Do You Desire To Bring Your Child Into The Kingdom?

It's hard enough to be a Christian parent in this world. How do we combat the forces of evil while at the same time raise our children to desire to walk in God's light? By seeking His face, His Word and inspiration from each other as we stumble through this parenting process together. You will find all the instruction, encouragement and resources you need right here at The Greatest Mission Trip You'll Ever Take to help you be the most effective witness to your child that God would have you be. Look around and come back often. Let's learn together.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You Shall Not Misuse The Name Of The Lord Your God

photo by carulmare

I’ve been doing a series on teaching the Ten Commandments to our children. I’m spending some time now explaining each commandment. Here’s the third one.

Creator of the universe. Creator. Of. The. Universe. King of kings and Lord of lords. Alpha and Omega. The great I AM. Jehovah. God.

Dude? I don’t think so.

That’s how casual some (many) people have gotten with God’s name. It’s as if He’s just some god as opposed to THE God. We have no problem refraining from pairing His name with a cuss word. That’s a little over the top to go that far.

But do we refrain from using it as part of the phrase ‘OMG’ as typically thrown around in casual conversation? A friend of mine, Rick Osborne of Christian Parenting, used the following idea to teach his children about not misusing the Lord’s name:

Once, to make my point I started using my kid's names as swear words. Even though they knew I was trying to make a point, they didn't like their names used as expletives and/or synonyms for the words jerk or idiot or worse. They got my point.

The ol’ hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-me technique can be effective in changing one’s perspective. You might try it also with those who like to substitute “The Man Upstairs” or “The Big Guy” or the generic “Someone Up There” for God’s name, except you call the person by anything but their given name.

I have to believe that, for God, hearing His name used irreverently or being called something other than what He is known by has gotten past being old. The rest of the third commandment says He isn’t holding anyone guiltless for the offense. It has to be infuriating by now.

Teach your children early that God is to be loved and held in awe. Teach them to respect His name with honor and glory. He deserves nothing less.

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Anonymous said...

I think this is a tricky/touchy subject. On one hand, you don't want to be too harsh to your child. On the other hand, you don't want to sugarcoat it, either.

For me, I had a solid foundation in Sunday School @ my Presbyterian Church coupled with a weekly Bible lesson in my elementary Hong Kong. So, the fact that my first church in the US (which is now my former church, as you know) didn't have a youth or young adult group didn't affect me as much as it would have on others.

In my opinion, maybe because I am trained as a young adult leader, I think that the best way is to be involved in the planning of my church's Sunday School and/or youth programs, if not teach it. My church has a nice Sunday School program where the rector would guide first-time mentors through before they teach Sunday School for the first time.

While I am on the subject, I will say that youth programs should have an eclectic mix of content... from adolescence things to an introduction on being leaders of the church.

Deb Burton said...

Thanks for stopping by Bill. Always appreciate your comments.

Church youth programs are a wonderful conduit for both teaching and training, but should not be the only venue for children to receive instruction on faith matters. The whole premise at TGMT is to help parents better understand their biblical roles and to equip them with practical ideas to be a witness of the gospel to their children.

As a parent, it's hard not to be reactive at times, but I always encourage proactive parenting which is based in love and biblical edification. However, there are a few things I take very seriously as i teach my children, and one of them is how we're to treat God with complete reverence.

I agree with your take on youth programs being both a grounds for fellowship and training for leadership. That's discipleship through and through. For some really thought provoking reading on the subject of church youth programs, I encourge you to read Steve Wright's book "reThink". You'll find information on it in my sidebar, or you can go to Steve's website at

Thanks for sharing!

Laheela Hargest said...

I agree with the post and that God's name is flung around casually far too often. But as for the abbreviation "omg", I think that's totally fine. For those who don't typically take God's name in vain, "OMG" is "Oh My Gosh." It kind of urks me when people say, "'Omg' is profanity." It's not. "Omg" is also "Oh my gosh." When I'm typing a response really quickly and don't feel like writing it out, I'll use "omg."

That's just my opinion. :)

Deb Burton said...

Hey 'Laheela',
I agree that OMG can be used benignly by many as Oh my gosh, but some would argue that gosh is a derivative of God. I also have a hard time seeing OMG and not thinking Oh, my God, so maybe it's a stumbling block for me.

But for many it is used exactly as it's intended, a casual reference to God. When I publicized the article called Problem of The Week - Is It Blasphemy? (see Related Articles section listed under the post) in a Christian forum, a nonbeliever who was on at the time (they tend to frequent these forums to stir things up) said in no uncertain terms that I needed to spend my time on things that aren't so petty (and trust me, I cleaned his remark up quite a bit).

The point is, many believers have also adopted this perspective, and whether it's part of their culture, upbringing or whatever, it's still not acceptable by biblical standards.

Anonymous said...


I agree with what you said to me... but I think it depends on the child. Here's what I think parents should do:

1. Help their children on their journey of faith. It's important that they start off right. The amount of guidance afterward will vary from child to child. Some needs more, some are just fine on their own, some are late bloomers like me. So, parents got to be patient and adaptive.

2. Be proactive in understanding what is taught in youth group or Sunday School. After all, not only you can voice your opinion when needed, you can see if your child is learning the "right things".

3. Talk to their kids if something goes wrong at church, no matter how big or small the matter is. Be sure to communicate with them along with others involved before it's too late. After all, these incidents could become an emotional scar where they might not go back to church ever again.

4. Don't force them to read the Bible right away if you feel they are not ready. Instead, replace them with lighter texts like God's Blogs (I personally know it's a book some of the youth leaders I know used.)

Kevin said...

Hi Deb, I am really enjoying your blog. I added you to my blog list. :)

Deb Burton said...

I really appreciate the younger voices stopping by and offering their perspctives. It keeps things fresh!

In answer to your 4 points:
1. Absolutely. One of the many blessings (as well as a challenge) of being a parent is guiding our children according to their individual God-given bents.

2. Absolutely right again. Church and family are not to be separate entities, but both have distinct biblical roles in the reaching of the lost and spiritual maturity of believers.

3. Three for three. However, if 'church' is treated as an institution instead of as the family of God, there is more potential for some wrongdoing to take place. We're called brothers and sisters in Christ for a reason - we're to be intimately involved with the life of our churches.

4. Gotta disagree with you here. My husband and I love the Lord with all our hearts. We want to share what we know about the Lord with our children, not forcibly but lovingly. And the only way to really know what God specifically says about anything is to study His Word. A child is never too young to learn about the awesome truths and incredible gift of salvation God has for His creation.

Deb Burton said...

I am thoroughly humbled by your honor. Thank you so much for helping get the word out about TGMT.

Anonymous said...


For me, sometimes I have a case of "lost in translation" whenever I type/write/speak in English. After all, sometimes I have no problems expressing myself in Chinese, but I would have trouble translating that thought into English.

You have to understand this about me... no matter what English text I am going to type, I always would think it out in Chinese first before I translate each sentence into English. Because of that, sometimes my mind would know what to say, but it will take me several tries to get it right.

Your word "lovingly" is actually a great word... I actually meant to say that, but I all I could thought of at the time I typed my reply was "not forcing". So, this makes it 4/4 instead of 3/4.

Anyways, having been to a young adult leader retreat recently, I have heard of some young leaders have troubles motivating their youths to even open the Bible. I think that if parents can assist the youths in the process, they would definitely make the young leaders' job a lot easier.