A simple word is often the instigator of division among people; one verbalized opinion can incite a riot.
The world in which we live is constantly being riddled with words to which we now have unlimited access, and there is perpetual agreement and dissent permeating the atmosphere. We live in interesting and dangerous times.
To give examples of such instances is easy: in the recent past there have been radio and television anchors who have used a single word that started an avalanche of arguments. Some of the broadcasters were dismissed from their jobs due to the storm of disapproval.
A word, in and of itself, can be beautiful to some ears and enraging to others. Some of the words used by the anchors should never have been used, without doubt, because they cast a net of negative description over a group of persons; however, our world has become smaller and our peoples so diverse that our words need more interpretation and toleration, and we need more instruction about the words we use, and all the variations of their meanings according to the Mr. Webster.
This statement is also true of Mr. Strong's word dictionary. It is educational to consider a word from the Scriptures and to find that it has several hues of meanings. Sometimes that confuses the interpretation of the text until all possibilities are considered and then the text becomes clearer in its application.
The recent comment that used the word, "Slave" was in no way bearing a meaning or thought to the shameful slavery of persons of our national past; the word could have easily been "Serf," and if we were living in England that may have been the choice word. The word means to be owned and controlled, to be disallowed the right of being engaged in one's own opinions, and not being permitted to own land.
There is also little correct understanding of all who were slaves in our own past history. Slavery was not limited to one race. I know that for a fact because I know the personal history of John and Mary Anne Cooke from London, England, in the mid-1700s, and many others like them.
"Cross" is another of the fast becoming no-no words. To some the words, "The Cross of Jesus," envisions an emblem of sacrifice for which they are grateful with passion; for others it is a hateful and despised imagery that incites violent internal reactions.
Many are such words, so what are we to do?
It is almost a laughable situation of our culture that we celebrate each person's right to do their own thing, but not really. It goes more like this; "you may do your own thing if it matches my own thing."
As human beings we need a set of standards, we need rules by which to live, and we have them; the problem is that we do like to be told what to do. We do not like someone saying that we are wrong in the thing we do or say. The set of Standards, which is available to us, is equally applicable to all who live in the world, given to us by the Creator of the all things.
Some of us nurse bitterness and we avoid with a vengeance anything that reminds us of the pain or humiliation we have endured, and any word that suggests the recall is anathema to us.
To some of us the very mention of a name of a person brings recoil in our inner person because a person with that name has abused us in the past.
So what are we to do? How shall we manage these very real reactions?
Identification, that is the word! To what and with whom do we identify ourselves? We must not identify with the negatives of our life, nor that of our ancestors. In Jesus Christ we get a new identity, a positive identity with hope for the future and help for the present struggles.
Watch the current struggles of our nation and discern what is trying to be eliminated and what is trying to set up as the rules by which we live. There are struggles; the words used are the keys to understanding, but we must evaluate if the words mean this or that.
Words are tools. Words are neutral in and of themselves, it is the "identification and the imagery" produced by the words that brings either agreement and unity, or disagreement and separation.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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