I actually had another topic in mind to write about for this article, but I just scrolled through Facebook prior to beginning my Biblical research, and I couldn’t help but notice how prevalent taking God’s Name in vain is on social media and even in verbal conversation. I notice that on Facebook many people (including professed Christians) use a lot of acronyms to represent words that take God’s Name in vain without actually saying these words. I have even seen some people use acronyms to describe other curse words which are shocking to me as well. I wonder if these people would walk into a worship service and say some of the things that their posts have in them. I am including shared posts in this category as well.
Titus chapter 2 verses 7 and 8 state that we should be, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good work: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” This means that our speech should be so pure that no one can say that we show ourselves to be bad examples to others. A good rule of thumb, in my opinion, to go by when we are monitoring how we speak is to think about whether or not we would wish to hear the same words said by an innocent child. I should hope my readers are not the type of immature adults who think it is “cute” when a child uses a curse word. So, unless you are one of those people, the rule of thumb I mentioned should put things into a better perspective. “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as the little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
Since we know, as Christians, that God does not wish for us to take His Name in vain, what exactly does this mean? This means that anything we say that mentions God, but does not exalt Him is taking his name in vain. For example, saying things like “Praise God!” or “Thank God!” in appreciation to His kindness and the blessings He has bestowed on us is acceptable in the Sight of God. However, when something bad, unpleasant, or shocking happens, many people find themselves saying things like “Oh my….” and placing God’s Name in that phrase. I know it is a very common phrase, and it even has its own acronym on social media, but just because it is a popular phrase doesn’t make it right in God’s eyes. Along with this, any word or phrase that curses God’s Name is also unacceptable just as taking the Lord’s name in vain as the “Oh my…” phrase does is unacceptable to God. Think about whether or not the way you use God’s Name will help bring someone to Christ or push him or her away from obeying the Lord. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29).
Just because not all words or phrases that are considered “bad words” mention God, does not mean they are acceptable by Him. Matthew 5:37 states “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” This means that any idle word that we speak that does not exalt Him who created us is not pleasing to God. Therefore, what are termed as “four letter words” and other nasty phrases that are commonly used in verbal speech and social media would fall in the category of being “of the evil” that is spoken about in Matthew. This includes the acronyms of “bad words” and phrases that are used in social media. Some people, including Christians who use social media fall into the trap of “sharing” a post that, in itself has nothing negative in it, however, the name of the person or group from which the post originated could have a bad word or phrase in it. Therefore, one must be careful in what he or she says in a post as well as what is in the post or name of the post one shares. A Christian must always guard his or her influence and as I said in the beginning of this article, a Christian should think about whether or not he or she would walk into a worship service and say the same things that some of his or her social media posts and “shares” say. Sometimes it’s easier to take God’s Name in vain and use other demeaning words and phrases when you are behind a silent and faceless computer screen. However, even in this situation, God is always watching! “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).
As Christians, we are to be in the world but not of the world. Therefore, it is part of being Christians that we must set ourselves apart from those that are unfaithful around us. This not only pertains to our actions, but to our words as well. We must prove ourselves obedient to God, which in turn will lead to God showing His appreciation to us. If we cannot control our tongues, however, we must answer to God on the day of judgment. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). Idle words are not only “bad” words and words that take God’s Name in vain, but also unkind words spoken against another person. I hope that by taking this time to study on how Christians should speak will help others focus more on using their tongues to glorify God and edify others instead of the opposite. I know that by studying the Scriptures more on this topic has helped me continue my focus on how good and merciful the Lord is, and how everyone should obey Him and keep His commandments!