“I just met this wonderful person and have begun to develop a great friendship with him. However, I’ve begin to notice how often he takes God’s name in vain. It pains me whenever I hear it. What should I do?”
The first and best thing I would do is pray for him and pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance on how to respond.
If you’re not called to say anything the best thing might be showing reverence whenever he says God’s name by bowing your head or making the sign of the cross. You could even turn his words into a prayer by whispering the words, “Have mercy on us.” Through these little actions it will remind you of the value of God’s name and might have an impact on him without you even saying anything. He could become curious of why you make this constant action and the moment for evangelizing would arise on it’s own.
However, if God is calling you to speak up and address the situation, much prayer and discerning should follow. This is a really touchy situation because if he is not ready to hear this, by approaching him, you could just push him farther away, instead of closer to Christ. What you say and how you say it really depends on the situation, but please pray for guidance and approach him with love. If he is ready to hear it and you are ready to calmly share your concern, help him see the value of each person’s name (which I talked about here) and how important showing reverence toward God’s name is to you.
The time, place, person, your tone of voice, and word choice all play a factor in how to approach this. You can’t convert anyone by waving a finger and standing on a pedestal. It doesn’t work that way. You need to show love and humility and let the Holy Spirit guide you. We all have our own sinful habits. Maybe there was a time when a friend admonished you for a bad habit or sinful action. I’m sure it was hard to hear at the time and defending yourself might have been your first reaction, but if you truly think about it, only a true friend would take the risk of receiving anger and even losing friendship to help you become a better person.
If nothing seems to work and he won’t respect God’s name, maybe you need to end the friendship. The more you hear God’s name taken in vain, the less it will make you cringe and the more likely you will start taking His name in vain yourself. The relationship you have with God is more important.
This is a hard situation and I feel the struggle, but it could be God sent too. God could have placed him in your life because He wants to use you to bring him closer to Him. Have patience with him and the Holy Spirit will guide you. I greatly encourage you to deepen and increase your prayer life, so you can better hear God’s Will.
Note: This just scratches the surface of the depth the answer to this question can reach. There is much more that could be said, but this Apologetic Tidbit Series is meant to give you just that- small tidbits of knowledge of the Catholic Faith. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.
Are there any questions you have about the Catholic Faith? Are you unsure how to respond to a someone questioning your faith? Please leave me a comment below and I’d love to help you find the answer!