Back story - was reading a twitter thread yesterday and one person was discussing a very painful medical procedure he had just endured. He punctuated the point with 2 words. The first beginning with the letter 'g', the second ended with the letter 'm'. And one of the guy's nearly 30,000 followers decided to reprimand him on his word choice. She said it was offensive to her and that, for his best interests, he needed to stop taking the Lord's name in vain, that he was in danger of being eternally damned and she wanted to help the twitter post author stay in God's good graces. I won't even begin to dive into the irony. Instead, let's explore what I believe is a fundamental fallacy.
What if the commandment she referenced doesn't mean what we've been taught it means?
Traditional thought has told us 'thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain' means we aren't to say the word god in an inappropriate manner. Doing so, in my fetching-up years, would incur the mouth-washing-with-soap punishment. (Nearly as bad as the going to bed with no pillow punishment, but that's a subject for another blog). The implication? 'Take' equals 'speak'.
Ok, I learned to chalk that up as yet another Biblical conundrum. Who am I to question the experts? If you're like me, your brain has learned to automatically make the necessary definition adjustment from 'take' to 'speak' when it comes to commandment number three of the big ten.
But, what if it means a whole lot more?
In the insistence that 'take' means 'speak', what if we have surrendered the true significance of God's wisdom and instruction on the sacrificial altar of inconsequential?
What if take means take?
In any wedding ceremony, there are a couple of things that must be included for it to be considered legal and binding. Think matrimonial equivalent to the Miranda Rights. One of those components is the 'do you take' query, when the wedded wannabe's are asked if they will take one another and become so connected that moving forward their identities will be forever intertwined as husband and wife. So much so that when people think of one spouse they are reminded of the other.
38 years ago, when I said, "I do" the person I was in the morning was not the person I was at 3:30 that afternoon washing down cream cheese mints with Hawaiian Punch. (Nothing says top-notch wedding reception quite like cream-cheese mints.) I took his name. We did not take our new identities as husband and wife in vain.
What if that's the true meaning of the third commandment? Don't approach or enter the process of adoption into God's family if you have no intention of embracing a new identity rooted in His; without every intention of living a life that honors and reflects His ways, His truth, His glory, His love, His laws? You know, the kind of stuff that demands a lot more than a bar of soap to rectify.