Years ago my wife, our first child and I were standing in line at a small sandwich shop. There was a middle aged woman directly in front of us and three men standing in front of her. The men were carrying on a conversation interspersed with occasional cursing. One excuse is as good as another – I did not say anything to them about cleaning up their act. While my wife and I entertained ourselves trying to see what we were going to eat, I noticed the lady in front of us shifting her weight back and forth from one foot to the other. She was obviously uncomfortable with the language the three men in front of her were using.
It was then that one of the men used God’s Name in vain (Deuteronomy 5:11) by adding damn to the back of our Heavenly Father’s Name. I saw the lady’s back straighten and go stiff all at the same time.
I will never forget this ladies Christian strength! She extended the index finger on her right hand and jabbed the offending man in front of her. He spun around and looked down at this lady that had interrupted him in mid-sentence.
She looked up at him and in a firm voice said, “Excuse me sir, but God’s last Name is not damn!” Silence hung in the air for several seconds. Then this man, in front of his friends and everyone else in line, looked down at this lady and said, “I’m sorry ma’am, you’re right, it isn’t.” There was no conversation from any of the ten to twelve people standing in line. The men were at the serving window by this time and took their food and went outside of the sandwich shop.
I will always remember the Christian strength that brought “Goliath” to his knees (1 Samuel 17:50). Needless to say, probably everyone in the line behind this lady was thinking how each of us should have stepped up and defended our God. However, it took a little Christian lady about five feet-five inches tall with a love for our God that was taller than the building we were all standing in to do what needed to be done.
I am the “poster child” for how big of a sinner Jesus will extend salvation to. However, I have always done my best to avoid taking God’s Name in vain. Of course, I have always thought until recently it was doing what the man in the sandwich shop said. I also had heard somewhere that you should not just say “God” as an expression of disbelief or for emphasis. So, if you or I express the exclamation of (forgive me Lord) “Oh God!,” or any similar expression using God’s name in a matter having nothing to do with our personal relationship with God – you or I have just taken His Name in vain.
It is important to remind ourselves at this point, that taking God’s Name in Vain (no matter how we accomplish it) is breaking the 3rd Commandment (Deuteronomy 5:11). This is not something we can just shrug off and say it just slipped out or I just forgot. Out of The Ten Commandments, God thought it was important enough to make one of them not to take His Name in vain (Deuteronomy 5:11). This should really stick in our spiritual memory the next time we are moved to express ourselves in this or a similar manner.
It came to me when I was considering the subject for this week’s Blog, “What if there are other ways to take God’s Name in vain besides in the verbal manner?” What if we ask God for something and strike a deal with Him that we’ll clean up our act involving some matter if He will come through for us? Then we fail in our part of the bargain. We didn’t keep our word in our agreement with God; so have we also taken His Name in vain? We called on His Name, gave our word regarding our request and then failed to keep our word.
What if we tell someone whose searching for God what they should or should not do to make themselves ready to know Him and then we commit a similar sin without thinking twice about it.
Maybe it is letting everyone know we are Christian and stand for Christian beliefs and then act contrary to those very beliefs through our personal sin. Praying to God and then living a “self” centered life could well be taking His Name in vain.
I might be off base on these theories. You may think of other ways God’s Name can be taken in vain. If so or you think I coming from “Never, Never Land,” please leave a comment and let me know so we both can learn how to serve Him more completely.
What I think is pretty evident: if we verbalize His Name in profanity, or any manner that does not fall under direct conversation with Him or a call to Him for help – we, sinfully, have broken The 3rd Commandment (Deuteronomy 5:11).
If we utter His Name in vain without realizing what we were about to do, then we must immediately ask for His Forgiveness in Jesus’ Name. We must stay alert to all that we say or there may be a small Christian lady who will remind us how and how not to use the Name of God Almighty.
Go in His Peace this week! Let us let others know, not by our words, but by our actions that we are Jesus Loving, Holy Spirit Guided, lovers of God. May His Blessings be in abundance this week and we prove to be deserving of them in His Eyes.
In Christ’s Love,