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OPINION

Please don’t damn the name of God

By R.A. Mathews
Special to The Star

I grew up playing under a majestic arbor. Lightning struck that tree when I was very young, setting it ablaze at the top and splitting it in half. I stood not ten feet away with my mother. She clapped and I joined her, enjoying the sight with wide-eyed wonder.  

“Dangerous!” Did I hear that from someone in the back?  

Wait. We were at a window. My mom gathered her children to watch every storm as thunder began to roar and flashes split the sky. She wanted us to be fearless and to this day I love lightning. 

I also know better than to be out in it. So did the children of God. They were terrified when He called them forth as He descended in fire on top of the mountain before them. Thunder roared and lightning crackled overhead. This happened several months after they'd left slavery in Egypt. Exodus 19:1, 16-18 

Why did God summon them into the storm? To hear His voice. 

Scripture says the voice of God is like “the mighty roar of rushing waters.” Ezekiel 43:2  

If you’ve ever been to Niagara Falls, you can hear the powerful roar of those waters long before you get there.  

But it’s way too much for God’s children — the fire, the lightning, the thunder, the roar of God’s voice. They want to flee and say to Moses, “The Lord God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire … why should we die?”  

They beg Moses, and God allows them to return to their tents. Deuteronomy 5:24-30 

So, what did God say when He spoke to them? You may be surprised: 

1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” 

2. “You shall not make for yourself an image … [to] worship ...” 

3.“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God …”  

4. “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…” 

5. “Honor your father and your mother…” 

6. “You shall not murder.” 

7. “You shall not commit adultery.” 

8. “You shall not steal.” 

9. “You shall not give false testimony…” 

10. “You shall not covet…” Deuteronomy 5:7-21 (NIV) 

Perhaps you’re thinking: Wait, weren’t those given to Moses. Yes, but Scripture says: 

“These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly ...” Deuteronomy 5:22 

“Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to [Moses].” Deuteronomy 5:23 

That’s not all. God tells Moses something more. This is what most miss: 

“These commandments … are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, … walk along the road, and when you lie down … write them on the doorframes of your houses…” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 

Where are the Ten Commandments in your home? When did you last share them with your family? These spoken words from God embolden us. Let me show you. 

I was in court one day waiting for a hearing to begin. An assistant prosecutor sat across from me and said God with “damn.”  

“Please don’t damn the name of God,” I said.  

“Don’t tell me what to do!” he shouted, damning God again. 

That turned into a BIG fight.  

I knew what he’d do. This was in a large county with more than a dozen assistant prosecutors.  They hung together, thick as thieves, against defense counsel like me.  

Sure enough, he announced around his office what had happened. My friend was there.  

“What did you say?” I asked her, knowing he was a senior lawyer and she wasn’t.  

“I told him, ‘You have to stand for something.’”  

Indeed.  

Apparently, the other assistant prosecutors also stood for the Lord. But that’s not the best part.  

I had another hearing with him days later. When I pulled open the courtroom door, he sat there alone, reading a Bible. 

Speak for the Lord. Your words might inspire another Christian to lead someone to Jesus. 

If you’re mocked, you’ll be in good company. Countless Christians have suffered for Christ and still do. It’s a small thing to say, “Please don’t damn the name of God.”  

The Rev. Mathews is a columnist, lawyer, and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at letters@RAMathews.com.  

Copyright © 2020 R.A. Mathews  All rights reserved.