The Name of the Lord
"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
The Third Commandment is obviously broader than just speech. We can misuse God's Name by claiming to be Christians and not living accordingly. However, our society's casual attitude to God is reflected in our speech. Even "Christians" can be heard exclaiming "Jesus" or "oh my God" inappropriately.
Hollywood and the media promote this dishonouring attitude towards God. It seems that most films contain abuse of the Lord's Name, and this disrespect is imitated by our society.
God promises that He will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name. God is true to His promises both those we like and those that we dislike. If God promises not to hold us guiltless for misusing His Name, we should take this seriously.
For this reason, Africa Christian Action is launching the "yellow card" (see box). Often people use God's Name disrespectfully, but we do not get an opportunity in that conversation to challenge them. Just as a soccer referee would show a player who is out of order a yellow card to warn him, we encourage Christians to use these "yellow cards" to warn their contacts not to misuse God's Name. We're slipping a yellow card into each magazine we mail out. If you need more, we'll send you 25 for every R10 you send.
You can also support the Name of God Project. Ds. Jannie Pelser is leading an effort to let the secular media know that Christians will not tolerate the misuse of God's Name. The Project recorded 550 incidents of blasphemy on SABC 1, 2 and 3 in April 2003. (See Action Items for information on a recent SABC protest.) An encouraging success of the project has been the agreement by Ster Kinekor and Nu Metro to introduce a divinity (D) rating for the abuse of God's Name in a production. Encouragingly, Kobus van Rooyen of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission admitted to our researcher that they are under a lot of pressure to clamp down on blasphemy.
You can contact Ds. Pelser at PO Box 977, Rant en Dal, 1751
Tel and fax (011) 665 2516
Cell: 083 601 9094
Finally, pray. We need to confess our sin that we have tolerated abuse of God's Name for so long. We need to pray that we as Christians will rightly fear and respect God.
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:17