The Dove Foundation provides movie recommendations for families. The group’s ratings are somewhat elastic. Movies receiving their seal of approval include Summer popcorn movies such as “Thor” and “The Avengers.” However, some films don’t quite make the grade, including five of the six Rocky movies. Their commentary on Rocky IV showed how the film just missed their approval:
If not for one word, and an audibly faint profanity at that, “Rocky lV” would have been approved by Dove. However, The Dove Foundation does not approve films which use God’s name in vain and there is one uttrerance of that in a Moscow scene in the film.
The one use of God’s name as a swear word was enough to make the film unworthy of recommendation. At first, this seems a little odd in our culture. By the standard of secular culture, that phrase can be used as much as the producer would like and end up PG. It’s the F-word and barnyard expletives that can push a film’s rating towards PG-13 and R Ratings. And we tend to be offended more by these words and other coarsening aspects of our culture.
However, we may be missing what matters to God. Barnyard expletives were not something so serious that God prohibited their use in the Ten Commandments. The Third Commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold [him] guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”-Deut. 5: 11 and we rarely take notice of it.
This is usually disregarded in the movies. One exception was in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (not recommended by Dove) where Indiana Jones’ misuse of the name of the Christ was meant with a slap and a rebuke from his father (played by Sean Connery), “That’s for blasphemy!”
Sadly, most of us don’t quite feel that strongly about the misuse of God’s name. It may be that we don’t grasp the importance of the Third Commandment. When a society gets into the habit of using God’s name lightly, we take the rest of God’s commandments and ways lightly.
The misuse of God’s name has (not surprisingly) because rampant in our disrespectful culture. “Oh my God!” or OMG has become a common saying that no one blinks an eye at. If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us have fallen into that cultural trap of taking God’s name in vain without even thinking about it. If we are to truly honor God in our culture, we must learn to honor God’s name again. Such a restoration must begin with us confessing along with Isaiah, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)
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