Second Commandment Do not take the name of the Lord in vain. |


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Second Commandment Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.

刊登日期: 2014.03.09
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  


 Before we go there, we must back up to last week’s article on Commandment 1.5, “You shall not carve idols…” Some Protestant churches have that as the Second Commandment. So depending on with whom you may have a discussion on the Commandments, just referring to a Commandment by number may be confusing. 

In treating this Commandment, I would like to take up two topics: 

1. Taking an oath. 

2. Using God’s name in vain. 

Taking An Oath(發誓) 

In the U.S. with its tradition as a Christian country, it is customary to take an oath with one hand on the Bible and at the end of an oath say, “So help me God.” This happens in legal courts before testifying for a case or when an immigrant becomes a citizen. Whatever the occasion may be, making a commitment by oath is a serious thing. Calling on God while you take an oath is asking God to be a witness and a partner to your promise. 

(Another example of this would be the vows in a Catholic wedding. When a couple divorces, they are breaking a promise not only with the spouse, but with God as well. That is why the Catholic Church would not allow divorce and remarriage. If the first vow is already broken, why would anyone think that the second vow would be kept ?) 

At other times, we make promises light heartedly. “I swear….” As if by doing so we are more truthful. Jesus said, “Say yes when you mean yes, say no when you mean no.” (Mt. 5:37 & James 5:12) 

The fact is, when we speak the truth and live the truth we are united with God who is Truth. What we say has the power and glory of God creating the universe itself, when God said and it was. (Gen. 1) 

Using God’s name in vain(妄呼天主聖名) 

In Vain – this means “for no purpose”. This is very common in English-speaking countries. People use God or Jesus as part of a sentence expressing their anger or disappointment or, indeed, for no good reason. Honestly, I did that when I was a university student. I just did not think anything about it. That might be the real problem. I did not think anything of God. When I began to take Jesus and my faith seriously, those phrases went away. So I try to tell people that using God’s name in vain is really an indication of how much Jesus is NOT in their lives. The sad fact is that Jesus’ name is used in vain in movies along with other vulgar words (粗口)

The word “vulgar” does not mean “dirty” or even “bad”. It means “common” or “day-to-day” language(俗語). It differs from a more cultured language(文雅)as those used in educated circles. St. Jerome even called the Bible he translated into Latin the Vulgate because Latin was the common language of the time and then common people could understand the Bible. Sad to say, young people use too many vulgar words in day-to-day conversations. It only shows how uncultured they are. 


Lastly, when someone confesses that they use the Lord’s name in vain, I usually tell them, “Don’t stop. Finish the sentence. Tell God that you are angry. You are disappointed.” Then proceed to consider how God would want you to deal with the situation. In other words, make it a prayerful occasion. He wants to be in our lives, for better or worse. Include Him. 

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