Matthew McConaughey does not drive a Lincoln. Beats headphones are not as good as Bose, despite the amount of athletes that wear them. The “new” pump-up Reeboks did not help Dee Brown dunk twenty four years ago. But there is no doubt that the endorsement of celebrities and accomplished athletes sells product. That is the reason they are paid millions of dollars to wear, drink, or use a brand. I’m wearing Air Jordan shoes right now and he has been retired for over a decade.
The athlete’s accomplishments validate their opinion. Their opinion lends credibility to the product. Sometimes it is truly genuine. He or she really does prefer to use the product that they endorse. Sometimes it is an empty name-drop.
Typically, Christians think of “Oh my God!” or other more unfortunate combinations of words as examples of what it means to use God’s name in vain. But, maybe using God’s name in vain is about more than “omg.”
What if it includes using His name to endorse your product?
When we attach God’s name to our theology, our actions, or our intentions, we run the risk of using His name in a much emptier and more damaging way than when we use it as a cliché. Thousands of people have been killed by the words and intentions of men that are masked as the will of God. When used carelessly, this name can have nuclear ramifications in our lives. Nations have waged wars and followers have been loyal to leaders that convinced them to drink the juice or empty their bank accounts because the end times were near – lives lost and lives ruined.
Maybe that is why this commandment has made the top ten. We can understand His anger against those who have used His name to endorse the way and the mind of a man. Misrepresentation. Words twisted. A Holy God turned into a corny phrase.
This is where true reverence comes in. It has been speculated that Jewish scribes would wash their entire body before beginning their work and recite a blessing before writing the Holy Name of God.
May it be so with Christ’s followers. Before we type it in that Tweet, scribble it on that sign, or order that billboard with a made up quote from God, we should pause – for a long time.
You are about to attribute your words, your thoughts, or your understanding to God. You are getting ready to endorse your opinion with His Name. True humility will cause us to push the “G” on the keyboard with fear. Not a fear of His punishment, but a fear of bearing false witness about God to the world. It is the tension of knowing God, yet understanding our limitations in knowing Him completely.
It has been said that our minds are like a sunken ship. The ship contains part of the ocean within it, but not all of it. Yet the ocean contains all of the ship. From these limitations we, the sunken ship, live and speak with reverence, humility, and cautiousness about the God who encompasses everything.
Using His name in an expletive is irreverent. Passing off your words as His words is damaging to us all.