Great Morning Beloved!!
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Welcome back to our look at the 10 Commandments from several different views. Recall that we stated the 10 Commandments are really interpreted as the 10 ‘words’ or ‘phrases’.
And the purpose of these 10 ‘words’ is to help keep us in alignment with the flow of Divine energy. If we look at our soul’s journey using the Bible as allegory, the laws were set to help us learn what we needed to do to get along in society and, in doing so, we learn to work out of Divine Law.
That is our purpose.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
People usually interpret this as meaning that we should never use God’s name in an irreverent manner. Of course, this is true but taking God’s name in vain goes much deeper.
When we were kids, we probably thought this or maybe even said it when being teased by others… “Stick and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”
But word can hurt us -what we call a thing has serious implications
Linguist S Potter states, “A primitive man felt that the relationship between name and thing. was close and intimate. The frivolous or malicious handling of a name in speech might imply insult or injury to the person bearing that name. The very name was hallowed.”
In ancient cultures, naming – knowing the essence of the thing—was part of a person’s identity. A signal of their place in life, their purpose, their role in the community, their power.
It was to endow them with the characteristics of the name itself
In Greek – Sandy – Defender of men; protector of mankind.
Maybe you would want to look up what your name means…just for fun. In the meantime, I will continue to defend humankind!
Looking at this 3rd Commandment with new eyes, we see the name of God really is our conviction concerning God.
Emmet Fox asks: “What do you think God is like? What is your REAL belief about God?”
These are questions we really need to ask ourselves.
Fox says ‘your idea of God will determine your whole life…health, appearance, home, business, friends, enemies.’
No matter what you call God the real name for God is your idea of God
The question “Do you believe in God?” cannot be answered until you say what kind of God you believe in…. that gives it meaning.
Think on that for a minute….
Do you believe in a God from the Old Testament – one that gets angry and tends to be fickle?
Or do you believe in the “ABBA” or Father from the New Testament, a loving God who calls you a Child of God?
These are important questions for us all to find the answers within.
Neal Donald Walsh’s take on these Commandment is a Commitment.
Commitment; You shall not use the name of God in vain. Nor will you call upon Me for frivolous things. You will understand the power of words, and thoughts, and you would not think of invoking the name of God in an ungodly manner. You shall not use My name in vain because you cannot. For my name-the Great “I AM”-is never used in vain (that is, without result), nor can it ever be. And when you have found God, you shall know this.
You cannot take the name of God [your conviction concerning God] in vain. Whatever your idea of God is, whatever idea you really believe in, that is what will be expressed in your life.
And when you have found God, you shall know this.
I think that statement is important too.
So, what do you think of all that!?! DO you get it? We can’t take in vain because there is always a result.
The important point Walsh is making here, I think, is the energy of our words and thoughts. There is always a result of what we think and say.
Remember – cause & effect?
SO, again, watch your words. Watch your thoughts.
Buddhism, Hinduism and others speak of ‘monkey mind’ which interrupts our connection to God & our true purpose. But monkey mind holds power only to the extent that we believe it is the normal flow of our life process. By naming it that, we have given monkey mind power.
Where do we give our power away?
It’s time to break free- Find a way to confront what’s been distracting you or holding you back…. bare your soul to the God of your understanding, to God’s compassion.
The Jewish word for compassion also can mean ‘womb’, ‘womblike’-you bare your soul surrounded by warmth & caring
When we are going thru hard time is precisely the time when we need to open up & let a higher sense of guidance & support in to give added strength & clarity.
Our next scholar, Joan Chittister, calls the 2nd Commandment the Law of Respect.
She suggests that when we swear to anything, we not only dishonor God but we take into question our own integrity…swearing will not make a truth any truer and will actually make an untruth worse.
The greater corruption in the name of Spirit, if there is a ‘greater,’ is trying to ‘play’ God with God’s name…assuming we know the mind of God and judging the world by that standard, our standard.
“God will get you for that”
“God doesn’t like little girls who do that”
“God punishes little boys who do that”
We use the name given to God to prove our piety, to manipulate others…the gay and lesbian population has been the brunt of this for decades! To believe those who vilify our community, we have caused hurricanes and fires and tsunamis all because we are cursed by God.
