Is Saying Oh My God (OMG) Cursing or Blasphemy?
- Clarence L. Haynes Jr. Contributing Writer
- 2020 5 Nov
You've probably heard someone say it. Maybe you have even said it yourself. It's even used in text language. I'm referring to the term OMG, or what it stands for: Oh My God.
Whether you have heard it, or used it, have you ever wondered...is saying Oh My God or OMG cursing or blasphemy? Well, even if you've never thought about it, today I want you to.
Every now and then it's good to stop and think about what we do compared to what the culture does.
This is one of those moments.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Sophie Walster
What Is Cursing or Blasphemy?
I know it sounds simple but let’s make no assumptions that everyone knows what these words mean so let’s define them.
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. – James 3:10
When you think of cursing you often think of the use of what we call foul language which includes dropping F-bombs, or using 4-letter words. In fact, back in the day, there was an expression, "cursing like a sailor," which meant a person used a lot of foul language or had a foul mouth. Not to be nostalgic here, but there used to be a time in our society where men didn’t curse around women, and if they did they would say "excuse me." There was also a time where children wouldn’t dare use foul language around adults and parents wouldn’t use that language around kids.
My how things have changed.
I used to work at a major delivery services company, and let me say the language I heard was really bad. Honestly, the women cursed just as much or more than the men did. It was another reminder of the day and age we live in and that was twelve years ago.
One more thought on cursing. There are other ways cursing is used and defined in scripture. For example, cursing can be a form of condemnation or judgment. For our context, when you think of cursing we are strictly limiting it to foul language or “potty mouth.”
Blasphemy is when you slander or speak abusive language against God. When you don’t show him the proper reverence that is due his name, it is all a form of blasphemy. There are many instances in the Bible where blasphemy occurs and what you usually see is a blatant disrespect for God or the things of God.
Blasphemy was a very serious offense punishable by death. Consider this story from Leviticus:
Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite.The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them. Then the Lord said to Moses: Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death. – Leviticus 24:10-16
Just in case you were wondering, the “Name” in this verse refers to the name of the Lord.
As you can see, these two offenses are taken seriously in the Bible.
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So, Is Saying Oh My God (OMG) Blasphemy or Cursing?
There are two parts to this question. Let’s start with the blasphemy part. The answer to that part of the question (cue Jeopardy music please…) is yes.
Now, before you start sending me texts with SMH or AYS, (that’s "shaking my head" or "are you serious" for those who aren’t as hip as I am with the texting language), let’s see what God has to say about it. Because HWMM. (That’s his word matters most…I told you I was pretty hip). By the way, I don’t think they use that in text world...because I just made it up. So if you like it, and decide to use it, make sure you give me credit…LOL.
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments here is what he said:
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
This command was valid when God gave it, and it is valid today. God’s name is sacred and holy and it deserves to be treated that way.
Think about how sometimes you can get offended when someone misspeaks or makes fun of your name. I experienced this growing up because people would try to make fun of my name and use Clearance instead of Clarence. If this has ever happened to you, then you understand how annoying this can be; and how after a while, it can make you angry.
Now I am not trying to compare my name with the name of God. There is absolutely no comparison. But when you use the phrase "Oh My God," I believe it is a form of blasphemy—because you are not giving God the honor his name is due.
Here's the good news, you don’t have to worry about being stoned to death. If you have said it, no one is going to start hurling stones at you. However, you should be mindful of it, recognize it, and stop the behavior.
This answers one part, but there are two parts to the question. Let’s look at the cursing part.
Is Saying OMG Cursing?
This answer is a little bit trickier. Because, technically, if you define cursing the way we did earlier, then you could argue that it is not a curse. You could possibly argue that it is not in the same category as dropping an F-bomb. While you may defend the point that it is not a curse, the real question is: should you be saying it? Obviously, I believe that answer is no. Even if you think it is not a curse, then it is used out of context, because you are not giving God’s name the reverence it deserves.
The issue isn’t just the use of language, the issue is: do you want to honor God with your speech? If you do, then it makes sense to refrain from using this term. I won’t carry it to the degree of cursing but let me just say, I wouldn’t say it.
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Scripture about the Power of God's Name
To drive this point home, you really need to understand the power of a name. More importantly, you need to understand the power of God’s name.
When you truly understand his name and who he is, you will never have to ask if saying Oh My God or OMG is cursing or blasphemy. Your understanding of who he is and your reverence for his name won’t allow you to even go near that place.
In case you need some reminding here are some verses that speak to the greatness of God’s name:
Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. – Matthew 6:9 (NLT)
I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. – Isaiah 42:8
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:4-5
Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations. – Psalm 135:13
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Acts 2:21
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high – Psalm 113:1-5
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. – Isaiah 46:9
If you are ever tempted to use Oh My God or OMG, just remember the name you are calling.
There is no name greater, higher, more powerful, more beautiful, more wonderful, or more worthy of praise.
When it is all said and done, it is his name that will stand alone. It is his name that will be worshipped forever.
With that in mind, let’s always give his name the honor and worth that it truly deserves. MHGNBPF – May His Great Name Be Praised Forever.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.
This article is part of our larger resource library of Christian questions important to the Christian faith. From core beliefs to what the Bible says about angels, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about Christian living.
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