Article: Does our use of language offend God?

Newry Cathedral News

Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, ‘Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, Matthew 6: 9-10.

God’s presence in prayer unites us and we all become aware of the needs of others and can provide comfort. In other words Jesus was teaching us that God’s name should be revered and respected across the Christian world. Therefore we should speak of him in a respectful and hallowed way and not as a throw away phrase which is nothing to do with God.

As many parents have recently gone to great lengths to prepare their children for First Holy Communion, First Confession as well as Confirmation, we must also be mindful that our own words carry meaning. We should ask ourselves, do the words we speak honour God? If we are honest and conscious of it then we may realise that we are not being the best role models in this manner. By using phrases like ‘OMG’ or exclaiming other language we probably don’t mean anything which is unchristian. But these letters or phrases are literally in the mouths of babes these days – I recently overheard playing toddlers using them. They were obviously mimicking what they heard from older siblings, parents or friends.

The Bible clearly says in the 3rd commandment. ‘Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain’ Exodus 20: 7. It isn’t wrong to say ‘Oh My God’ when you are actually praying or talking about God but too often people use words like this to express surprise or disbelief at something and very commonly it is abbreviated to OMG.

St Paul to the Colossians 3:17 teaches us ‘whatever you do whether it in word or deed do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him’. Is our use of language doing that? I think if we reflected on this then most of us could do better.

Maybe in evaluating the phrase OMG we can consider, do these phrases respect Our Father God? If not then maybe we could remove them from our WhatsApp message, text or spoken word and instead honour God in word and deed. As Christians how can we expect respect for our God from others if we don’t honour Him ourselves? Let’s really mean what we say and in turn say what we mean? As Proverbs 31:26 says, ‘When she speaks, her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness’.