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Name in Vain
Photo: Adrian Canada
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name”  (Exodus 20:7).

A recent Rolling Stones ™ magazine cover included a picture of a popular rapper sporting a face that appeared battered, and wearing a crown of thorns on his “bleeding” brow. The caption read “The Passion of Kanye West.” I was taken by surprise with the arrogance and smugness that would spur a musician to impersonate the Son of God on the cover of a magazine.

I have to admit that I was a bit incensed by an attitude that would compare a millionaire rapper to the Savior of the world just to sell a few more albums. To capitalize on another human’s pain and suffering for the sake of a cover shot is cheap, shallow, and self-serving! It was a perfect example of taking the name of God in vain by one’s actions.

After a few moments of reflection though, I was reminded that Christians often take the name of God in vain by the way that we live. How? God’s name is tarnished by the negative things that we say, the abrupt and condescending manner that we sometimes respond with, and by showing the world around us a callous, “me-first” attitude.

It may come as a shocking realization, but the people in our daily lives are intently watching those of us who claim to have found a better way of life. My heart aches when I recognize that my life and the name “Christian” don’t always jibe.

I’m thankful that there is hope for everyone who struggles with matching their lives and their spiritual profession of faith. It’s found in Ezekiel 36:26. “I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” 

As we go to God and ask for new hearts, we can be assured that our Creator will change and rearrange us to bring honor to a wonderful family name. It’s something worth asking for.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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