Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Three of Ten

Lent is traditionally a season of contemplating the Ten Commandments, or words of life. How many of them can you call to mind? Here’s the third:

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
Exodus 20:7

We might no longer believe in Baal and Yamm and Mot, in Zeus and Poseidon and Hades, even in Yahweh, but we all still invoke our gods. If you don’t believe me, pick up a newspaper, listen to a politician speak, scroll through social media. We all invoke our Great Liberators and our Demonic Forces — and, viewed from different sides, one man’s hope is another woman’s enemy.

Recently, US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the weaponizing of the Bible to push bigotry and discrimination. And at the heart of the matter, don’t make wrongful use of Yahweh’s name, in many ways shorthand for his character. Don’t claim that God is on the side of everyone who agrees with you, and opposed to everyone with whom you disagree. Don’t withhold the hope of freedom to others, not on the terms of your understanding but on the terms of Yahweh’s enduring record of setting people free.

Yahweh will set free whoever calls on his name. And he’ll set them free from the thing they need to be set free from, not the thing I think they need to be set free from.

In what way might you be misrepresenting God?

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