I remember getting really irritated with my mother as a teenager for chastising me when I said, “Oh, my gosh.” She would say, “Don’t say that. I know what you really want to say, and that is wrong.”
I was taught that this is a form of taking the Lord’s name in vain. When Mark teaches on this commandment, he says that taking the Lord’s name in vain is claiming to be a follower of Christ, a Christian, and then living as you are not by lying, cheating, and committing various other types of flagrant public sins. I guess I see this as a more full-bodied way of taking the Lord’s name in vain, but I also think saying “Oh my God,” or “Oh my gosh,” probably leads to a lack of respect for God’s name, and thus, is also a form or taking His name in vain.
Now, we have been teaching our children not to say, “Oh my God.” As a rule, they do not have the opportunity to watch what we call, “grown-up” tv shows. However, they will occasionally see Changing Rooms or Trading Spaces when I watch them. In many of these shows, when the hostess reveals the newly designed rooms, the homeowners shriek, “Oh, my God!” My children then dutifully say, “He said a bad word.”
Recently, I was watching a Nickolodian show, “Maggie and the Ferocious Beast” with the younger children, and I noticed that the animated characters on that show say “Oh, my gosh,” with regularity. I plan to take this off the approved watching list now.
Does anyone else have any thoughts about these forms of taking the Lord’s name in vain?