The most common exegesis of this commandment believes it refers to using the Lord’s name as a swear word, such as invoking the name of God to damn objects inanimate and animate.
There is some value and some truth in that exposition.
There is a far greater and more damning meaning to it however.
That being when we attach His name to anything that would diminish His person or cast doubt upon His character or attributes we take His name in vain.
I would go so far as to say that when we as His representatives behave in a manner that does the same, we have taken His name in vain.
On the heavenly side that is sin and God is offended.
On the earthly side, the people we misrepresent God in front of no longer believe we come in love, grace, or peace.
Nor do they believe what we say about God, or His word.
We… who they trusted to be the bringers of truth have proven to be false, so all we have said is thought to be false.
Because our actions and our attitudes emptied our words of worth, the entirety of the faith once delivered is called into question or rejected.
The ones we have harmed are left in confusion and anger, trying to patch together a faith that won’t break them.
We end up with ash in our mouths and blood on our hands.
Be careful what you put His name on.
May He forgive me as I spit out the ash and try to clean my own hands.
My not so well kept secret is that I love to read comic books.
There were part of my survival as a young boy…the characters modeled virtues and character that were sadly missing in the people in my real life.
They modeled something akin to biblical virtues like honesty, self sacrifice, and heroism.
They ‘taught’ me those things.
That was then…
Today, the old Captain America I grew up with (and who evidently resonated deeply with movie goers very recently) has been stripped of his powers and his uniform given to an African American who is noble, but without the history that made Cap…well…Cap.
Thor is now a woman.
Finally, Iceman, one of the original X-Men, just came out as gay.
While this latest development inspired a number of very funny off color jokes in me, this really isn’t funny at all.
Now, I have nothing against women, African Americans or even gay people being portrayed as heroic characters.
What I object to is the real message behind these changes…which is that the old virtues must be changed to accommodate the current culture.
The writers could have simply created new characters, but they chose to transform old ones into the new mold.
It’s sneaky, but effective…and comic books are still teaching “values” to young and old alike.