The commandment to avoid using God’s name in vain gets a lot of “air time” in many churches. It is one of the sins they most enjoy condemning in others. Supposedly this commandment forbids using God’s name in a commonly heard curse, ironically one which finds its origin in Orthodoxy’s abhorrent picture of an ever angry God.
I believe that a more careful study of the original meaning of this commandment would reveal a different understanding than that commonly derived in our day. In a broader sense, this commandment prohibits the use of the name of God, signifying invoking His authority, in inappropriate ways. Now who would be the ones most likely to commit that particular act?
When men supposedly appropriate the wisdom and authority off God to exercise power over others and to elevate themselves above others wouldn’t that more logically constitute taking God’s name in vain? When God becomes the instrument of men to control and manipulate others by instilling a sense of guilt and fear, is that not a misappropriation of God, His name, and authority?
The absolute irony of the church spending so much energy on the “sin” of others, while committing the very sin they condemn is lost on all but maybe the Apostle Paul (see Romans 2). Claiming the mantle of God’s messenger is just too, too heady for mere men to handle. It’s time to forsake all such claims and return to the humility inherent in the true message of Christ.