Any who invoke God to justify prejudice, to explain oppression, to enthrone absolutism, to enshrine authoritarianism, speak of God in vain.
God makes us all and loves us all. God does not love us because we are good; God loves us because God is good.
The Sufi tell a story of the teacher who sent his disciples to have a new shirt made for the upcoming feast day.
“This is a very busy time and so the shirt is still in process. But come back in a week,” said the tailor, “And God willing, your shirt will be ready.”
But it was not
“Come back next week, “said the tailor the second time, “and if God shines on us, your new shirt will be finished.”
But it was not.
“Come back tomorrow.” The tailor said, “and if God blesses us, your new shirt will be waiting for you.”
When the disciples explained to their master the tale of the unfinished shirt, the master said, “Go back to the tailor and ask him how long it will take to finish the shirt if he leaves God out of it?”
This commandment warns us against bringing God to bear witness to what should need no witness at all; Why swear to anything…if we are telling the truth, it’s not necessary; it brings our own integrity into question
Leonard Felder looks at these Commandments as Challenges. He sees them as different interpretations as ways to get along with others.
“If you want to find out how well you are living up to your spiritual values and higher principles, pay close attention to how you behave in the middle of an argument or a tense moment involving someone you live with, work with, or are in love with.”
So Felding says this set of ‘words’ could be:
#1 A helpful reminder not to make promises you won’t be able to keep esp. when you ‘swear to God’ you will.
Sound familiar to anyone?
#2 It could be a reminder not to become rigid or self-righteous when you disagree with someone. We must Learn to control anger, insecurity, and self-righteousness.
#3 It’s also a warning against using hurtful words, against the common human tendency to use God’s name as a weapon to get back at someone, esp. loved ones when you are upset or angry
#4 And it reminds us not to take others for granted.
Did anyone feel a pull on their heart when these were read? If so, that is where some work maybe could be done.
Your I AM is your identity. In fact, it is your only identity. Only you can say the words I am. Only you can direct the energy of these words to a universe waiting to do your bidding.
Years ago a television commercial for a stock brokerage company featured a crowded room filled with noisy people. The camera focused on two of the people who were speaking privately. One said to the other, “My broker is so-and-so, and they say … ” Suddenly the room became quiet as everyone turned to listen intently to what so-and-so thought about the stock market.
In a similar way, all the creative energies of the universe stop and listen when we say, “I am … ” since it is their function to bring us whatever it is that we’re claiming for ourselves. They are always ready to spring into action whenever a claim is entered.
We are co-creators of our world with God, our use of our I AM is the dynamic shaper of our world. It is the presence of God being you. Our I AM is an ongoing creative energy, always bringing into our world exactly what we ourselves identify with. It is using our I AM that we form and shape the circumstances and events of life.
Your real I AM cannot be angry. Your true I AM cannot be afraid. Your authentic I AM cannot be sick because I AM is the name of the God nature in you. I AM is the essence of the God potential which expresses as you. Therefore, I AM is all-peace, all-power, all-wholeness.
So, whenever you attach a negative or untruth to your I AM, it is then that you are taking God’s name in vain.
We have a choice in what we say & a responsibility to say it in ways that are positive
” Let something good be said” –sounds like ‘if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything. But that goes for THOUGHTS, too.
Be reminded – The darkness is only dealt with positively if we bring a light.
There is a story told of the Buddha when one day, he was addressing his followers and a man approached him and proceeded to unleash a stream of obscenities at him. The Buddha remained silent, softly smiling at the man – which caused the verbal abuse to become even more vicious. Finally, the attacker stopped and asked the Buddha why he was unmoved by what was being said to him.
The Buddha replied with a question “If you are offered a gift and refuse to accept it – to whom does the gift belong?” “I suppose, it still belongs to the giver,” the man replied.
“Well” responded the Buddha “I have declined your gift.”
I leave you with this thought:
Almost every major act of destruction in history has been while calling on the name of God for its legitimation: the Crusades, the witch burnings, apartheid. And no one said a word about sinning against the commandment. Which only proves how easy it is to become your own god.