Is this taking the Lord's name in vain?


#1

When we say things like:

"For the love of God, please stop hitting your brother!"

"For God's sake, stop running with food in your mouth!"

And are these sacreligious?

"Oh, for heaven's sake, please calm down and stop doing that!"

"Well for Pete's sake! You are out of control and need to calm down."

I am asking because I caught myself saying such things recently to my children when their behavior was out of control or dangerous. Then I wondered whether these sayings were just other ways to take the Lord's name in vain, or to make profane, things that are holy.

Also, what about saying the word "damn" as an adjective? I am not sure if I have said this recently, but I sometimes hear people say things like "about damn time", not necessarily in anger, but as a joke or to express frustration. Is the word "damn" considered to be off-limits for Catholics?

Finally, recently my husband and I were watching a TV program, and I heard and understood what a character said, but my husband missed it. He said "What did he say?" And without thinking I replied "He said, 'Oh my God,...", but as soon as those words passed my lips I realized my mistake and slapped my mouth in horror and crossed myself. He apologized profusely and said he hadn't meant to trap me. I felt really bad, but thought that it couldn't be a sin because it was by accident. Was I correct?

Thank you for weighing in on these concerns for me. I am still fairly new to being Catholic and I find that over time, more and more things convict me as to their wrongness. I want to make sure I am neither going overboard nor being lackadaisical about sin. Thanks!


#2

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I don’t think that this is what God gets upset about.

I once heard that the commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain, refers to speaking IN God’s name. For example, professing that “my” God abhors “your” behavior. You know, the kinds of statements that sow emnity, hatred and wars. Makes sense to me for heaven’s sake.:wink:


#3

It is definitely improper usage, but it becomes sinful only when used as our friend explained nicely above, or also when people use them to curse. If we consider God as an immaterial, distant being, then we don’t feel offended…but for those who strive to have a personal, loving relationship, it feels just as if your parent’s or spouse’s name was being used in a negative or improper way: hurtful.

To me, honestly, in this sad little secular world we live in, I am still glad that when someone is surprised he exclaims “Jesus!” or “Oh my God!”, rather than some other equally efficacious words that could come to mind at that time but that do not constitute any sort of request of heavenly assistance (albeit unconscious) :slight_smile:

I don’t know about “damn” :o But if used against someone (as in “may God damn him”, then it definitely goes against charity). However, such expressions are truly so involuntary and secularized that I don’t see any sin at all here, and in the case of Catholics, perhaps a very light venial sin (hey, are we not called to sanctify ourselves and work out our salvation? :))


#4

So my slips of the tongue might have been improper or venially sinful, but these are not grave matter? Am I understanding correctly?

I felt badly after saying these phrases, so obviously I was convicted about trying not to be flippant about using the words “God” or “Lord” or “heaven”. But is it possible that the Holy Spirit might convict me in a matter that is not grave? Perhaps as a way to help me to grow in holiness? I dunno…I don’t want to be guilty of self-justification or self-absolution. :o


#5

Just to stay on the safe side, I try to stick to things like...

"Holy Mackerel!" or "For crying out loud!" ;)


#6

I try never to say "for God's sake" unless I mean it, and I did that once during a very grave situation where it DID stop the person from continuing in a suicidal action. I have heard, however, one of the priests I know say casually, "Oh my God the weather was...." I was kinda shocked at the time but :shrug:

What really bothers me is the ubiquitous use of the name JESUS CHRIST in just about 2/3 of every movie I have ever seen. Scuse me, but do they say "Mohammad!"? Uh, no. So when I hear this, I say out loud "sit nomen domini benedictum, vade retro satana" : the name of God is blessed, go "back" Satan. Sometimes I might be saying this several times throughout the first ten minutes of a movie in which I stop watching it lol.


#7

Once we become engaged in our faith, many things we used to say and do take on a totally different meaning. Once my conscience came back to life, I was shocked at how many times I had taken the Lord's name in vain and excused foul language as meaningless or harmless. Using the Lord's name as if it was a slang expression is definitely not OK. When we call on the Lord we must be clear, reverent, respectful. Lift up his name in prayer, yes! Speak His name as a witness to Hi divine love and mercy, Yes!


#8

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:328263"]
When we say things like:

"For the love of God, please stop hitting your brother!"

"For God's sake, stop running with food in your mouth!"

And are these sacreligious?!

[/quote]

Yes, contrary to the second commandment, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:328263"]

"Oh, for heaven's sake, please calm down and stop doing that!"

[/quote]

Yes, sacrilegious.

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:328263"]

"Well for Pete's sake! You are out of control and need to calm down."

[/quote]

No

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:328263"]

I am asking because I caught myself saying such things recently to my children when their behavior was out of control or dangerous. Then I wondered whether these sayings were just other ways to take the Lord's name in vain, or to make profane, things that are holy.

Also, what about saying the word "damn" as an adjective? I am not sure if I have said this recently, but I sometimes hear people say things like "about damn time", not necessarily in anger, but as a joke or to express frustration. Is the word "damn" considered to be off-limits for Catholics?

[/quote]

It certainly is for me.

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:328263"]

Finally, recently my husband and I were watching a TV program, and I heard and understood what a character said, but my husband missed it. He said "What did he say?" And without thinking I replied "He said, 'Oh my God,...", but as soon as those words passed my lips I realized my mistake and slapped my mouth in horror and crossed myself. He apologized profusely and said he hadn't meant to trap me. I felt really bad, but thought that it couldn't be a sin because it was by accident. Was I correct?

[/quote]

Well, you were quoting someone and it was an accident so I wouldn't worry about it.

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:328263"]

Thank you for weighing in on these concerns for me. I am still fairly new to being Catholic and I find that over time, more and more things convict me as to their wrongness. I want to make sure I am neither going overboard nor being lackadaisical about sin. Thanks!

[/quote]


#9

[quote="mommamaree, post:4, topic:328263"]
So my slips of the tongue might have been improper or venially sinful, but these are not grave matter? Am I understanding correctly?

[/quote]

That is correct. I believe the name of Jesus should not be avoided improperly, since even in Holy Mass the rubrics (ideally) ask us to bow our head because it is a sacred name - thus improper usage of the name would be a venial sin (then again, even immoderate laughter is a venial sin). God is not God's name, on the other hand.

Grave matter does not suffice to constitute a mortal sin, and in the context of an exclamation that comes out of surprise one would hardly be able to distinguish the deliberate consent that is required. Also, the point is that you do not want to willfully take God's name in vain. If it happens and you didn't notice or didn't know, then it is the intention that our Lord sees :)

An example: in reading some old (or not so old) stories of spiritual warfare, I find often that the fallen angels are too afraid to speak the name of Jesus, so they use terms such as "that one" or "Him"or "He", but filled with such despise and hatred that they are in themselves a greater sin than all of those expressions said innocently or out of custom, because their intention was not righteous in the sight of God. :)

For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


#10

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