It’s like nails on a chalkboard.
Every time I hear someone use the phrase “Oh my God!” or “Jesus Christ!” as a normal every day expression, I feel a knot in my stomach. Just typing them for use as an example in this post made me pause to pray an apology to God.
Please, can we all stop misusing the name of the Lord?
You should know I'm not totally innocent either. I wasn’t raised as a church going, active Christian, but I was raised to know God exists. I was also raised to know it’s a bad thing to use His name in vain.
As a rebellious teenager and later twenty-something desiring to fit in, I followed the crowd and said it too. Even though I knew better. Even though I knew I was crossing a line I shouldn't cross. After all - it was just a few words. Not that big of a deal, right?
Actually, it is kind of a big deal.
When we speak, people around us hear the words coming out of our mouths. They also hear the intent coming from our heart. Regardless of whether or not we use the Lord's name in a fit of anger or if it's used "all in good fun," what others actually hear when we say those words is that we don't really respect God.
These days I’m a Christian mom to two very impressionable little girls and this issue of misusing the Lord's name is becoming more and more of a problem.
Peers, neighbor kids, family members and other grownups spout off "OMG" as frequently as the word "like" is used in the middle of a sentence. There's no hesitation. No second thought about it. The words just roll off the tongue effortlessly.
I realize I probably seem like I'm standing on my soapbox here but somebody needs to say it.
It's not okay!
Why we shouldn’t use the Lord’s name in vain:
1. It’s one of the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:7 says:
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
God commands us to treat Him and His name (in any form) with reverence.
Think about it.
Our God created heaven and earth and everything in it.
He already knows the precise moment each one of us will draw our last breath.
He knows every hair on my head and your head.
He provides everything we enjoy. Everything!
He comforts and carries us when life gets hard.
When the world leaves us to mourn our circumstances alone, God's always there.
Each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by the very hand of God! (Psalm 139)
Praise the Lord!
He deserves respect.
2. Believe it or not, many people actually take offense to it.
It’s not okay! For the same reason we shouldn’t speak derogatory about someone’s weight or the color of their skin, we also shouldn’t be saying things that are knowingly disrespectful to another person’s faith. It's a matter of common courtesy.
3. Our children repeat (and share) everything they hear! To you. To me. To their friends.
My daughters are currently 5 years old and 8 years old. I don’t want them spewing out profanities of any kind, certainly not those offensive to our faith.
But kids that age mimic each other in hopes of fitting in and being accepted. I get it! I was that age once too.
As parents, what can we do about this growing problem?
Our children will always be exposed to behaviors and things we don’t like or want for them. Short of keeping them in a bubble 24 hours a day, we can't really control this.
What we can do is choose to be intentional in teaching them right from wrong as well as good language etiquette.
---> Start by reading and discussing the Ten Commandments (can be found in the old testament, Exodus 20) together as a family.
Share how you personally learned the importance of treating God (and His name) with respect. Use examples and stories they can relate to. Explain why those words and phrases are considered offensive, then talk about when it is appropriate to use them, such as during praise and worship. Be clear in your expectations of their use of appropriate language going forward.
Keep in mind you'll need to continuously remind them of this rule, especially if their main circle of friends speak the words often. Don't give up though. Be consistent. They are listening.
---> Offer suggested alternatives.
Instead of saying “OMG!” to express their excitement, shock, or frustration, teach them to say something like “Nuts!” or “Woohoo!” I have a tendency to say "Oh my goodness!" as my form of expression.
---> There's something to be said for garbage in, garbage out. Teach them Philippians 4:8:
…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.
Speak those things too!
When our mind is filled with goodness, goodness is what flows from our heart and goodness is what flows from our mouth.
Finally, offer grace.
None of us are perfect. Neither are our children. Instruct them. Encourage them. Set a good example. Correct them when necessary. And pray for God to use the Holy Spirit to bridge the gaps.
How do you feel about this topic? What has worked for you as you’ve taught your children not to speak the flow of the crowd, but to instead speak goodness?
Latest posts by Rosann Cunningham (see all)
- The Secret to Being a More Productive and Confident Woman - December 4, 2013
- Celebrating Christmas eBook Bundle Full of Traditions, Gift Ideas, Recipes, and More! - December 2, 2013
- Christmas Planning Resources - December 2, 2013