With name calling such a severe offense, why is it that so many people don’t consider it offensive to abuse God’s name? We hear people using God’s name in frustration and anger all the time, figuring it is not that big of a deal. God, being Who He is, can handle it, right? But names are very important and no one, especially God, should have their name abused and misused.
How we refer to God tells us a lot about the reverence we have for Him in our heart. So, if we use God’s name irreverently, it is evidence that we lack proper reverence for God. Conversely, when we genuinely and openly praise God’s name, it is a reflection of the honor and reverence we have for God.
Blasphemy and perjury are two serious ways people break the Second Commandment. Blasphemy is referring to God in a curse, calling upon Him frivolously or when our behavior, as Christians, reflects poorly on Christ. Perjury is when we call upon God in an oath unnecessarily to establish credibility. Such as, “I swear to God I didn’t eat the last piece of pie.”
Another form of perjury is when we make a serious oath calling upon God as a witness and then we break the oath, such as when called as a witness in a court of law. Understanding these two types of offending God and rooting them out are not just a matter of watching our tongue. It requires that we carefully and thoroughly examine our heart and then take steps to properly order our lives to align with God’s love for us.
When others hear us disrespect the name of God, we degrade the image they have of God and we discourage them from wanting to know God. Over time, repeated abuse of the name of God, erodes the perception others have of God. Therefore, when we break the Second Commandment, we share some responsibility for others’ lack of reverence for and love of God. That is the opposite of what we are called to do as Christians.
As Christians, how we behave is also a reflection of Jesus Christ and His name. Therefore, it is not just our words that potentially break the Second Commandment. We break it when we treat others disrespectfully and when we lie, steal, willingly ignore the Lord’s Day or break any of the other Commandments. Calling ourselves Christian, but behaving contrary to Jesus’ example of a Christian, is breaking the Second Commandment by being hypocritical.
Everything in the universe was created by God, out of His love for us. Jesus came as a mere man to suffer and die to free us from the bondage of sin. As Creators of the universe and Redeemers of our souls, the names of Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit are all to be honored and glorified above all other names. When we praise the name of Jesus, we glorify Him in our souls, and we exalt Him for others to see His glory and be drawn to Him.
When Jesus gave us the perfect prayer He began, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, holy be your name,” showing the sacredness of God’s name. There is divine power in the name of Jesus—divine power to cast our demons, heal the sick and mend relationships. Therefore, we are to call upon the name of Him when we pray and in our worship to glorify His name.