A third grader in the kids’ Bible club spilled a cup of her water and exclaimed, “Oh God!”
While helping her clean it up, I said quietly, “Cindy, it’s better if you say ‘Oh No!’ or ‘Oh My!’ or even ‘Oh my goodness!’ instead of ‘Oh God.'”
She looked at me questioningly. “Why?”
“When we say ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ in the way you just did, it is considered swearing. It’s being disrespectful to God. He does not want us to misuse His name, especially when we’re feeling frustrated or angry.”
During our lesson, I decided to work in a discussion on the Third Commandment. This was new to some! I explained that many people swear in this way out of habit, without thinking. “But it offends God when we misuse His name. We are also breaking the Third Commandment which says, ‘Thou shalt not misuse the name of the Lord your God.’ It must be very important to God if He put it number three on His list! He even put it before murder, lying and stealing!” I encouraged any of the students who had ever done this to confess it as sin and then thank God for forgiving them.
The next day I received a call from Cindy’s mother. “My Cindy confronted me last night about my language,” she began. “I want to thank you for opening my eyes. I didn’t realize what I’d been saying. I never thought of it as swearing, or as sin until Cindy told me what she’d learned yesterday at club.” Then she added, “She told me to say ‘Oh No!’ instead of ‘Oh God!'”
A joyful relief welled up in me. I expected there might be negative repercussions. That’s always a risk when we take a stand for God. Never did I expect such a positive response, and so soon! I praised God for His faithfulness and for allowing me to be encouraged in this way.
- 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
- [Have you ever been bold enough to speak to someone about their profanity? What kind of response did you get? To leave a comment click on this story’s title. Then scroll to the bottom of page.]
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