If you’ve noticed how hard it is to watch a movie or to turn on the TV for any significant amount of time without hearing the name of God being taken in vain…. well, then you are better off than I am.
In theory, I know that it’s a big deal to take the name of God in vain. I know that as Christians we are supposed to have great respect and reverence for the Holy name of God; and we are never supposed to treat God’s name as if it were something common or, even worse, as something to be cursed. Personally, I myself do not speak the name of God in vain.
But what I’m realizing lately is that I don’t exactly take notice or particular offense when others do, either. And this is no good.
This became clearly apparent to me when my fiancé and I decided to check out a popular TV series on Hulu last week. We ended up turning it off within the first 25 minutes, because in that brief amount of time the characters had already cursed God’s name three times (which was a shame, because it was an interesting show otherwise). I wish I could say that my fiancé and I were both equally appalled by this, but the truth is that had Tyler not pointed it out, I probably wouldn’t have blinked. I’ve become so desensitized to hearing God’s name be taken in vain that I hardly even notice when it happens.
So I have been thinking about how to rectify this. On the one hand, we shouldn’t be looking for and/or anticipating the sins of others; but in the same breath, as members of the Body of Christ, it should pain us to hear the name of our God disrespected and spat upon.
My solution: A three-step check-list that might help you out if you’re like me and struggle in this area.
Pray for greater respect and reverence towards God’s name. Try the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, or the Divine Praises, or simply and earnestly ask God for a greater love for His name.
We need to pray that we never forget that God is a Person (actually, three Persons) with whom we are called to be in relationship. When we hear someone cursing the name of the one we love, what other logical response is there but to be pained by it?
2. When God grants you the grace of noticing when His name is being disrespected, acknowledge and respond.
If it’s a TV show, turn it off right then and there. If it’s a song, skip over it. If it’s a friend in conversation, be so bold as to speak up in defense of God’s name, and ask kindly that he or she not insult you by belittling the name of God.
If we don’t acknowledge and take action, then it will remain commonplace for us to hear God’s name being slandered. If we begin to acknowledge and take action, we’ll start to notice more and more.
The point of seeking to become more aware is not so that we can be appalled and angry; it’s to yield a greater love and respect for God. As we start to notice more often God’s name being disrespected, we have more opportunities to respond to God in love. And that’s kind of the point of all of this anyway.