On the way home from Sunday morning activities at Woodmont Baptist Church, Nashville, with my African refugee friend Steven, 8, I asked him what happened in Sunday School. I often provide Steven’s family a ride.
Steven said the teacher taught them not to say, “Oh my God!” They also learned to obey their parents, he added.
I was so glad — a lesson on the Ten Commandments. As I thought about it, I was especially glad about what he mentioned first.
Steven speaks very good English for someone who has been in the United States for about two years. His first language is Swahili and he is a member of the Swahili Worship Fellowship which meets at Woodmont.
It was good for him to learn that this popular statement breaks one of the Ten Commandments. I was sure he had heard people say this common phrase at school and on TV.
Unfortunately, the phrase OMG also is a popular one in texting and on the Internet.
Using this new abbreviated language is sometimes fun. I like LOL — laugh out loud.
However, our young people and other texters and online writers should avoid OMG.
According to the Urban Dictionary online (urbandictionary.com), OMG or omg is a “net-centric abbreviation” or acronym for the popular exclamation, “Oh my God!
The Urban Dictionary continues — “For some people that don’t like taking the Lord’s name in vain, ‘Oh my gosh!’ For Googlists, ‘Oh my Google!’
Another definition on the website stated about OMG — “It’s supposed to mean ‘Oh my god,’ however it fails in several ways ...
1. If you don’t believe in God, then what is the point of it all?
2. If you do believe in God, most god-believing people think it is a sin to use God’s name when not praying.”
These last statements on this website are somewhat a comfort though it is better to be reminded of the fourth commandment — “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misues His name” (Exodus 20:7 NIV).
Another biblical teaching applies here. “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. … Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall” (I Corinthians 8:9, 13 NIV).
Let’s help spread the information that Steven learned recently — no more OMG. Let’s also avoid saying “Oh my gosh” which might be misunderstood.
— Bushey is news editor, B&R