Do you call yourself a Christian? Yes, very good. The third commandment that Moses brought down from the mountain says this:
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord (or as King James says, you shall not take the name of the Lord in vain).
So if you have ever done or said anything unworthy of Christ, and you call yourself a Christian, congratulations. You have taken the name of the Lord in vain.
No. Using the Lord’s name as a curse word is not an endearing quality, but it is also not a matter of vanity. It is uncouth, perhaps a sign of hubris or ignorance, but not vanity. Vanity is when a person speaks of themselves as better than they are, like when we call ourselves Christians and then do or say something, or show an attitude or lack of love, faith or compassion that casts aspersions on the Lord’s name. Vanity is claiming all the glory and making unbelievers wonder who this Christ really is and want no part of him.
Does that mean none of us dare call ourselves Christians? No. But it means we have all fallen short of the glory of God. Think about it. Every Christian without exception has behaved in a hypocritical manner at one time or another. We can’t seem to help it. That’s Okay, though. God will forgive that, too; only we need to recognize and confess it, and try to stop taking his name in vain as much as we are able.
As the man said, “I don’t go to church because churches are full of hypocrites.” And the woman answered. “You should go, too. At least Christian hypocrites are in the one place where they can get the help they need.”
NOTE: Thus far, I have not spoken to atheist, agnostics or others. This study has been strictly “in-house” so to speak. It is kind of pointless, after all, to tell an atheist to have no other god before God, or to not get hung up on the things (graven images) of this world, or to not take the Lord’s name in vain. It is a given, I suppose, that non-Christians and atheists have all broken these first three commandments in one way or another—except maybe this one. At least the atheist does not claim to belong to the Lord (to be one thing) and then show that he or she does not belong to the Lord… After this, though, and the further into the study we get, the more atheists and non-Christians will be included. Indeed, we have all sinned and fallen short for sure, and to be guilty of one part of the law is to be guilty of it all, or so the scriptures say…