I have friends who speak the name of Jesus more than I do. But they aren’t talking to Him or about Him. When the name of Jesus Christ is spit out of someone’s mouth as a curse word, we universally recognize this as blasphemy. Christ-followers have no problem refraining from this horrible disrespect and it grieves us when we hear it from others. Yet how often do you hear “OH MY GOD!” in a conversation or see “OMG!!!” posted on FaceBook by devoted Christians?
Are we thinking clearly about what we’re saying? Listen to R.C. Sproul:
We need to define blasphemy, and this verse from Luke [12:10] gives us a clue as to what it is. The two phrases “who speaks a word against” and “who blasphemes” are parallel. Blasphemy, then, involves speaking a word against God. It is a verbal sin, one that is committed with the mouth or the pen. It is desecration of the holy character of God. It can involve insulting Him, mocking Him, or dishonoring Him. In a sense, it is the opposite of praise. Even casually using the name of God by saying, “Oh, my God,” as so many do, constitutes blasphemy.
What’s in a name?
More than any of us can imagine! The name of Jesus “is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” The name of the LORD is more than a name. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” When we see the name LORD in all caps in the Old Testament, that is the Hebrew name YHWH (what we now say as “Yahweh”) — it was a name God’s people wouldn’t even pronounce or speak out loud. What do we think we’re doing treating the holy names of the Creator of the Universe and the One who gives us our very next breath as if they are common exclamations?
A challenge for us: Do a word study on the names of God to restore the respect, awe and honor it deserves in our minds and hearts. Here are some online options:
Michal Hunt says it well at the end of the last link above:
Whatever word you use when you call upon the name of God, remember to call in reverence and in love for the word that expresses the essence of God in His most intimate relationship with you is LOVE, for God is love.