Ten Commandments: What’s In A Name?

I like my name.  I always have.  My mother had a specific reason for naming me Sandra (“Helper”) Eileen (“Light”).  I love the nickname Sandy even better.  The only people who call me by Sandra are people who don’t know me or know me in a professional capacity.  So, by all means, feel free to call me Sandy in your comments or if we should meet in person — even if we’ve never met before!

Today, we’re taking a look at commandment number three of the Ten Commandments:

  “You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.  Exodus 20:7 (NLT)

You may not love your name like I love mine, but I’ll bet you would hate to have it used the way some people (including me) use the name of God.

Let me set a scenario for you:  You and a friend are driving around the mall, looking for a parking space, and it’s crowded.  Suddenly, the driver of a car in oncoming traffic pulls out in front of you and you narrowly avoid an accident.  Here is a sample conversation the two of you might have as you process the frightening incident.  I will substitute my name for the names of Jesus and God to test my theory.

    You:  “Oh my Sandy!  Did you see that guy pull out in front of me?” 

Friend:  “Sandy H. Rosser, could he have been any more stupid?”

    You:  “Sandy Almighty, that was close!”

Friend:  “That idiot should have his Sandy damned license taken away.”

    You:  “Sandy, Mary, and Joseph — we’re never gonna find a parking space!”

Get the picture?  Now, this might seem humorous at first.  But think about it:  how many times a day do you hear someone speak God’s name when they’re not praising Him or talking to Him in prayer?  Over and over, I hear it almost everywhere I go.  If it was my name that people were so casually batting around, I would quickly find it annoying and disrespectful.  Personally, I don’t even like it when people say “The Man Upstairs” or other euphemisms for God’s name.  I think it makes God seem common and our God is anything but common.  If anyone deserves our respect, honor, and glory, it’s God.

Even worse to me, is hearing God’s name disrespectfully uttered by young children.  This is something they pick up because they hear older children and adults speak this way.  It never occurred to me just how bad this sounded until the day I heard Claire say, “O my Sandy!  Look at all the birds!” We were riding the ferry from Wilmington, NC to Southport, NC and feeding bread to the seagulls the summer that she was four years old.  It was such an ugly thing that rolled so casually off the lips of my beautiful, precious daughter.

God’s good name is not something to use casually. In fact, the second part of this commandment reminds us that God will not allow those who misuse His name to go unpunished.  Even though this is a commandment I try very hard to keep, I sometimes slip up — especially when I’m angry.  If this is something you find yourself doing on a regular basis, prayerfully consider making a conscientious decision to change how you use God’s name.  And I encourage you to learn all the names of God (there are many) and their meanings.  Most of all, use God’s name for praise,  prayer, or witness.

Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forevermore!  Psalm 113:2 (NKJV)

 

Image Credits: www.afbookstore.com & www.breathoflifeonline.net

Related Articles:

“How NOT To Take the Lord’s Name in Vain”

http://disciplegideon.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/how-not-to-take-the-lords-name-in-vain/

“Misrepresenting God”

http://marginalnotes.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/misrepresenting-god/

“OMG”

http://ebcyam.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/omg/

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6 thoughts on “Ten Commandments: What’s In A Name?

    1. I had to fall in love with “Eileen” over the last few years, but I love its meaning. When I found out that Eileen is a derivative of Eleni (which is Ellie’s — my bff — name) I was so amazed. It means “light” and that’s what I want to be to the world: a light in the darkness.

  1. Thank you for this Sandy!
    I’ve surprised myself recently and started to use words I shouldn’t.
    It’s a timely reminder. I have 2 little ones and the sheer frustration
    tests your patience. God is indeed worthy of our praise.
    Your examples were good ones.
    Every blessing!

    1. Two years ago, this was part of our Vacation Bible School lessons. It made me more aware of how I used God’s name. Do I always keep His name holy? No, although I will say that I don’t use it as a curse word. That being said, I often wonder if God sees that distinction. So, I am re-committing to use other words that do not involve the name of the Lord. Cleaning up my language in general is something I’m working on too. Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to more of your comments!

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