by Donna Berger ~
The third of the ten commandments says, “Don’t take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” For as long as I can remember, and now with increasing frequency, references to God are commonplace. “OMG!” “God!” “Jesus!” And, what seems to be a favorite among movie-makers today, “Jesus Christ!” In Exodus 20:7 we read, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
This leads to the question, “what does it really mean to use the name of God in vain?” Is it simply a thoughtless utterance, or is it a sin? Our culture has become so comfortable with cursing that it is no longer shocking, it’s mainstream. But that doesn’t give us a hall pass to dishonor God. One may say, “but I don’t mean anything by it, it’s just an expression.” That’s just the point. God, and our faith in Him is far too important to be treated in such an unimportant and insignificant fashion. It is not just our words or the tone of our voice, but the fact that whether we recognize it or not, we are demeaning our God and stripping Him of the glory, praise and honor that belongs to Him and Him alone.
Senior Pastor, Dr. Don Wilton, points out in an article for Decision Magazine that no one uses as blasphemy “the name of another person, president or prime minister, bishop, evangelist or religious leader from any religion near or far–only the [name of] Lord Jesus Christ.” Pastor Wilton goes on to say, “In a strange, reversed sort of way, every time I hear the name of Jesus used as a curse word, I think God is affirming the truth of His Word. He is using the very ones who defame and demean Him to demonstrate that He is the One who is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’” (John 14:6).
We are all sinners and we have all at one time or another fallen short of “hallowed be thy name.” But now is the time to examine our relationship with the Lord. How close are we really? Do we take His name in vain because believe but hold God at arm’s length? Are we angry or upset with Him about something in our life? His door is always open to our reconciling with Him and putting Him first in our life. When we know Him, love Him and revere Him, we will hold His Name in reverence and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. (Luke 6:45)