Over the years, I have from time to time heard people say ‘My God’, “Lordy”, and “Jesus” at times of shock, hurt, or anger. Maybe they were really addressing God Almighty but I doubt it in most cases. The use of these names and titles were used as slang or even as curse words. In response to such language I would often ask “Close friend or just a casual acquaintance.” The one using the slang word or curse word was shocked and didn’t usually give a reply.
On a few occasions they would say a ‘close friend’ and have a very sheepish look on their face; much like they had been caught with their hand in a cookie jar. I never had the response ‘a casual acquaintance’. I feel sure that many of these had never been introduced to God or to His Son, Jesus. They were some of the millions that have failed to be introduced even though I am sure they had heard the words since they were using them; inappropriate as they were.
We need to get a firm realization of who God really is and how we are expected to conduct ourselves with Him. What I am about to say you will call remedial Christianity. Let’s go back to our person, with the sheepish look on their face, that told me God or Jesus were close friends. They were saying to me I know God well and consider Him my friend but I made mistake and used His name in the wrong way. Not only did they use the name wrong, they were showing dishonor to God. We are to honor God and, also, to fear God. They also remembered one of the Ten Commandments that say we are not to take the name of the Lord in vain.
I didn’t try to correct these people; it appeared to me the Holy Spirit was doing that job properly. I am sure that when the next occasion arose that they considered using the name of the Lord in vain that the Holy Spirit called to remembrance this experience. It was not my place to preach to them but simply to call what they had done to their attention; this I had done.
There is another problem with the improper use of the name of the Lord and that is that it can become a stumbling block to the hearer. Let’s suppose that I was not a believer in Christ and I heard this person make such a comment. I am aware that the one speaking God’s name is a ‘so-called’ Christian and a member of such and such church, maybe even a leader in that church. I know enough to realize what has been said is wrong according to the teaching of his church and even what I had heard the Bible said.
And they want me to come to that church? Why should I? This member is absolutely no better than I am and I am not a hypocrite. I am just what I am and everyone knows I am. I wouldn’t dare try to kid anyone about being involved in this religious stuff. Hey, ol’ boy, you are no better than me and in my book you are not as good as me because at least I am honest. As I said, ‘I am what I am’; sure I have a few beers and I do other things that your church says I shouldn’t but who are you, Mr. Take God’s Name in Vain.
It is up to us to show Christ to the world and not present ourselves as fakes. Sure we will sin from time to time and make many mistakes, but be on constant guard concerning your behavior when around others. You are being watched very closely by the lost world. Satan is on their side, so when you least expect it expect it: bang with the hammer and ‘God damn’ slips out of your mouth never to return or to be taken back and it always happens that there are people to hear your slip. If this happens, God can use it for His good if you will allow Him.
Consider this; I make such a mistake and am heard by others. The words have been spoken and the harm has been done, unless. I quickly ask God for forgiveness and for help in rectifying this with those that heard me. God is very concerned about the lost and is no willing that any should perish; He will help you say the right thing to the hearers. God promises in His word to always give us the words we need to say in any situation, if we will allow Him to use us for His honor and glory.
Maybe something like this will come out of your mouth; Wow, boys, I am very sorry for my mistake of using God’s name improperly, I ask that you forgive me for this wrong. I know I am not supposed to do such things but even though I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior I still sin even though I don’t want to. You know we are all sinners and there are two types of sinners in this world: lost sinners, the ones that have not yet accepted Christ as Savior and saved sinners, those who have accepted Christ. Boys while I am talking with you; which are you?
Amazing how God can turn bad into good if we will allow ourselves to be used by Him. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to go out and sin so God can use your sin to reach a lost person. He just might but don’t test God in such a way.
Spreading His Word, Don