Lost In Translation

There are a lot of things in the Bible that just don’t translate well to our understanding. For example, I was always told that I must never take the Lord’s name in vain. When I asked what that meant, I was told to never say “God” unless I was speaking to or about Him (just to be safe). How I have heard it told from one adult explaining it to another: Don’t use God’s name as a swear word.

So, I can’t say, “Oh my God!” Right? What about Jehovah or Yahweh (the actual Jewish names of God)?

I’ll never forget when I had it explained simply to me by someone who actually consulted a Rabbi on the matter: Don’t claim to represent God and then act in a matter contrary to how He would act.

The example given for that was that if a woman is married and takes the name of her husband, but then uses her new name to gain access to his checking account and make purchases he wouldn’t approve of. In doing this, she is taking his name in vain – not using it as a swear word.

We are the Bride of Christ. To claim we are Christians (Christ-like or Christ-clone) and then to act in a manner other than how Jesus would act (in any given situation), is to take His name in vain.

So, I can say, “Oh my God!” without going to Hell? Uh… Yeah.

However, in our home, our children are not permitted to say it. It’s not out of fear of breaking a commandment or any other form of legalism, but out of respect. I told my son it is disrespectful to God to use His name in such a common or rude manner. I then told him I wouldn’t want him to use my name as an outlet for frustration or as an exclamation, just as he wouldn’t want me to do that with his name.

Now, all of this is just one example of how the stuff in the Bible is often mistaken (even if the words are right). All of this actually stemmed from me contemplating Matthew 10:32-33 this evening:

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

I had always been told that had to do with Judgement Day and being assigned an eternal home – Heaven or Hell. But tonight, I couldn’t help wonder (after praying and studying the Greek words used) if it had more to do with Jesus’ role as advocate now. That we can’t pray “in Jesus’ name” just to get a prayer answered, if we can’t be bothered to try to live in a Christ-like fashion. (If nothing else, this being the Judgement Day criteria is contradicted by Matthew 25:31-46 where belief and/or confession are not mentioned.)

Am I the only one who actually thinks about this stuff?


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