You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. Exodus 20:7 NLT
The wrong word in the wrong context conveys the wrong message.
As a Language Arts teacher and freelance editor, I see students and writers confuse several groups of words. Among them: they’re, their, there; wear and where; let’s and lets; and your and you’re.
My attempted solution to get students to use the correct word is to make them write sentences using the various words in the correct context. Even then, they sometimes continue to make mistakes.
Seasoned writers occasionally use the wrong word too. When editing their articles, I simply make the correction and move on without telling them. I assume they know better but just didn’t catch the error when proofing their work.
God warned about misusing a word too: His name. Doing so would being punishment.
Dad always taught me that saying the really bad curse word, the GD word, broke this command. So even when I was a rebelling teenager who cussed like a sailor, I avoided that word. Doing so crossed a line I didn’t want to cross. God might strike me dead.
As I matured spiritually, I came to understand there were many other ways I could misuse the Lord’s name without saying that word. Such as not speaking up for God when I encountered situations where I should have. Not reflecting the light Jesus said I was as His child. Instead of correcting friends, or strangers, when they did or said things that violated God’s principles, I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to lose friends—or be thought of as a Jesus freak.
I also came to understand I could misuse the Lord’s name in my thoughts. Thinking was just as bad as doing. I discovered this when I read and studied Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. If I thought a curse word, I was as guilty as if I had said it. Thinking words that misused God’s name but substituting another word that technically wasn’t a curse word placed me in the same camp.
Making unwise or sinful choices or walking around with a negative attitude misused God’s name before others too. Doing these things demonstrated I didn’t think God could give me the wisdom to make good choices or that I didn’t really think He controlled my circumstances.
God’s name is holy. Let Him give you the power not to misuse it in your speech or actions.
Prayer: Father, may we keep Your name holy in the things we do and say.