Hallowed Be Your Name in the Workplace

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Do you hear and see God’s name everywhere you go? Often devoid of devotion? Perhaps casually use God’s name yourself?

Courteously expressing your opinion regarding use of God’s name to family and friends is generally acceptable. The workplace affords less opportunity. It may be appropriate to express your thoughts regarding God’s name to peers on work break, and sometimes to superiors in discussing work conditions. To do so with clients and customers is acceptable only on rare and special occasions.

Yet, one of the Ten Commandments forbids the use of God’s name in unholy ways. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus asked that God’s name be set apart for sacred use only. Our society uses God’s name so commonly it no longer has the weight of a swear word.

Or we use it in expressions to give import to our impotent words. “God bless” has become no more meaningful than goodbye—that once meant “God be with you.” I have heard “God bless America” used as an oath, and OMG rarely means prayer or devotion.

Orthodox Jews believe the name that God revealed to Moses is too hallowed to be spoken. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that we may put God’s name on graven images and use it in a pledge of allegiance because such usage is for a secular purpose. Some Christians object to such usage likening it to blasphemy or superstitious use of the holy name as a rabbit’s foot. Others believe that it instills devotion, especially in the young. Such use does make the holy name more common.

Jesus said that many who say Lord, Lord, will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Some would claim that they had preached and performed miracles in his name, but Jesus said they hadn’t done God’s will. Preachers and politicians may be among the worst offenders in believing they are speaking for God. Using God’s name can cover a multitude of sins.

As a writer of fiction, I am sometimes confronted by the speech of profane characters, especially when they are angry, frustrated, or disappointed. I consider whether it is necessary to use the words the character would use in order to represent the character honestly and to tell the story as truthfully as possible. And yes, in some published stories, some of my characters use profanities and obscenities. I don’t take their speech lightly. And neither did my mother when she read one of my books.

In fiction, in life, in our daily work, personal conduct speaks louder than verbal opinion. Your language during company parties, when you have been disappointed by decisions of those who control your work conditions, or when you have been offended or insulted by someone you were trying to assist will clearly represent your regard for the holiness of God’s name.

Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:

  • Do you ever use God’s name without thinking?
  • Do you ever use God’s name for dramatic or comedic effect?
  • What can you do to hallow God’s name in your workplace?
  • For more reflections about the words we use to reflect on our faith and to share it with others, read Mark D. Roberts’ reflection on The Third Commandment: No Misuse of God’s Name or William Griffin’s article Short-Attention-Span Prayer.