Today: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Lord's Prayer - Hallowed be your name    (5/11/2014 )

Sometimes people use the name of God as a swear word. I remember when I used to work at ASDA, every time one of my colleagues wanted to swear he would use Jesus’ name. One day I picked up the courage to ask him, ‘What has Jesus done that is so bad that you use his name as a swear word?’

He stared at me and never gave an answer. I honestly don’t know how he took it, but he never used Jesus as a swear word again—at least, not while I was around!

When he said this prayer, Jesus was talking to his Father, wanting his Father's name to be honoured. But Jesus is also God, so his name shoudn't be used as a swear word, either.

And if, for example, someone stubs their toe and sometimes says, "Oh God!" but at other times says, "*!#@", then does that mean that, in that person's mind, God equals *!#@?

The Lord’s Prayer says "Hallowed be your name". This is a cry for God’s name to be honoured in our society, and that he would once again be honoured in our lives, in our families, in our workplace. But as you look around, you'll see that it isn’t always so. It's not just using God's name as an expletive: people will say things like, 'I swear to God!' to try and make their listener believe them, without thinking about whether this is right—and they may not even be telling the truth!

Why honour God's name?

Well, we might ask, why should we honour God's name in the first place? Well, he is our Father, our Creator, our Provider—and he deserves our ultimate respect. Also, Jesus asked us to honour that name!

As for Jesus' own name, there are many reasons why we should respect him: he was a prophet, a good man, a miracle maker etc etc. But is that all? Probably not, since Jesus said he was God. And Christians firmly believe it—but it was a very heavy statement to make; do you think he was right in saying so?

In the words of C. S. Lewis, there were only three options: Jesus was either ‘lunatic’ ‘liar’ or ‘Lord’. Or, in modern terms, he was mad, bad, or actually who he said he was—God!

So the question is, who is Jesus for you? Do you think that Jesus was a lunatic for claiming to be God of the universe? Or do you think he was a liar or a bad man, possibly devilish, for lying to the world about who he really was?

Well, you might need to give it some thought. Did he say anything that was false, or do anything wrong to be classed as mad or bad? If not, then the only other option is that he was right in what he did and said, which means that he is God. If he fits the third criteria (God) and not the first two (mad or bad), then he deserves respect; his name needs to be hallowed, and not used as a swear word.

Pray: Father, forgive me if I have not 'hallowed' your name... if I have used it wrongly, or not respected it. Amen.

Think about: Our names are important to us. How would you feel if someone you loved used your name as a swear word, or used it in other ways you didn't like or sanction?

Challenge: This week, listen out for the words 'God', 'Jesus' and 'Christ'. You may be surprised at how often you hear them. In which ways are they used, and are they appropriate?

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