I walked past the vendors table and burst into laughter at the reality before me. The t-shirt on the table was so true. How do you break the habit of cursing in a world where it has become a very part of our everyday language?
In high school, I could keep up with the best of them. Touting a very dry sense of humor, a curse word thrown in here and there only made the laugh that much greater. I don’t say this to brag, as it’s actually something that brings me deep regret. I often wonder if my seemingly innocent jokes were a source of hurt to others, including God.
I’ve tried for many years now to curb that kind of talk, but yes, much to my disappointment, I’m a work in progress. Even though a curse word will sometimes slip, one thing that I feel I’ve mastered is NOT using God’s name in vain. To hear others use it bothers me more than any curse word ever could.
Today is the feast day of The Holy Name Of Jesus. The name Jesus means “God Saves”. Scripture tell us that “Every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. (Phil. 2:10-11). In some recent study on the third commandment, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain”. (Ex. 20:7) I learned that the word vain means empty, worthless, unreal. The commandment refers to the sin of emptying the Name of God of its power; its omnipotence.
I can’t remember when this realization came to me, but when it did, it changed something within me. As a daily reminder of this truth, I have a card with the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on my refrigerator that states
Respect His Holy Name
“Thou shat not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain, for the Lord shall not leave unpunished him who takes His Name in Vain” Ex.20:7
This card sits right next to the scripture from Ephesians 4:29-30: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to the needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
So how do we break the habit of behaving in a way that doesn’t align with God’s plan? How do we move closer to God’s ways and farther from our own? In other words, how do we surrender to His plan?
Here are five ways that could help get you started:
1. In all things give thanks to God. When we know where everything we have comes from, it is easier to turn our mind and heart to God in all things. Nothing we accomplish is of our own doing but a gift from God.
2. Take responsibility for the words that do come out of your mouth. Pray to the Holy Spirit before you speak. Simply say “Holy Spirit give me the words”. If you are meant to speak up in boldness, God will give you what you need. If you slip up, apologize, take responsibility, and ask forgiveness.
3. We all have things that annoy us, and need a place to vent our frustrations, but choose carefully who to do this with and don’t live in that space. Limit the time in which you complain about things or this mind-set will consume you and the conversations you have.
4. Spend time reading scripture, asking God to guide you to verses that speak life and encouragement (Proverbs is a good place to start).
5. This is something that I’m trying hard to remember to do every night. The old practice of examining your conscience. Here’s a great little prayer I use:
Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep. Every hurt that has ever been done to me – heal that hurt. Every hurt that I have ever caused to another person – heal that hurt. All the relationships that have been damaged in my whole life that I am not aware of – heal those relationships.
But Lord, if there is anything that I need to do – if I need to go to another person because he is still suffering from my hand, bring to my awareness that person. I choose to forgive, and I ask to be forgiven. Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart, Lord, and fill the empty spaces with Your love. Thank you, Jesus, Amen.
Let us strive to fulfill the words in Philippians 4:8-9 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you”.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to the garden, where we share the challenge of Sowing Sunday Living In A Weekday World. If you did, please share your thoughts in the comments or share this post using #gardenerstouch.