Thursday, November 8, 2007

Number Three

7723 Shav: emptiness, vanity: deceit(ful), deception, empty(iness), false (visions, hood), lies, vain, vanity, worthless

"Do not take the Lord's name in vain." Holman's CSB (what I read) reads "Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God."

But what does that mean? What was He getting at?

You could perhaps try to argue that it's antiquated. That people in that time would swear in the name of the Lord that they would do "x" and then not do it; that they made His name worthless by not following through on the promise they swore by His name. Does that have any bearing on today? Maybe notsomuch.

Growing up in a Christian home going to Christian school attending a good Christian Sunday school and church every Sunday, you get the impression that it means you better not say, "Oh my G.." or "Good L..." or especially "G..d..." (because that's two bad ones at once!) and that that's what it means. Not taking the Lord's name in vain is making sure combinations of letters and words don't come out of your mouth.

More recently, I've heard that it's "grown up" into meaning that we're responsible for carrying the name of our Lord as Christians and that whenever we sin, fail, let His cause down in public, that that is making His name to be worthless.

I might like to play the innocent one, but I'm not really offended by much... at least not any more. I'm not proud of that, but it makes interaction in most circles a lot easier when you're not running around with your hands on your ears every time somebody says a four letter word. This Number Three though... it's been nagging at me for a few months now.

Some very dear friends of mine use the name "God" in this way. As an expression of surprise, frustration, anger, even mild amusement. Is He okay with that? Is that a direct violation of His law or isn't it? I mean, I can't imagine that people who use His name as an expletive are thinking of Him when they say His name, right? So they're using the name without attaching any value to it, making it worthless.

I dunno. It just seems black and white to me. Gluttony... well, you have to eat right? Who's to say where the line is? Lying... well, there are times when you can stretch the truth for the greater good. But Don't take the Lord's name in vain? You have to make a conscious decision whether to use the Name or not. Granted, it will become habit after a while and you WON'T think about it any more, but it started somewhere.

I'm really curious about this one. I want to hear your thinking - if you're one of these folks, how you've justified it for yourself so you can use it... or what you think this commandment means instead of the "traditional" translations that makes it acceptable.

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