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Yes. God did not reveal his name to us so we could use it as an interjection when we are surprised, upset or angry. God commanded (Exodus 20:7) that people not “take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (King James Version) or “misuse the name of the Lord your God” (New International Version). The common exclamation you described is a misuse of God’s name. Our Catechism reminds us from Scripture that God has revealed his name to us that we might pray to him, praise him and give thanks to him. Our Catechism also reminds us from Scripture that Jesus forgave our sins against the second commandment by keeping that commandment perfectly in our place and by suffering the punishment our sins against that commandment deserved. That surely is reason and motivation for using God’s name properly.
My response really will not address the “should” of your question, but will instead remind Christians what they can do with a scenario like this in mind. That approach will underscore the gospel motivation of our actions. Christians can pray that world leaders and our own country’s leaders govern with wisdom and compassion, balancing national security concerns with humanitarian concerns. Scripture directs us to pray for governmental authorities: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Christians can ask themselves what opportunities this mass migration of people provides for carrying out the instruction to “do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10). Will the “doing good” take the form of making a financial gift to a reputable charitable organization that can channel aid to refugees? Will the “doing good” take the form of praying for the refugees? The verses from 1 Timothy cited above continue with the thought that, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Timothy 2:3-6). Will the “doing good” take the form of personally expressing Christian love and kindness to a refugee who is resettled in that Christian’s community? Christians can be reminded that this resettlement of refugees in our country is yet another example of the world coming to our backdoor, enabling us to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) with greater ease in the lives of those refugees who are not Christian. While the resettlement of the Syrian refugees is fraught with international, national and political overtones, a Christian response will view the refugees as people—people for whom Jesus Christ also lived, died and rose again; people who, like us, have been given a time of grace to be brought to repentance and saving faith in Jesus Christ. And with regard to the violence from which the refugees are fleeing, Christians can pray that God “foils the plans” of nations and individuals (Psalm 33:10) who intend to harm others. Christians can pray for their conversion as well.
Pastor Timothy J. Winkel
2651 Shettler Road
Muskegon, MI 49444
Telephone: 231 777 3011