Can you remember a time when you picked something up off the ground with the very tips of your thumbnail and pointer finger? Dangling it a stretched arms length away from your body. Twisting your wrist left and right, trying to decipher exactly what the item is, or at least what it used to be. Now that’s true trash. When it’s so dirty, smelly and smashed, you cannot identify its original purpose.
Now think – have you ever misused God’s name? Carelessly tossed His name into a conversation as an expletive? – “Oh my G**! We have to get together for lunch.” Used our God as a common exclamation in happy surprise or angry disgust? – “J****! How did he fumble that ball again?” This is sinful verbal trash, and this trash can have a lasting, negative effect on our souls. Here is God’s third commandment, taken from the Bible’s New International Version.
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
Regrettably, over the past decades we have designated this commandment to be of little importance in the way we communicate. We used to agree that tough threatening guys shouting, “G** damn you!” in a back ally fight was wrong. Yes – it was said in haste and anger. However, we still understood that kind of language as offensive and unacceptable. But now, over a short course of time, our attitudes towards God have changed. We not only use His name wrongly in anger, we also disrespect Him with our unconcerned attitude.
We lack deep reverence and esteem for His holy name, each time we nonchalantly express it as an exclamation! We have accepted 12-year-old girls giggling and shopping at the mall, cheerfully texting “OMG” (acronym for Oh My G**), to their BFFs (Best Friend Forever) about designer jeans on sale. We accept it because we believe there is no malice in their hearts. And we find no offense in the bland statement, “Oh my G**! Why can’t I ever find a sharp pencil in this house?”, because we view it as an insignificant flippant remark. Not meant to harm anyone.
However, the references to God in these statements try to pull His name down to our commonness on earth. Using God’s name flippantly does not lift Him up in respect or glory. OMG and Oh my G**! are repeatedly misused in conversations, texting, movies, television, and print. Our Lord’s name is so often misused, it’s as though we think we can not make a point or show expression, without exclaiming “OMG” or “Oh my G**!” in conversation. We daily spew His name from our lips like something discarded or worthless, disparaging or abusive language, referring to nothing significant – all definitions of trash!
Let us start to refrain from our habitual, flippant misuse of trashing our Almighty LORD’s title – God; and instead, worship it with our whole heart, as He deserves. Lift Him up.