“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.
On the surface, this commandment looks pretty simple. Don’t swear using God or Jesus as a swear word. Really. There are so many other swear words which are so much better. Unfortunately, today’s society seems to keep using their names in vain. I also every once in a while, forget myself and use it. Some authors have suggested that any one who uses their names in vain, deep down inside know that there is a God. That would include intellectual atheists/agnostics, activists, seeker-agnostic, anti-theist, non-theist, and ritual atheist/agnostic. I had to look up the list of terms that are now used for non believers. Then, all these people who have turned their backs on God, are knowingly acknowledging that there is a God.
It doesn’t end here though. Taking God’s name in vain applies to Christians. So many times, Christians will say, “Praise the Lord”. Unless that person is using it with their heart and truly thinking of praising the Lord, this is taking the Lord’s name in vain. Any person who attends church, sings songs, sits through a sermon without totally involving their head and their heart in the service, is taking the Lord’s name in vain. Actions without conscious effort and thought and involving the whole heart, is blasphemous.
Perhaps that is why I hesitate finding a church home. I have visited too many churches and not continued because of the lip service I see. There have only been two or three churches that have truly made an effort to welcome newcomers. As I stand and look at the congregation, many people are distracted by their children, their phones, their friends, etc. They are not paying attention and giving full heart to the service. It has become more a thing for people to be seen going to church. Then as these people leave church, they are in a rush to get to their next destination and finish all their tasks of the day (which is breaking the fourth commandment).
People taking actions in the name of the Lord is also breaking this commandment. Terrorists who think they are promoting their cause by killing others in the name of God, are breaking this commandment. Any one who says they are fulfilling a prophecy and taking action on it is a false prophet. Anyone who does not commit an action without truly praying about it and having their heart filled with love, is taking the Lord’s name in vain.
These are all actions I already knew were wrong. Readings by various learned theologians have shown that I was on the right track. Now I know how to categorize these actions. Jesus has said that anyone who comes to heaven declaring His name, could be turned away and sent to hell as He will know who truly has the Lord Jesus in his heart. Bottom line is don’t use the Lord’s name in vain.