Are You Taking The Lord's Name In Vain Without Even Knowing It?

"I'm just a realist."

Have you ever heard that phrase before? You may have said it yourself a time or two.

Jeffrey (CC)

Pessimists drag it out like it's a pet. They hold it up to their cheek, close their eyes, and comfort themselves with it.

Then they go on being sourpusses and killjoys.

What's Wrong With Pessimism?

There's nothing wrong with pessimism if you're an atheist.
There's nothing wrong with pessimism if you're a naturalist, a post-modernist, an existentialist.

But if you claim Christ, don't tell me you're just a realist.

Because if you believe in Jesus, here's the reality:

. . . in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

You either believe that or you don't.

The Opposite of Hope

Moses made the arduous and no doubt terrifying climb up Sinai. When at last he reached the top, God gave Him the following commandment (among others):

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7 (ESV)

When we call ourselves Christians, we attach the name of God to ourselves. When I repented of my sins and believed in Christ, I was no longer Andrew Gilmore. I became Andrew Gilmore, son of God. That is a marvelous thing, but it also comes with responsibility.

The pessimistic Christian is at best, an oxymoron. At worst, he or she is a violator of the Third Commandment.

One website defines pessimism as, "The tendency to expect the worst and see the worst in all things."

In short: the opposite of hope. Having an expectation of the worst is to discredit the benevolence and omnipotence of God.

I understand the psychology: when bad things continually happen we become conditioned to expect the worst. But consider Job who experienced a version of hell on earth. After losing his children, enduring painful sores, and suffering the loss of his livestock his wife advised him to "Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9b). In response Job says, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10).

As the light of the world (Mat. 5:14), we Christians represent Christ in good times and in bad. And our sufferings—whatever they may be—are insignificant compared to the splendor of eternity. The apostle Paul writes:

. . . we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:23-25

No matter what plagues us on earth, we have the promise of adoption into eternal life by the shed blood of Jesus. The atheist doesn't have that promise.

So stop acting like one.

If you ever struggle with pessimism, one effective remedy is listening to uplifting words. I've put together a list of some of my favorite podcasts that will uplift you and strengthen your faith. Click here to get it:


  1. Sorry I missed this previous post, but now so glad I read it. So true that" we Christians represent Christ."

    1. Thanks Debra! I have to remind myself of this fact every day.