Him and His goodness, I think it is a wonderful thing. If they are sticking it in every time they take a breath, and it’s become the equivalent to taking a breath between sentences, then it may be a problem.

      But I’m glad I don’t have to be the one to judge these things. I can check myself, and encourage others to be reverential in how we speak of and address the Lord, but I don’t have to figure out the exact answer to your question. The most I can really say is that it is possible for good words to be spoken casually or even irreverently, and you may be describing something like that.

  32. Jason Jones says:

    The word “god” is not a name. Gods name is Yahweh and Jesus. Saying the word “god” in vain is NOT saying His name in vain. It is not saying His name at all.

  33. Thomas Gabriel Saul says:

    his name is not God or lord those are titles.take the title Lords of Parliament for example. A piece of wood is considered god to idol worshippers. Even the word Adonai and Elohim are titles. Psalms 82″ ye are gods “.The most high God aka El Elyon cast judgement on the 70 gods in this psalm. His name is AHAYAH Asher AHAYAH aka I AM that I AM or simply AHAYAH transliterated Ehyeh.
    God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.(AHAYAH Asher AHAYAH) This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM(AHAYAH) has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3: 13-14) Moses is the one who referred to him as God.
    The The old testament prophets refer to him as Adonai Tsevaot meaning lord of host and he says he won’t share his glory with another.
    calling him god would put him on the level of the counsil of god’s in psalm 82 therefore sharing his glory with lesser beings. Explain this , How do you distinguish what god your talking about if you can’t verbally emphasize the capital G?
    here’s an example of idol worship today:
    If you idolize the media which is a MEDIUM (look up the definition of medium and media)then you idolize the god of illusion medeia who is a Persian/Greek god.
    her name is where we get the word media as in mass media, or the name of the city media and the mede people. when one idolizes the media says god that person is referring to their primary god the media not AHAYAH . If you spend more time channeling medeias illusions through her medium then medeia is your god therefore you are not using AHAYAHs name in vein when you say omg. Does that make sense? Here’s something to really prey and meditate about:
    The English language causes everyone to balspheme and use his name in vein every time you refer to your selves as IAM. Every time you refer to your self in a way that’s insulting, or declaring your actions you use his actual name that he gave Moses in vein. His name is not God. And even if you do use it in vein, it doesn’t matter because Paul fooled all of you into transgression of the commandments by not keeping the SABBATH holy. SABBATH is Friday night to Saturday night. plus most of you don’t even know the god of Abraham Isaac and Jacob real name to begin with anyways so why are you even worried? Break one commandment you break them all. His name is AHAYAH Asher AHAYAH and he will not share his glory with another through a title such as god. As for Jesus the word Jeesus is not the name of the son of the most high God or a transliteration. The j is pronounced yod and there was no j 400 years ago. No j in Aramaic, Greek or Hebrew there fore no gee sound in the name of the son of the most high.
    Here’s an example of this error:
    In Hebrew they say their names are Yahovah ,Yeshuah. In Greek its Iehovah, Iesous. In english it’s Jehovah ,Jesus. Everyone of those is supposed to be pronounced with yod or YAH. So Jesus can’t sound like geeesus if Jehovah has a Jah sound, get it?? Y’all need to wake up. Y’all been fooled. Ahayas people will be destroyed for lack of knowledge bottom line. his name is EMMANUEL not geesus. You can’t go wrong with EMMANUEL it’s used in Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 8:8 , and declared by Gabriel in Matthew 1:23. Remember scriptre cannot be broken folks. Abbas name is AHAYAH and the SABBATH is Friday evening to Saturday evening. Omg isn’t even close to a blasphemy or using his name in vein . I’d be more careful about how you use the name
    “I AM” Then omg.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      1. Any reference to the Almighty that is not respectful to Him and refers to Him lightly is a violation of this commandment. When someone stands before the Lord and has to answer for their disrespect, they won’t be able to say, “Oh, but I didn’t actually use Your name (Jehovah, Yahweh, Ahayah, however you want to pronounce it).”

      2. Since the Hebrews didn’t write the vowels until many centuries later, no one knows exactly how our God pronounced His name, and I don’t engage in debates as to the right pronunciation. The problem is not how people pronounce His name, but that they don’t believe and obey Him.

      3. He is repeatedly called “God” in both the Old and New Testaments, so your question about distinguishing Him from false gods is irrelevant. I know of Whom I am talking when I say “God”, so do my readers, and actually so do you.

      4. Your statement about Paul shows you are a false teacher, denying the authority of inspired Scripture. Peter was authorized by Jesus (or, Yasous, if you prefer that pronunciation), and Peter specifically identified Paul’s writings as Scripture.

      5. Your statements about “I am” are false, too. Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and many others said “I am.” Samuel was specifically told by the Lord to say, “I am come to sacrifice” (I Samuel 16:2). No one thinks that meant that the eternal God was come to sacrifice. “I Am,” when used as a name, belongs to God alone. When used as common language it bears no particular significance except the responsibility to be honest.

      I approved this comment but it shows you to be divisive, heretical in your comments about Paul and the Sabbath, and actually somewhat ridiculous in your comments about “I am.” I won’t be approving any more comments from you like this one.

  34. Jessica McEachern says:

    Very interesting, insightful article! Thank you.

