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When I Couldn’t Find My Gosh Darn Socks

When I Couldn’t Find My Gosh Darn Socks

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7

When I was perhaps four years old, I began to spend time with the neighborhood kids, learning some rather colorful language. To be fair, I’d been pretty sheltered up to that point. Honestly, I thought fanny was the f-word. So it was, one Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church, that my mom walked by my room as I loudly announced, I can’t find my G*D D*** socks. My mother stopped, backed up, and asked what I said. So, I repeated myself. She calmly explained that God doesn’t like it when we take his name in vain and that in our house, we don’t talk like that.

If only that had been the end of my breaking of the third commandment. Most of us think of the third commandment in these terms – Don’t say God Damn or Jesus Christ, as an expletive. There’s another way though, in which I’ve taken God’s name in vain, one that I think is far more insidious and caustic. I’ve taken God’s name, attached it to my life, called myself a Christian, and then behaved in a manner that brought shame to that name.

Taking God’s name in vain certainly does mean that I shouldn’t use it as an expletive when I can’t find my socks, but it’s more than that. Leviticus 19:12 states, You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God. If I call myself a Christian, claim to follow God, and invoke his name upon my life, but I then live in a manner completely antithetical to that name, I profane the name of God.

Some of you will think I’m being too hard on myself. Addiction is a disease. You can’t blame yourself. I understand that addiction is a disease, but we’ve all got our addictions and when I look around, I can blame no one else for my behavior. I alone am responsible for my actions and in my drug addiction, I behaved in a manner that was embarrassing to the name of God. If anyone who didn’t believe in God was watching, they witnessed proof confirming the hypocrisy of all Christians.

Christian hypocrisy. We don’t usually think of the third commandment in these terms, but it’s the lesson for me in today’s passage. I don’t struggle today with saying God Damn or Jesus Christ as an expletive. I do, however, still struggle daily with living for myself. Few things though, are worse than calling myself a Christian, invoking the name of God, and then living a self-centered life. That profanes the name of God, embarrassing him, while convincing the world that all Christians are hypocrites.

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