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:
- Blasphemy, disrespecting/disregarding God.
- Swearing by the name of the lord eg. I swear to God.
- 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?