Honor God’s Name (Exodus 20:7)

Is saying “God” wrong? For many years people speak the name of God for all kinds of situations rather than addressing God himself. When people get upset they will say “Jesus Christ” or “Oh God.” Today is the popular OMG shorthand when texting which stands for “Oh my God.” If you grew up in the pews, then you might have heard that this is taking the Lord’s name in vain, which is the third commandment. Is this what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain? Is this what God was condemning? This particularly came to mind for me a few years ago with Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She was a radio talk show host in Los Angeles for a long time and then some time later went national which practical and often godly advice to people who were calling in with relationship problems. She is Jewish but at some point was called out by a caller for saying, “Oh God” because she was breaking this commandment. She responded that she was not taking the Lord’s name in vain and that the caller needed to go look at what this commandment was really about. So this struck me as I happened to hear that episode and wondered if Christians have misunderstood the command God gave.

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