My Faith Hassle

Good luck, idle words and taking the Lord’s name in vain

And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.

– Matthew 12:36 NLT

So, I’ve been told that saying “good luck” counts as idle communication and saying “Oh My God!” is akin to taking the Lord’s name in vain. The reasons? Christians don’t believe in luck so why should they be wishing anyone good luck and OMG is empty and meaningless so why should Christians express themselves without meaning?

If you are enraged, calm down. Let’s figure this out. What does it really mean to speak ‘idle’ words? 

Idle words (from the Greek word argos)

Meaning: unfruitful, lazy, useless, careless, vulgar, damaging or unprofitable

In other words, Idle words = Negative vibes.


So, how exactly does ‘good luck’ fit the bill? Leave that aside. What does it really mean to take the lord’s name in vain? 

It can mean any of the following things:

  1. Blasphemy, disrespecting/disregarding God.
  2. Swearing by the name of the lord eg. I swear to God.
  3. Saying ‘The lord told me’ when the lord did not tell you.

So, how is OMG a problem and if we can’t say OMG, can we say “for God’s sake” or “for Christ’s sake”? Can we say “I take God beg you”? Can we shout “Jesus!” in Lagos traffic?

See, what I don’t want is a hand in puritanical Christianity. I don’t want to believe that God cannot see my intentions or thoughts. I don’t want to believe that by saying “good luck” to my friend, I buy into the notion that she needs something other than God to win.

Even if ‘good luck’ has a ‘bad’ origin, you’re basically telling me that I cannot take the word and make it mine. It’s like saying don’t try those yoga exercises because the origin is not exactly Christ-ish. Well, things and people and places are remade all the time. An example is how black people reclaimed the word ‘nigga’.

Back to OMG. The person saying OMG is not exactly thinking about God. The person is just exclaiming. Her mind is free and she is in the moment. I remember my friend saying “that book was crazy, I swear” and another friend was quick to tell him not to swear. And he replied that he wasn’t exactly swearing. He was exclaiming. And then, the correction guy said “but you mentioned ‘swear'”.

Now, this topic is a bit sensitive but I didn’t exactly see it as swearing. It was something akin to exclamation, a proof of excitement. He wasn’t trying to convince us about the book or anything; we all had agreed that the book was beautifully crazy. So, does it count as swearing? Does his intention or the state of his heart not really matter?


Charisma is my best friend and when we talk, I call her “big head”. In return, she may call me a “fat ram” and I may retort with an “idiaaat”. I don’t think anything of it. We don’t think anything of it. We are just two friends in a mutually beneficial, big-head affirming friendship taking jabs at each other but some of my friends don’t agree. They be like: “Arekpitan, remember that you must give account for every word you spoke on the last day”. Wheew. But it is just banter! No harm was done. She loves me and I love her, even more fiercely. Is this something to account for too?

6 thoughts on “Good luck, idle words and taking the Lord’s name in vain”

  1. I have this old classmate that would always say “Chitoo stop swearing” whenever I said “I swear” as a form of exclamation… Well I’m a knocklehead and her telling me to stop without any reason I saw as tangible only made me use that as my only form of exclamation when excited till she stopped ..

  2. I will probably say discernment is majorly important

    The Lord wouldn’t strike you for saying Goodluck..what you speak for others come into you. I love telling my friends Goodluck in whatever they do believing that even if they don’t tell me back..the intent of my heart is true and the faith is same will come unto me.

    Swearing varies and it depends on what situation you see..there are words that go deeper than they seem pertaining to God not Christianity actually

    1. First of all, good luck is basically saying “may the randomness of this world work out in your favor”. As christians, y’all can say but God is the author of our lives so nothing is random. That’s one conundrum, I’ll let Queen address.
      In conclusion, all na scam, Christianity is a joke

      1. Yeah. So I think the person against good luck is basically saying “there is nothing random about your life as children of God” and I understand the sentiment really.

        My point really was that people say these things from a place of care and concern. I personally don’t think about randomness when I say good luck. I say it because I care. If people want to say it out of care and concern, maybe we should let them. If they want to say it cos “randomness should favour someone” then two problems may arise:
        1. Are we putting your success as a Christian into the hands of random things in the air?
        2. Do we not trust God to take care of this person?

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