“Oh my G–!”
I hear this a lot, even in Christian circles, and I can’t help thinking about what God told the Israelites: “The LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name.” His Name is a holy thing, not to be trifled with or trivialized, not to be used as a common swear word.
I know a priest who often tells people, “I’d rather you use the F-word than say that.” He has a point. Certain four-letter words are “bad” only because our culture has set them apart as profanity. But to use a sacred Name as a casual profanity is far worse.
God’s Name is so holy that Jews often refer to Him simply as “Hashem,” which means, “the Name.” They are hesitant to even pronounce the word at all, lest they misuse it. Some of them avoid writing out all three letters of His Name in English, using “G-d” instead.
I heard a story about a quiet, reserved Christian who was waiting for a trim in a barber shop where everyone was dropping God’s Name like bits of hair waiting to be swept into the garbage. The man cringed in silence for a while, but finally could stand it no longer. He stood up. “Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!” he shouted to the stunned group. Then he sat down.
I know someone else who told me that every time she hears someone take God’s name in vain, she prays the first part of the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.”
I have taken up this practice myself, as often as I remember to do so. I say a prayer for the person who has, perhaps unknowingly, denigrated a beautiful, fearsome, glorious Name. I try to counteract the blasphemy from another’s lips to restore proper order and honor what has been dishonored.