A year 6 girl was recently singled out by a teacher and hit with a verbal harangue about her language. The teacher pulled the student out of the group immediately and delivered a sermon about inappropriate language which was offensive to Christians. During the rebuke, the teacher mentioned the fact that "we hear it all the time on the television" but that doesn't make acceptable. As I watched the drama unfold, I reflected on my own feelings towards the use of the saying for which the year 6 girl was reprimanded. "Oh my God!" Was I offended? Am I offended? I recalled my careless uttering of the word "bloody" back in my primary school days, and the subsequent tongue lashing I received from the teacher who felt that word was offensive to Christians.
People invoke the name of one god or another on a daily basis, usually to add authority to their claim to be speaking the truth, but also to express shock, amazement or grief. The phrase, "Oh my God! or its digital offspring, OMG, is so common nowadays that no one thinks anything of it. It is a meaningless mouthing. I don't like it so I don't use it, but I'm not greatly offended by it. It's more of an annoyance. People likewise say "thank God" all the time without thinking anything of it, and I don't see how I could be offended by people thanking God even if they don't know him or believe in him. However, when I say thank God, I am not just using a popular expression of gratitude or relief, I am actually thanking God. I believe in God so when I use his name, I am talking about Him or to Him.
The greater offence, in my eyes, is the misuse of the name of the Son of God. "Jesus Christ" is often used as a swear word and considered less offensive than the F-bomb. This is a special and precious name to billions of people and yet so many treat it like dirt, a common profanity. I used to do it before I knew Him, before He saved me. I did it to aggravate Christians that I knew, and to amuse my friends with my creative blasphemies. I don't think that most people are as calculating as I once was, but I do think they are careless with their words. The Bible says there is no other name by which men man by saved. To use that name as a banal throwaway swear word is most certainly offensive, and quite stupid. It makes me cringe when I hear people use Jesus' name in vain.
As for the year 6 girl with the loose tongue, I hope she learns to think about what she says, and how she says it. We should all be mindful of the same thing, as we will be held accountable for every word we speak.