15 March 2009

The Third Commandment: Abusing God's Name?

I really need help here, because I am always in the presence of people who are breaking the third commandment. Secular and Christian alike. You might ask how are Christians breaking the third commandment, or better yet, what is the third commandment. This is the third commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Exodus 20:7.

How is this commandment broken? The most obvious answer is when people get angry and say the Lord's name in a really bad way, which I will not mention here. This is not what I am talking about. Most people realize that is wrong. What I am talking about is the subtle ways that people do this all the time.

Just so we understand exactly what this commandment is about, it is helpful to define the word vain. One of the definitions is this "without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless." Another definition is "senseless or foolish".

When we use the Lord's name in a senseless or foolish way, or in a way that is not even referring to Him, we are using His name in vain. Here is the main example; "OH MY G--". I hear this all the time from people I work with, to people at church. I hear it everywhere I go, on TV, the radio, the internet. The more it is said, the more people think nothing of God, it is like He doesn't exist or hear us. The sad thing is that people say this and do not even know what they are saying, and God's name has become something that is foolish to us or insignificant. My children especially have a hard time because they hear it so much, yet they know they can not say it themselves. Sometimes I am afraid they will slip and say it anyway, it is so common.

How can our society ever have a high view of God, when we take His name in vain so much.

This is the problem I have; how do I nicely tell people who do this, especially when they are Christians, that they are breaking His commandment. I struggle with this all the time, I do not know the best way to tell people to stop. How should my kids tell their neighborhood friends to stop, does anyone out there have any good ideas? If anybody out there is reading this, and can help, please post a comment and let me know. Thanks.... this bothers me so much, it is kind of like fingernails on a chalkboard everytime I hear it.