PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Three days ago, I saw a news headline that said, “San Francisco board rebrands ‘convicted felon’ as ‘justice-involved person,’ sanitizes other crime lingo.” I had to laugh as I read the article. It’s as inane to me as the report that came out in mid-July about Berkeley, CA city officials changing the vernacular for “manhole covers.” California tax dollars hard at work…There’s a raging homeless problem going on out there, but by all means, priorities, right?? I digress through my sarcasm as I am also grateful that I live in North Carolina. Heaven help me if my state starts on this kind of ridiculous nonsense.
These attempts to rename everything is getting out of hand. Even the late comedian, George Carlin, agreed with me on this one. It’s not exactly a squeaky clean diatribe, but he made some really valid points as he discussed the history of what used to be known as “battle fatigue” that has over the course of several wars has been rebranded to “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Then, he went on to review other vocabulary sanitation efforts.
We’ve got real problems in the world. And our vocabulary isn’t going to fix them. But that really does boil down to the problem, doesn’t it? We think a word change will solve the problem. We want to relabel everything and rewrite it all so that it suits our purposes. I’m not saying we shouldn’t make positive changes where they are needed and warranted. But there are some times when you’ve just got to call a spade a spade.
After all, calling a spade a “piece of environmental weaponry’ doesn’t have the same impact.
Please understand. I believe there is tremendous power found in words. I believe that words can change the world. But I don’t believe relabeling a problem makes it go away. I don’t believe in rewriting the Gospel to make it more appealing to the next generation. The Bible is infallible and timeless. The sin of mankind is as despicable as it’s been since the fall of Adam and Eve, no matter what sins our society now accepts as normal.
As Christians, we have a tendency to do the same thing. For instance, we want to downplay and sanitize sin. We accept cultural norms over what God’s Word has to say.
We also want to rewrite Scripture so it serves our purpose. But God will not be mocked by our attempts to redefine His standards (Galatians 6:7).
If you scroll back through the 900+ blogs on my website, the very first one is based on this truth—“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8 ESV). I’ve written about this a number of times in the last three years because I believe it with all my heart.
We cannot fall to the temptation of rebranding sin. God has already determined what is offensive to His Holy nature. And just as we can’t tell a loved one how to feel, we certainly cannot tell the Creator of the Universe that His stance on sin needs to be tweaked so we don’t offend others or appear judgmental.
We have to also be careful about trying to rewrite Scripture. I’ve said this plenty too—don’t take my word for it. I pray regularly that I’ll write with accuracy, but I’m an imperfect person. Don’t take my word (or anyone else’s!) for what the Bible says! Pray for clarity if you’re intimidated by it because Jesus will open your mind if you ask (Luke 24:45, Psalm 119:30). Go read it for yourself!
Just be cautious not to rewrite it.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His perfect Words. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep your heart and mind loyal to God’s Words, not the world’s. Ask Him to fill you with wisdom so you can understand His perspective. Ask Him to align your values with His. And pray for our country too. Ask the Holy Spirit to stir a revival up in our world and that we will have more people turning to Jesus Christ as the ultimate solution to our problems.