“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”
What is God’s name?
God’s name is YHWH, in the Old Testament, translated Jehovah or LORD in English.
In the New Testament God’s name is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Luther says this about God’s name:
We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
Once again, the second commandment is about God’s power.
God’s name has power.
God’s name used properly brings life. Think of it this way. When we use God’s name correctly it brings blessing. It brings life rather than death.
Think about forgiveness in God’s name.
Using God’s name to sing out in thanks and praise.
Using God’s name to cry out for help, deliverance and healing.
We are given the power of God’s name at baptism. I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We spend a lifetime of faith learning to use God’s name properly.
So, what is the wrong way to use God’s name?
Whenever you try to gain your own personal power and agenda in his name.
Obviously, trying to be aggressive or bullying others by using God’s name harshly in cussing or cursing isn’t helpful.
Using God’s name in an oath isn’t helpful either. His power isn’t available just because you “swear to God.”
And using God’s name making your own personal truth claims can really get you in hot water.
What truth claims are you making in the name of God? Think politics again. The Left and the Right.
We hear God’s name being used to support personal agendas all the time.
Everyone is so sure of everything when it comes to God.
“Of course the God of love would support (fill in your personal cause)” O, really? You’re sure about that?
One reason we politicize everything is because that’s what most of the public voices in our society do. Since most public voices whether it be media, education, sports or entertainment, are also not that well versed in theology, there is a great chance they have never really thought about things from an in-depth straightforward biblical perspective.
But, it’s not just people who are not active in their faith. Active Christians fall into the politicization trap, too.
So here is a good word of advise for my own brothers and sisters. Don’t try to politicize everything because, remember, God may not stand for what you stand for, or God may not stand the way you stand for it.
Walk humbly and don’t be so quick to put a God stamp on your agenda. Misusing God’s name, misusing God’s power, has way more consequences than simply firing off a nasty tweet or carrying a protest poster ever will. What of “The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name,” don’t you understand?