There’s an air of rebellion in this place this morning. You can feel it all around as you walk through the room. It clings to everything like cigarette smoke does to clothes and walls, staining them yellow and giving them that horrible lingering resistant stench with which we are all all too familiar.
Of course, the spirits behind it all are those that distract and detract from the Word of The Lord which is designed to save. This morning, they have done their job well as they have gotten most of those within the establishment to do the very thing that every sin tainted human so easily and willingly does. They are focusing on themselves.
I can hear the words of those around me as they converse about their personal lives and their personal problems, which all sound very much alike one another. It’s all pretty standard fair consisting mostly of self and how they were individually wronged or are individually suffering through their individual lives. Even the gentleman with whom I now sit speaks this way. He and his fellow bartender are sharing their personal struggles of having served the night before and how they were treated by both customer and employer.
The one is currently expressing his distaste for it all and as he speaks, I quietly listen and pray. Every third word or so is a curse word and they are so easily sliding out of his mouth. I am reminded of how I used to speak not so long ago, and even recently, as I backslid and got angry. My heart breaks wide open, though, as he utters the very name of the Savior as though it were akin to those other words. He spouts it out as though it means something vile, and yet, it doesn’t. That very name carries with it power to those who believe.
Jesus Christ. It is the name above all other names. His name is exalted by angels, known by demons, and it can free mankind. But for mankind, there is a choice, and as I hear this man from Italy, speak that Name with such contempt in his own beautiful accent that now sounds so bitter and harsh, I begin to weep. I have to excuse myself and quickly remove myself from this rebellious atmosphere.
I know that I do not live by the law. I live now by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified, yet Jesus Himself told us that there are two commandments that supersede and fulfill all the others. The first is to love God with all of our strength, soul, mind, and spirit. In other words, to love God more than anything else with all that we are. The second is to love one another.
If we love Him like that, then we will not disobey the original Ten Commandments, and in our spirit, when others disobey them, we will know it and we will react to it. Which is why I feel the way I do.
“Thou shalt not take the name of The Lord thy God in vain.” Exodus 20:7
I want to love this bartender who uses Christ’s name as a curse word, yet I know that by speaking out right now, I will only make things worse. This man is in his eighties and all I want to do is correct him, as though he will accept it. But, I know better. I will only get upset and push him further away. And so, I pray. I pray quietly to The Lord and I use the name of Jesus the way we should, because there is power in His Name.
Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus, I stand before You grateful for the grace that You’ve bestowed upon us through Your Son Jesus Christ. That You would send Him down to us; that Jesus would choose to come; that You thought so much of us as to step down and humble Yourself to become a Man; that You would not only do that, but that You would become the lowliest among men speaks so much of Your Love as mercy. To know that You have so much Love for Your creation that You have made a Way to deal with Your righteous judgement and wrath through the shed Blood of Jesus is ever so humbling. Lord, forgive us; forgive me. Forgive us for our own judgements and our own shortcomings as we interact and try to deal with one another. Lord, make Yourself known to all men in a greater way. Speak to those who do not yet know You and use Your name so flippantly. Speak to those of us who claim to know You and yet do not speak correctly to our brothers and sisters or to others at all. Father God, open our ears and our eyes to how to speak the Truth in love and honor Your holy Name. Strengthen us, Lord God, to do Your Will. Give us the hearts to look beyond ourselves and to pray for all men to be saved with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We praise You and thank You, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.