I recently logged onto one of my favorite guitar forums, which is sponsored by one of my favorite guitar manufacturers. My freshly brewed mug of hazelnut coffee was close at hand, and I sank back into my recliner to enjoy some goofy, opinionated guitar banter. That’s right, I’m not the only one obsessed with such trivial first-world topics. One seemingly harmless thread was about how well their newly released amplifier was received at a national music convention. In fact, it had won best of show. But somewhere along the line, the thread had derailed into a running joke about the name of the Lord Jesus. Not by the manufacturer, but by followers of the thread. Since this is the name by which I’ve been saved, the name that I love, which is above every name, and which is holy, I was more than a bit dismayed.
As I considered my options, I knew I could not simply let it go unchallenged. If folks chose to blaspheme the name of God in private conversation, that was between them and God. But if it’s done in an on-line forum, a public place where thousands of other readers interact with the conversation, then it needed to be answered. I was frankly surprised that no one else had done so. But how should I respond?
If I “called them out”, if I drew my qwerty sword and hacked viciously at them for their audacity in profaning that holy name, I could have come away with some pats on the back by my peers. “Yeah, we showed them! They’ll think twice before they ever do that again!” would be our self-congratulatory affirmation. But I doubt it would have produced any change of heart. It would more likely provoke flaming responses, which would escalate into such a fever that a moderator would step in and delete all our comments. After all, this was a P.R. tool for the company, and nasty exchanges do not produce good rapport. I could have invoked the law and reported their jokes as inappropriate. That would have some degree of benefit, with no repercussions. But again, it might not produce any change of heart. After all, if their heart had ever encountered the power of that precious name, they would never be able to defame it so casually.
And because of that, I decided to respond with a testimony, of just how powerful, how beautiful, how vital that name has been to me, particularly when I could never deserve what that name has brought me. That way, I was not elevating myself above them, but humbly sharing the beauty of the name, so that perhaps they could encounter Him too. So, with faith and a prayer, or three or four, here was my very brief response:
“Well, as long as this thread has already become about the name of Jesus, let share my thoughts. I'm so grateful that His name has made all the difference in life for me. Had it not been for the grace He gave to this chronically depressed, self-centered train wreck, my life and the lives of my family would have taken dramatically different turns. I can't imagine the destruction He has saved me from, when I had already left such a mess of it in my wake. So, no I don't believe there is a middle initial. Only a string of titles; friend, savior, hero, redeemer, and one day to be revealed as the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Thankful He has allowed me to serve Him with these quality musical instruments.”
No stones thrown. None returned. Doing my best to follow in the steps of the one “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return”. And best of all, no delete of my testimony by a scrambling moderator. Did it have any impact? Well, I may never know. But rather than a flame war, the response on the post that followed was simply “Oh, look at the time...gotta roast in the oven and need to skee-daddle...”.