OMG - how do we handle the misuse of God's name?

by Gavin  

OMG - how do we handle the misuse of God's name?

We don’t have to go far to hear the verbal misuse of the Lord’s name.  Sometimes some other adjectives are put alongside those names for more effect. It’s on TV.  Movies are full of that kind of speech. Comedians try to add to their supposed humour by injecting profanity and blasphemy into their shows. Sit in the workplace, and you’ll hear it.  School corridors, playgrounds, sport fields and gym change rooms echo with the name of God, used to punctuate sentences. You’ll hear on the Tee boxes on golf courses as shots are pulled and shanked. You’ll hear “Jesus” and “O my God” statements coming from the table next to you in a restaurant, and it is sadly evident that it’s not believers swapping testimonies…

 

The use, and in fact misuse of God’s name, is commonplace.  So then, how do we handle that as believers?

 

The “10 Commandments” seems so clear, right?

 

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7, ESV)

 

Based on that verse – that commandment – Christians seem to be offended.  We’ve got to go and tell them to stop, right?  That verbal, auditory offence gets under the skin of professing believers in Christ.  And so there are many – in good conscience – who feel the need to go to your friend, family member, golfing partner or boss and tell them not to use your God’s name in vain – in such a cheap, shallow way. “God’s name is being verbally profaned and I need to defend God’s honour and tell them to stop!”

 

But let’s stretch the thinking a bit… and please do not accuse me of heresy!  This is merely to broaden the dialogue.  Is that thinking not inconsistent? See, God doesn’t call us to defend His name, does He?  Look at the context in Exodus 20 :-

 

Commandment #1 : ““You shall have no other gods before me.

Commandment #2 : “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:3–4, ESV)

 

Just think about it… God prohibits false religion and idolatry in commandments 1 & 2.  Then He gives the prohibition on misuse of His name.  And what do Christians get the most hung up on?  Blasphemy, right?

 

Just imagine a devout, Bible-believing believer in an open plan office… together with 3 other colleagues : a Moslem, a Buddhist and an atheist who openly blasphemes.

 

What is the typical response from the Christian? “O, got to tell that guy to stop saying God’s name in vain because it is offensive to me!”

 

Huh?  But there is no offence because of the openly false religion that is flaunted and celebrated and promoted, and no offence taken to the Buddha or frog or whatever that openly sits on the desk?

 

How often are our responses as believers to the spoken misuse of God’s name fuelled more by our own personal offence to the auditory insult, rather than a real genuine concern for God’s glory?  If we were genuinely consumed with God’s honour being offended, would we not be as horrified and as confrontational about the falsehood of the wrong religious systems and the visual idols that are so openly displayed, even more than the verbal misuse that occurs?

 

Just a thought...

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