Leave My Name Out Of It

Title: Leave My Name Out Of It
Subject: God''s Name
Leave My Name Out Of It!
Dr. Vincent D. Hefner, Pastor
First Baptist Church
Cherryville, North Carolina

I suppose that most people are sensitive about their names, especially the correct spelling and pronunciation. When I receive mail and my last name is misspelled, I rarely open the letter. I figure if the person or company didn’t take the time to find out the correct spelling of my name, then what they have to say can’t be all that important. When people ask me how to pronounce my name, especially my last name, I tell them it is pronounced the way it is spelled, Hefner. For some odd reason, people want to add “a’s” and “v’s” to my last name to change the way it is supposed to sound.

What really bothers me is that there is a celebrity (if you can call him a celebrity) in our society who shares my last name. Without getting too specific, he operates a magazine (if you can call it a magazine) that is very ungodly. I have had several people ask me if I am related to this person. They pronounce his name perfectly, and then mispronounce my name. Go figure. It would be nice if someone shared your same last name and was known for something heroic or honorable, not embarrassing or degrading to humanity. However, I’m sticking with my last name, and I am not changing the spelling or how it is pronounced!

As aggravating as someone misspelling or mispronouncing your name can be, the biggest insult is when someone misuses your name and associates you with unsavory people or actions. I would not want to lend my name to endorse someone or something that could be considered dishonest. I have noticed certain advertisements will produce testimonials about their product, but use just the person’s first name and first initial of their last name! What kind of testimonial is that? If I was going to endorse a product, I would let them use my first, middle, and last name! If I couldn’t be completely dedicated to something, then just leave my name out of it, regardless of how you pronounce it!

I believe that most people feel the same way that I do in regard to the use of their names. Have you ever wondered how God feels if we misuse His Name? The book of Jeremiah records an instance where His people had decided to pursue idol worship, but they also wanted God’s blessings in their lives. God let them know that they could not have it both ways, and He told them how He felt about the use of His Name in their prayers. Jeremiah 44:25-26 says, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have shown by your actions what you promised when you said, ‘We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.’ Go ahead then, do what you have promised! Keep your vows! But hear the word of the Lord, all Jews living in Egypt: I swear by my great name, says the Lord, that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, ‘As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.’”

The Lord was so disgusted with the actions and attitudes of His people, He told them not to mention His name! The entire Bible tells us that God is love. However, the Bible also tells us that in this relationship between God and mankind there are some requirements to a relationship. First and foremost, God comes first in our lives. We cannot place anyone or anything where God is supposed to be in our hearts. This was true back in the Old Testament, and this still holds true for us today. Make sure God’s name is being honored in your life by your thoughts and deeds. Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!