Bible study is in full swing. You’re sitting across from one of your friends, discussing a passage of Scripture. As she shares her personal experience with the story, expressive and excited, you hear her say, “And I was like—oh my God, it’s finally making sense!”
It happens more often than you might think. Or perhaps you’re well acquainted with the habit of using the Lord’s name in vain, even in Christian conversation. Perhaps you’ve tried to stop, but old habits die hard. Perhaps you have a friend who doesn’t see the importance of this issue. Either way, this post is for you!
Is It Really Wrong?
Confronting a Christian who frequently says “Oh my God” is only effective if you know why this issue matters. Is swearing really wrong?
From the most fundamental standpoint, we can look to the Ten Commandments as proof that it is:
You shall not misuse the Lord’s name. (Exodus 20:7)
But God wasn’t being arbitrary when He issued this command. I shared about this in my blog post “I’m a Christian, and I Cuss a Little”:
“The names of God and Jesus don’t just have weighty meaning; they have great power. The Lord’s prayer says that God’s name is to be hallowed (Matthew 6:9). Philippians 2:10-11 says that “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow… and every tongue confess” that He is Lord. In Acts, Luke states that “under no other name” can anyone on this earth be saved for eternity—not Buddha, not Allah, not Joseph Smith or Reverend Moon—Jesus, and Jesus alone… It is not okay to waste the power of the name of Jesus on anger or frustration. And while this may seem harsh, to speak God’s name in such a way is demeaning, irreverent and worse—it breaks the very law of God.”
When we are irreverent and careless with God’s name, we aren’t grasping who He is.
We Honor Those We Love
Have you ever heard the phrase “blood is thicker than water”? It’s usually applied to the loyalty we hold to family members. Though they often annoy us, no one else is allowed to hurt them. We honor those we love.
When we take God’s name in vain, this carelessness reveals a lack of loyalty. The closer you are to God, the more revolting it is to use His name in a demeaning way. We can know a lot about God without truly knowing and loving Him. That’s why you hear people taking His name in vain at Bible studies and church—they know about God and perhaps they walk with Him, but they aren’t close enough to Him on a regular basis to hate the idea of scorning His name.
Let Your “Yes Be Yes”
So how do we change? We start by following Jesus’ words to let our “yes be yes” and our “no be no” (Matthew 5:37). The temptation to swear usually comes when we’re using too many words in general. By stepping back, restraining our tongues and simply answering “yes” or “no,” we recognize the temptation to say “Oh my God” when it comes and actively reject it.
Second, we take this time to draw near to God. Learn about His character. I suggest starting with a study of the names of God! By studying what His names mean, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for Him—which will in turn guard your heart, mind and mouth.
Finally, it won’t be easy. Jesus never said it would be. But He has promised to be our Help.
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27)
The Spirit of God testifies through us to the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. We can’t testify to Jesus and mock Him at the same time. Let’s allow our words to bring Him honor—not pain.