You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Exodus chapter 20, verse 10.
There’s a country song on the radio now in which one of the refrains keeps singing, “Oh my God…this is my song.” I like the guy singing the song, but call me old fashioned enough to think the he shouldn’t be singing it. It’s blasphemy. I’ve used that language; perhaps you have as well. In fact, I used to have a really, really foul mouth. And, since I’m in true confession mode here, sometimes I still do. Sometimes it’s in the name of ‘good humor.’ Sometimes it slips out. Sometimes I just rant and engage my mouth before I consider what I’m saying and whether or not I should say it.
No matter the situation, it’s wrong. It’s mild compared to some of the stuff we hear on the airwaves these days, but wrong is still wrong. It’s wrong because it’s blasphemy to misuse the name of God. That includes casual references in lyrics like those I mentioned. Or countless others. You know what I’m talking about. If we say it and we think we shouldn’t, then probably that’s our conscience talking through. It isn’t tough to figure out.
It has implications on our faithfulness because the Lord says that He reads our hearts. He knows that what we say starts in the heart, deep down inside. In reality, bad language – or good language – that impugns or misuses God’s name in any way paints us accurately as the hypocrites we are.
Now, I’m not here to guilt you out because, as I said, I’m guilty of it. The worst actor, comedian, or rapper in Hollywood sometimes sounds prudish compared to things I’ve said. I wouldn’t say such things in a job interview, or in the workplace, or in front of my grandson, or in intimate conversation with my wife. Why would I say them, then, at any time about my God and my Savior? I wouldn’t damn the people I love most in the world in my conversations with or about them; why would I do it to my God and my Savior?
The folks talking about a war in our culture have a point when they insist that one of the main ways we’ve allowed our culture to coarsen is through our course language. Indirectly or directly, all of that language starts with how we misuse the name of our Creator.
It’s sin. Petty, wrong, uncaring, blasphemous sin. There is a better way.
Lord, forgive me for my foul language and how I’ve used it to misuse Your good name.
Read Exodus chapter 15, Moses and his sister sing, then God gives everyone a drink.