Friday, July 10, 2009

His Name

On my blog, I try not to tackle too many "controversial issues." I want this to be a place of encouragement for other women (not a place for controversy or debate), and my hope is to draw more readers (not scare them away with overbearing opinions). But there is something happening in Christian circles that I cannot remain silent about.

Have you watched any television lately? Any movies? I am disturbed by how using the Lord's Name in vain has become normalized. Movies with a "G" rating (for example, "Hotel for Dogs") have children speaking God's Holy Name in vain! Programming on the Family channel - it's called Family channel, people - same thing. I will give credit to Disney, as I have NEVER heard the Lord's name used in vain on any of their shows (ie., Hannah Montana, Cory in the House) nor their movies.

Honestly, it is getting frustrating! You think you can take your kids to a movie rated "G" and expect that there will be little in that movie that would not be appropriate for the children's eyes and ears... I am learning to check out each movie and show we are considering viewing on pluggedin before we view (but sometimes I still forget and am disappointed). I try to use these disappointing experiences as an opportunity to teach my kids about the holiness of God's name, so that they grasp the importance of not doing as they do in the movies.

Though it makes my heart heavy, this misuse of God's name doesn't surprise me. After all, we know that the world is a sinful place and the things of this world are not the things of God. What I find completely shocking, though, is when I hear our Father's name used in this manner by Christian people! Hearing those who love God speak his name with anything but reverence knocks the wind out of my chest and crushes my spirit. I can only imagine what it does to the heart of God.

Recently, I have heard our Abba's name used as an exclamation point (as in, "Oh my goodness!") by Christian leaders - in large public forums. Just yesterday, by a Christian woman teaching a seminar to other Christian women. A few months back, from the pulpit of a large, well-known church. To say that I was shocked is a gross understatement! I wonder if this makes God weep...or rage?

There is a part of me that says, “just ignore it…so many people say it…movies and TV shows that are rated “G” use it…it’s not surprising that even Christian people are beginning to talk this way.” But I just keep hearing the Lord speak to my heart and tell me, “Take a stand for My Name! It is Holy! It will not be misused! You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7)

So many people in my life casually use His name as an exclamation point, or even as a swear word, and it pierces me (I can’t imagine how deeply it pierces Him). For many of them, there is no understanding of what they are doing because they don’t Him, and my saying something would likely only turn them off of the Jesus I love. But to hear others who love Jesus use His name – the most majestic name in all the earth (Psalm 8:9) - as an expletive…I feel completely weighed down with the burden of reminding them of Whom they serve.

So here is a question for you: What do you say or do (what should I say or do) when hearing people use the Lord's name in vain? Should our response vary depending on whether that person is a believer or not?

And a challenge for you (and me): Take one day's quiet time and dedicate it to digging through the Bible and finding references to God's name - how it should or shouldn't be used, the holiness of it, how He wants it glorified, etc.

And if you love Jesus, but find yourself unthinkingly using any variation of His name with anything other than awe and reverence, I would ask you why?

Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. ~Psalm 34:3 (emphasis mine)


  1. I AGREE!!! I even hated it when my kids were useing OMG(oodness) - oh course they did not add the ending, but they said that is what it meant. Since most people mean it the other way I told them no way did I want them to say it (insert rolling eyes from teenagers here).

    Crazy how it is not even considered a swear any more. I cringe every time I hear it.

  2. Christine, I also have asked my kids not to say "oh my gosh" because it just sounds too close. And with kidspeak, the words aren't always clear. I've told them that I don't want anyone to make the mistake of thinking they're using His name in vain, b/c we want others to know that we love and honour God.

  3. Great Post! I too am appalled at the gross misuse of our Precious Lord's name.

    Rated G movies are quickly becoming those pg movies and the pg/pg 3 are becoming R rated and R . . . well trash comes to mind.

  4. Great post! I would also like to know how to respond when a believer/non-believer uses His precious name in vain. Gives me something to think about as I think I use "oh my goodness" in my own vocabulary...thanks Tyler :)

  5. I hate it too. And I would love to have a Christ-like response especially when I hear those I know are believers use His name in vain. I just don't know what it should be.

    I'm not sure about unbelievers.

    Maybe I'll post the same question on my blog and see if we can come up with something.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

  6. The only thing I've ever done is jokingly say, "yes, he hears you," or "oh, were you asking God for something." However, when it's unbelievers - they just kind of look at you like you're some kind of a freak(and I'm okay with that). What it did result in was them not using those words around me as much so it did create some awareness.

    What really bothers me is believers who say they don't mean anything bad by it and therefore feel it's okay.


  7. I used to say this all the time before college days - it really is quite habitual for most people that do it. And really - how are they (unbelievers) supposed to know that it offends if we don't say something? My sister has started this and I'm worried my kids will hear it! I remember changing my nasty habit when someone actually pointed it out to me though so it really can be worth it to say something...

    We must be more willing to help keep His name spoken respectfully...

  8. Although I agree that the phrase to which you refer is not really appropriate, can I just throw another wrench into the works here and point out that "God" is not actually God's name; it's a title?

    More than hearing unbelievers say, "Oh, my ***," it bothers me that Christians have completely erased His name from our vocabularies. It is even missing from our Bibles. When the Bible says, "The name of YHWH is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe," (just one example of many) and we remove His name, we really lose something.

    Perhaps we would have a greater reverence for it if we actually used His name in the first place.


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