The Name in Vain

With so much disregard over our words, this culture has come to believe that taking the name of the Lord in vain is a word uttered out of disrespect.  God’s name and the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, are often used as words we utter out of anger or frustration.

This is deplorable, and frankly hurts my ears when I hear it (and I am no prude), but it’s not what is meant by the commandment.

Taking his name in vain refers to what many well known “Christians” do all the time.  We take the name of God on ourselves for profit, for respect, for selfish reasons that lead to his name being disrespected by the world.

Pick a televangelist that promises healing or wealth if only you will send him your money.  He takes the name of God in vain.

Pick your rabid, venomous, self righteous pharisee who claims that God loves him because he is “moral” but hates you, your friend, or your family because of their lifestyle choices.  He is taking the name of the Lord in vain.

Take the well meaning Christian who prays in the name of Jesus for their political candidate to win, the other one to die, or for themselves to win the lottery.  To pray a selfish prayer, disregarding what the king of the universe may want to do, can often be an easy temptation, but can sometimes mean we are taking his name in vain.  This is the hardest to swallow and the easiest to commit.  But as people who serve a King we need to understand that when we pray “in the name of Jesus,” we are asking what he would ask.

This is what we learn from the Lord’s prayer.  His name is “hallowed” or holy.  Ask for daily bread, or what you need right now and nothing more, and forgive us because we all need it.  Pray “your Kingdom come” and you will never take his name in vain.