Recently I watched a video of people being startled by a person moving around a building and standing like a mannequin. No one was expecting anything to be in these spaces, so they were alarmed and scared with each new turn. The interesting thing to me is that almost without exception, people responded by saying, “Oh my God!!”

I find this interesting because one of the ten commandments specifically addresses this issue. The third command says, “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 – NIV 2011) The Israelite people were so concerned about this command that they would substitute the name “Lord” for God to avoid misuse. That is why you may run across the word “Lord” in all capital letters in your English translation of the Old Testament. This is where they would not say the name of God for fear they were misusing it.

Whenever I talk to someone about this, the usual answer is, “I don’t even think about it. It is just an expression and has nothing to do with faith.” Honestly, that was the point of the command. God did not want his name to become so trivial that it was used without thought. He wants to be separate from all other names. He is Holy.

Maybe this expression has not slipped into your language as a believer, and you have nothing of which to concern yourself. But if it has become a regular statement that you use, I would challenge you to eliminate it from your speech. I know it may not seem like a big deal to you, but it was important enough to God to make his top ten list. I am convinced he deserves our respect.

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