How Christians Take The LORD’S Name In Vain

How Christians Take The LORD’S Name In Vain April 23, 2024

Growing up as an Evangelical, I used to believe that “taking the Lord’s name in vain” simply meant saying “Jesus Christ” when you shouldn’t, or “Goddammit” at any point in time. But God isn’t God’s name, and now that I’m not a child, I no longer believe in childish things.

As an adult who has decided to live out my days as a post-Christian who still reveres Jesus Christ, I now believe that “taking the Lord’s name in vain” means something much more profound and meaningful. As in, maybe we’ve had this wrong from the beginning.

Not maybe. Definitely.

To my mind, to take the Lord’s name in vain is to take on the label “Christian” and not take serious the things Christ taught. The first of which is that Jesus asked his followers to … well … follow. Follow in ethics. Follow in compassion. Follow in bringing healing to a hurting world. Follow in love. This is what it should mean to be a “little Christ.”

Too often, however, Christianity only desires to talk about Christ. They’ve got their Christian songs, Christian creeds, Christian businesses, Christian schools, Christian daycares, Christian clubs, and probably even Christian Yoga centers–go figure–yet they have little interest in following the Lord.

In the most extreme cases, so-called Christians are even wrapping their Bibles in American flags, throwing shitty song lyrics in the front matter of the supposed “Word of Gawd,” and rating a former president with dozens of pending felony charges as high or even higher than the Jesus they claim to worship. And if that isn’t “taking the Lord’s name in vain,” I don’t know what is.

For Christians like these, Jesus is just a prop–though he never condemned abortion, or the LGBTQ community, or immigrants, Christians constantly parade him out there as their PR guy for their worst ideas.

And look, hashtag “not all Christians.” I get it. But as I always say, if the slipper don’t fit, it ain’t your slipper, Cinderella! There are enough Christians who profess the name of Jesus on Sunday, but don’t do what he asked of them Monday through Saturday, so we would all be remiss not to allow these folks to so easily besmirch the name of God. I’m just doing my part 😉

But Matt, who are you to judge?!

I’m not judging; I’m discerning. Jesus would want us to do that. Plus, it’s not like we are going to condemn these Christians to an eternity of hellfire, or even banish them to the corners of the planet (that’s kind of their MO, not mine). We just want some accountability in a religion that was supposed to value repentance over anything.

And isn’t it time for some goddamn repentance!

That’s what it took for me to realize if I wanted to take Jesus seriously, I had to stop worshipping him and start following him. I had to drop the label “Christian” and take seriously that that word should be an action verb. Actions as in literally doing the things he asked us to do, starting with aiding the needy, helping the poor, bringing comfort to the afflicted, and all that other stuff some modern American Christians are now labeling “woke.”

Go figure!

So, take on the label “Christian” if you choose. But remember that Jesus cared less for labels and more for how you go about living your life as an other-oriented peace-maker. That’s what Christian should mean, so if you aren’t actively doing that, perhaps it’s time to stop taking the Lord’s name in vain and make a decision. Either take your God seriously, or go find a different one who better suits you. As for me, humanism is my religion and Jesus is my most beloved sherpa.




Also, if you’ve been digging my work on here, and want to see me be able to continue writing as close to full-time as humanly possible, please take a look at my Patreon page at Even $1 a month helps bigly!

About Matthew John Distefano
Matthew J. Distefano is an author, blogger, podcaster, and publisher. He lives in Northern California with his wife and daughter You can read more about the author here.
"I get the old platitude "hate the sin, love the sinner," but isn't it a ..."

What Should We HATE?
"Yeah, we know you're pissed. We figured that out on January 6th ;)"

REPOST: Dear Trump-Supporting Christians
"Sad to realize this is even more relevant these days. It seems many are being ..."

REPOST: Dear Trump-Supporting Christians
"Matthew J. Distefano or whatever your real name is... We're all just as sick of ..."

REPOST: Dear Trump-Supporting Christians

Browse Our Archives