Reach • Devotion #6: Respect
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor
I was raised that there was crude talk and there was swearing. Neither were acceptable, but swearing was against God. In 1811, a man was caught using the name of Jesus Christ in vain. Not only did he swear, but he also started bad mouthing the Bible, too. The man was fined $500.00 and jailed for three months. His crime was blasphemy.
The court said if you have attacked Jesus Christ,
You have attacked Christianity.
If you attack Christianity,
You have attacked the foundation of the U.S.
Therefore, it is an attack on the U.S.
In this case of People vs. Ruggles, the court said, “Whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government.” To go against God was (and hopefully is) synonymous with going against our country. The United States has such a godly heritage. We have been blessed.
The Bible is clear about how we talk. We need to show respect in how we use the name of the Lord. We should not use it in vain or even in a flippant way. The Ten Commandments are listed in Exodus 20. The third commandment says, “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” (verse 7). We see it recorded again in Deuteronomy 5:10-11, “But showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 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.” Both passages make it clear that those who use God’s name in vain, will be punished. They will be guilty as charged.
Psalm 139:19-20 adds insight into the topic, “Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.” Those who use the name of the Lord in vain are viewed as His enemy. God does not take our words lightly.
Matthew 12:36-37 takes our words and careless words to a whole new level, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Be careful what you say, not only can it be held against you in the court of law, it can be held against you in the day of judgment. Do not just stop saying inappropriate things, but speak mercy and truth. Ephesians 4:29-30 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”