Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Can or Should a Christian text "OMG"?

If you spend anytime on social networking sites, or even on the internet at all, you will see the common acronym of “OMG” which traditionally stands for “oh my God”.

Some people would argue that they do not mean “oh my God” when they type those letters or that the acronym itself has recently taken on its own meaning, all of which may be true. 

For the purpose of this post,  the phrase “oh my God” or it’s counterpart OMG will be examined and it will be asked whether or not it is appropriate for a person to use God’s name in this way. This is not a discussion of the appropriateness of certain euphemisms  such as “gosh” or “golly” as definitions of such words do change over time, but instead this article is concerned with the aforementioned phrase of “oh my God”, or an abbreviation that means the same.

Many would say that “oh my God” or “OMG” is just an expression of emotion, excitement or disgust in some fashion. It is often said that one does not say it with the thought of God Himself in mind, and that it is just an expression. Is such an expression appropriate? This writer is of the conviction that God’s name is holy and to use it flippantly would be irreverent and sinful.

When Jesus gave us the model prayer, He begun with the phrase “our Father in heaven hallowed be your name”. God’s name is holy and we should treat it as that.

A blogger by the name of John Dobbs presents 5 times when using the phrase “oh my God” would be appropriate. This writer would caution against using the phrase or the acronym in any other way but these. Let’s always treat God with reverence and respect.

1. When Repenting -
  • “And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, saying: "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today” (Ezra 9:5-7).
2. When Requesting -
  • “O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!” (Psalm 71:12).
3. When Obeying -
  • “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
4. When Interceding -
  • “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” (Daniel 9:19).
5. When Praising -
  • “I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel”  (Psalm 71:22).

Even when one does not mean “oh my God” when they type the letters “OMG”, it may be read by the person on the other end as such and thus cause them to stumble. God is Holy and Awesome and deserves our praise and reverence. One should always treat His matchless name with respect.

Post by Cliff Sabroe with citation of John Dobbs. Scripture quotations from English Standard Version BIble.