Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bad language

I don't know if you've ever noticed how easy it is to slip into using extra biblical language to describe attitudes and behaviors the Bible calls sin.

It's also dangerous.

For one thing, the name we give a problem usually has something to say about its solution. If I call someone who is constantly complaining about themselves a person with low self-esteem for example, I'm saying that what they need is a higher self-esteem. If I'm using unbiblical terms to describe biblical problems it's no surprise if I look for unbiblical solutions. And if I look for unbiblical solutions it's no shocker if all I get is more biblical problems.

On top of that, if we look closely at many of the phrases we use to describe behaviors and attitudes the Bible calls sin, those phrases are basically just excuses. Instead of reminding us of the importance of dealing with the issue, the very terms we use to describe it, are ways we rationalize away actually addressing it.

To come at it from a different angle when we use extrabiblical language to describe behaviors and attitudes the Bible calls sin, we may be subtly be excusing ourselves from having to confront it in somebody else's life. I'll tell you this, I'd be a lot slower to talk seriously about what someone is doing if they are "bi-polar" than I would if they are being flat out self-centered. I mean, what kind of person would I be to talk seriously to someone who has a medical condition about changing? You don't go up and yell at paralyzed people because they can't walk.

If something is a medical issue we should call it that, but if it's not we better not muddy the waters.

Let's be careful to use biblical terms to describe biblical problems.

I guess what I'm saying, in the words of Jay Adams, is "Watch your language..."

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