Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the 3rd Commandment

“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name."
Exodus 20:7 (NLT)

The other day, God revealed to me an area of compromise in my life. My heart was grieved when I was finally able to view the choices I've made in my life truthfully against God's Word.

You see, aside from when I was an ignorant teenager, I have chosen not to take the Lord's name (any of them) in vain. In my mind, I have been keeping the Third Commandment.

And then I heard about a family who chose to limit their media choices with criteria that really challenged my own. Any time they heard the Lord's name used in vain, even once, they turned off the T.V.

I'll admit that lately T.V. has left me feeling slimed. If I am able to find a show that fits my personal guidelines, I still end up being slimed by the commercials that blare into my home during the breaks.

It's impossible to forget images that our eyes have seen. And the words spoken? Well, once they are spoken and heard, the damage is done.

But—I like to be entertained. I enjoy good movies and admit to following several popular T.V. series.

Which brings me back to the Third Commandment. Why is it that I'm easily offended when a show or movie uses the really bad words, but the Lord's name can be used as a swear word over and over, and I am able to ignore it?

As I thought about the other family's choice to turn off the program, I felt really uncomfortable.

"Sure, that's fine for them. Wow, they must be really strong people.

But what if it was a good story? What if that was the only thing "wrong" with the show?"

And then God allowed me to see the reality of my choice through a different perspective. What if, instead of using the Lord's name, the person spoke a hateful word against one of my loved ones? Would I let it go and keep watching? Absolutely not.

So, backing up to the First Commandment. God is to be first and foremost in my life. So, in reality, I've been breaking two Commandments—all the while thinking I at least had those two covered. Ouch.

God had my attention, but my flesh still wasn't convinced. I countered with, "Well, the person is an actor and the story isn't real." (Gulp. Yes, those were my thoughts. Ah, God is ever-so-patient with me!)

Yes, but behind every story is a writer, correct? That person, along with the actor that spoke the word, chose to break one of the Lord's commands.

If I were talking to a person in real life and they were spewing out words of hatred against the Lord, whom I love, would I continue to listen? Absolutely not. So, because it's entertainment, that makes it alright? (Did I already say, "ouch?")

Just in case I didn't get the point, God allowed me to be tested in this very area. Last night, I was watching a DVD with one of my favorite female actors. I had seen the preview several times and it looked like a fun story.

A third of the way through the story, she had taken both God's name and Jesus' name in vain. My heart hurt. I watched awhile longer and then realized that I wasn't enjoying the movie. After I stopped the movie, I realized that once she broke the Third Commandment, my spirit began to convict me. What once would have been a difficult choice became quite obvious to me.

As I shared recently, I've been asking God to make me holy. The only way for that to happen is for me to stop compromising, stop allowing my mind to be filled with things unholy and start allowing God to guide my choices. Both big and small.

One of the things that has helped me to choose the narrow path in my daily choices is the reality of Heaven. I now understand that this life is just the beginning and Heaven will be above and beyond my greatest expectations.

Please don't think I have all the answers or live a sinless life. The reality is that I sin countless times every day (hour!) In fact, before I turned off the DVD, I got frustrated with my kids for interrupting my night off—and my husband for not hearing their interruptions. I kept trying to "enjoy" my movie and found God knocking on my heart. He didn't stop until I put aside my own feelings and apologized to all four of them. Sigh.

It's a process for all of us. I'm still learning, and, truthfully, my mistakes still far outweigh my victories. The only thing that matters is that we don't give up and that we remember that it is only through God's power that we are changed and transformed.

May God give us both the ability to persevere through seasons of growing and change—trusting that a season of rest and rejoicing is always around the corner.

Be blessed, my Friend, and keep LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Thankful for His grace,


Kat said...

I saw your comment on my blog and hopped over here. Wow, this really got me thinking. It's amazing as we age how much more, daily sometime, God opens our eyes and shows us so much more than we could ever imagine. I heard once this saying, "If Christ was sitting next to you, would you be proud of what your watching?" Sigh...still a struggle (at times a war) to REALLY not be of this world and be set apart for Him...even in the little things that don't seem to matter (but do). Thank you for writing this and sharing....

Becky Ryder said...

We've had the same battle with the TV. If it wasn't the nonsense kids shows that pumped a materialistic "I want it" life, it was the perverted, filthy commercials between the race.

TV can easily sneak all of the bad into a family without parents even knowing it.

mommy24treasures said...

He keeps pruning away so that we can produce better and better fruit:)
Thank you for your honesty.
Wonderful post.