Is describing something as "God-forsaken" a sin?

It says it in the title. I am wondering this, but I use the phrase rather sparingly. I try to avoid using God’s name in anger any way.

No, it’s not a sin. It may be prudent or imprudent to use the expression, but it’s generally not considered to be using God’s name in vain.

It’s an oblique poetic reference to the same Psalm that Jesus referenced: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s also a reference to Jerusalem, Israel, and other places thinking themselves abandoned by God, as in Isaiah 62:4 -

"No more shall you be called “Forsaken” and your land “Desolate,” but you shall be called “My Delight In Her,” and your land “Espoused.”


It is a sin, because you are making your own judgment (that something is worthless or unholy) and saying that it is God’s judgment. This is not unlike saying that something is “God-damned.” You should not use the name of God to make your judgments sound more forceful.


This is what I thought of. You are attempting to bolster your authority by stating that God’s opinion is in accordance with yours. What is not revealed by revelation we cannot absolutely discern about God’s Stance. Catholicism is based on absolute truths so if it falls short, it cannot be accepted.

This kind of sounds like the question about the “god-awful” description we talked about earlier - that ended up being a sin but a venial sin since it is a phrase that is said without much thought given to what was being said - or the meaning - but still is a sin since it is the use of the Lords name in an irreverent manner?

Did I get this right? And, the Lord’s name should not be used in such phrases at all.

I will not answer for whether it is sinful or not, but Beryllos’ claim seems to be quite far-fetched to me.

I doubt that the common usage of God-forsaken has any intent to borrow God’s authority to condemn. Again, it may be that it is sinful, I know not. But the intent described simply does not exist, at least in common usage.

No more does it exist here, than it exists in the one who says “you’re the best,” to actually affirm that the person spoken of is, indeed, the best. It is merely words, and it is not common human convention to interpret these words as conveying literal truth.

This is evident. Has anyone here ever wondered to themselves, “does he or she truly think *I *am the best person?” Of course not. Will someone go on, now, and call the person a sinner for “lying”? I’m sure some sort of radical might, but it does not make it a sin to tell someone that they’re “the best.”

I see your point. We say things that we do not literally mean, out of habit. Still we are commanded “You shall not invoke the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7, also Deuteronomy 5:11)

Therefore I would count it as a venial sin, unless we really mean it, in which case we should review the three conditions of mortal sin (grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent).

We may quibble over, and even scholars have analyzed, what it means to invoke (or “take”) the name of God in vain. I have looked up some biblical commentaries on Exodus 20:7 which are quite helpful in understanding this commandment. I’ll get back to those in my next post, but it has to wait because the kids are clamoring for hot chocolate and a snack. :coffee: The snow right now is beautiful. Give thanks and praise to God!

This commentary looks pretty good:
Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary - Exodus 20
There are other enlightening commentaries in the web page I linked to in my previous post, but I prefer this one because it examines the meaning of the original Hebrew words.

I’ve highlighted the parts that relate to this thread.

Exodus 20:7

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

The Third Word, “Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain,” is closely connected with the former two. Although there is no God beside Jehovah, the absolute One, and His divine essence cannot be seen or conceived of under any form, He had made known the glory of His nature in His name (Exodus 3:14., Exodus 6:2), and this was not to be abused by His people. שׁם נשׁא does not mean to utter the name (נשׁא never has this meaning), but in all the passages in which it has been so rendered it retains its proper meaning, “to take up, [lift] up, raise;” e.g., to take up or raise (begin) a proverb (Numbers 23:7; Job 27:1), to lift up a song (Psalm 81:3), or a prayer (Isaiah 37:4). And it is evident from the parallel in Psalm 24:4, “to lift up his soul to vanity,” that it does not mean “to utter” here. שׁוא does not signify a lie (שׁקר), but according to its etymon שׁאה, to be waste, it denotes that which is waste and disorder, hence that which is empty, vain, and nugatory, for which there is no occasion. The word prohibits all employment of the name of God for vain and unworthy objects, and includes not only false swearing, which is condemned in Leviticus 19:12 as a profanation of the name of Jehovah, but trivial swearing in the ordinary intercourse of life, and every use of the name of God in the service of untruth and lying, for imprecation, witchcraft, or conjuring; whereas the true employment of the name of God is confined to “invocation, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving,” which proceeds from a pure, believing heart. The natural heart is very liable to transgress this command, and therefore it is solemnly enforced by the threat, “for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless” (leave him unpunished), etc.

So, for example, exclaiming “Oh my God!” when you see a funny video of a dancing cat would probably be inappropriate; in my opinion, it would be sinful. The same expression when one learns of or witnesses a serious accident may be acceptable as a prayer for the victims (and those who are affected, including oneself).

Under what circumstances do you think would it be appropriate to say “God-forsaken”? Give me a scenario or two.

I agree with this. I am guilty of having said “God-d*mned” many times, but I have since stopped. This has only been when I am extremely mad about something. Although that’s no excuse. I have also said “God-awful” and “God-forsaken” just recently, and didn’t really know if it was a bad thing. But it is still using His Name, in a vengeful way, and we are only supposed to use His Name reverently. It only makes sense.

I must admit I am not “holier than thou” in this regard.

This was a good read, and especially the parts about trivial swearing, and perhaps even more importantly, on the proper time to use God’s name.

For my part, I am in agreement with you that it is best to avoid it at all costs, for fear that it may be sinful (note that in my previous post I did refrain to answer the question of whether it be sinful or not). The only reason I don’t outright condemn it is because I feel like somewhere in the back of my mind I remember reading some of our apologists saying that trivial usage was not necessarily sinful. Could be that I’m mistaken, or even that I mistook what they were saying if they did write something like it.

I will often exclaim “Jesus!” if I am shocked by something, especially a sinful thought that comes to mind, or a sinful scene or image that I suddenly see. I tend to consider this a sort of miniature prayer, even though it comes about at this point without any thought at all.

I didn’t really mean to disagree with you that it were sinful, I just sometimes love the little niggling details :wink: and so I wanted to argue about the intentionality of the expression, rather than its sinfulness (which does have some bearing on its gravity, but…)

I’m just one of those punks. :stuck_out_tongue:

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