    I am ashamed to admit that I was very guilty of this sort of talk, especially at a younger age (I’m now in my forties). I worked on my language more and gradually dropped the “OMG” and other blasphemous utterances. I do admit I will still say “Oh my gosh”, “Oh my goodness” (or just simply “my goodness”) or “goodness gracious” from time to time. Although I knew they were pretty much euphemisms/substitutions, I wasn’t as uncomfortable uttering them as I certainly was with the former. But if “oh my goodness” or “my gosh” are still very disrespectful, are there any alternatives you could suggest? I really want to improve myself but I’m still unsure of what would be okay.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, Jessica. I think there are levels of disrespect and that “Oh my goodness” is not as disrespectful as a lot of other things. But I still think we’re better off not using it.

      Alternatives? Well, Jesus implied we probably don’t need to use these kinds of expressions at all when He said, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37). Say “yes” and “no” as appropriate, certainly.

      I saw “Wow” sometimes. 🙂 And “Oops” and “Oh, no!” and “Yay!” I can’t tell you there’s anything wrong with those. I don’t think God wants us to live in terror of saying something we shouldn’t. If it’s obvious, don’t do it. If it’s not obvious but actually, you can see the connection with something you know you shouldn’t be saying, then you probably shouldn’t do it, either. If you can’t really see anything wrong with it or that it’s just disguising something wrong, I’d say you probably don’t have to worry about it. If God wants you to drop it He’ll probably make it clear pretty quickly.

      On questions like this one, I like this:
      Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

      Have a mind towards pleasing God and if there’s something God wants you to drop, He’ll reveal it to you.

  35. Liza says:

    Thank you for addressing this Issue. A great number of Christians are not aware of this or maybe they are not REAL Christians at all that’s why they are not giving the REVERENCE due to our ALMIGHTY FATHER and his Son Jesus Christ ( Yeshua Hamasiach ) our Lord Saviour and King. It grieves my hearts that Our LORD GOD is taking for granted by Many.( In movies, everyday conversation, cursing words, the expression like but not limited to “oh my …”, JC! in every sentence ).It becomes an expression by many people!!! They do not regard him high. But it only proved something, That Yeshua is the only True Way to Salvation, a DIVINE being Sent by the ALL POWER MOST HIGH . His Name should be Honored, Praised, Love, Cherish, Revered, NOT TAKING IT LIGHTLY !! for He is the Most Precious Being . It is also my believe that we should be careful on how we speak when we are referring to our Creator and Saviour for HIS name is HOLY. Holy indeed.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      It is true that there are people who claim to be Christians but their lack of reverence may show they are not. It is also true that there are people who are Christians but lack the reverence they should have because they’ve not been taught. Fortunately, our God is not only HOLY but GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL!

      And I might also add, as the perfect Father, He is very, very patient with His children who are all of us slow to learn many things we should learn.

  36. Lyric says:

    There’s a lot of reprogramming to be done for us as believers we are constantly evolving, more and more with the insight we receive. I think your break down of using the lords name in vain is a good one and definitely gave me a better perspective on things. Although I do not really use those things repeatedly maybe once in a blue moon an oh my goodness may come out. I can now think back to this post.

    However I don’t think anything is wrong with ppl who like the cute bumper stickers, t-shirts etc. The world we live in is so filled with subliminals from the enemy, seeds are constantly being planted. I find a Jesus loves you sticker or something similar a comforting reminder for those in need of it.

    I don’t see how using “God told me” as using his name in vain. I find it’s always best to get conformation from God if it’s regarding a prophecy. But when it comes to someone’s testimony and their personal relationship with God using the words “God told me” is giving recognition and acknowledgement. Nor will I judge those who say it when if they believe God put it on their heart to say how else are you to deliver a message from God without stating where it comes from? It would almost be like taking credit for knowledge or clarity God has blessed upon you to share.

    I do agree somewhat with the term God gave me peace when it comes to making decisions against what God seeks out for us to do. If we’re not careful this could easily lead us to leaning on our own understanding as a justification for our wrong doings but that to me is a grey area given what I think ppl mean by that is they’ve made peace with God regarding a wrongdoing as God has already granted us free will to those choices as well as being aware that we’ll make them. Sometimes God giving peace is God really giving us grace over those decisions allowing us to be at peace.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      I apologize for the delay in clearing this through moderation. Responsibilities arising out of my wife’s passing caused me to decide to let this slip.

      Re: bumper stickers, etc, if the primary message is cleverness or cuteness, it is using God’s name to exalt our own cleverness or cuteness. If the primary message is to honour God, it is of course appropriate.

      As to “God told me,” God didn’t tell me to believe anyone who says it. He tells me that everyone needs to be checked by Scripture. So the fact that someone says “God told me” is an irrelevant statement that I should disregard, and thus an empty use of His name. If someone says, “I believe God told me to do this,” that is an honest statement of their belief. If they simply say, “God told me,” that is an absolute claim to authority that they have no right to claim. They should not do that.

      I don’t believe God gives peace or grace allowing us to be at peace if we are planning to do something that is wrong. He certainly gives forgiveness and the peace that comes with it, when we have sinned and we repent and confess that sin. But if someone says God has given peace over something wrong they are planning to do, they are either lying or deceived. He doesn’t do that.

  37. don Rice says:

    You are very intelligent. But God is way above your context.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Due to the after-effects of my wife’s passing, I’ve not cleared comments from moderation for a while. I apologize for that.

      I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. My intelligence is not relevant. The only thing that is relevant is what God says and are we going to believe, obey, and honor Him. He is not just way above “my context” (whatever you mean by that), He is way above everything about any of us, you and me and everyone else included.

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