We did a segment on the morning show the other day where we asked what words or phrases you are over, that get overused in conversation, that you want to be done, get rid of, do away with...
We had a few that were expected like cool beans, whatever, my bad, I heard that, etc.
My friend Ann's response of a word and a phrase really got me thinking though... the phrase was "politically correct" and the word was "tolerant". How she was tired of them being used... I too hate them being used from both sides of the preverbial line in the sand. I agreed whole heartedly!
They both have a million different meanings depending on the agenda of the one speaking them (including me, inclcuding you)... so they're both relative. So yes, we ALL have an agenda when we use them that skews the definition at the time to what we want it to mean.
This got me to thinking about other words those of us who call ourselves Christians use on what we have deemed as our side of that line. Dare I say words that we wield, in His name, when we feel appropriate (which just comes out sounding most of the time as overly righteous - no matter what our intention). And also words we say we cannot use, but we really just don't understand the words and are afraid of them.
Words like morals, values, conservative, liberal, power, acceptance, and of course tolerance.
I think we have to find a way to not use any of these words in the same way we have, and learm to use those we are afraid to with a foundation understood long before we can begin to discuss grace, forgiveness, mercy and love in the truest sense.
I guess I really don't think our vocabulary has to be completely void of those words that have a history of offending... otherwise I would be guilty of trying to be "politically correct" myself then wouldn't I :o)
I'm just saying we shouldn't resort to using them out of habit, without regard to who we are engaged in conversation with and where they are coming from, and that we shouldn't just use them to throw an opinion out there in the same old way that actually causes more division because we feel justified in using them defined by what WE feel is the true meaning of the words.
And by the way, is the person we are using these words in conversation with someone we have actually formed a relationship with first? Have we earned the right to speak freely even? Do they know we love them no matter what we agree or disagree on? More importantly do they honestly feel we really do like them? If we can't find one thing to like and respect about someone no matter who they are then we cannot honestly expect them to believe anything we say. I heard Donald Miller say earlier this year that "people know when we don't like them". He's intirely dead on. Those you have found yourself in debates with... have you bothered telling them yet that God loves them? That He is not angry with them? That He loves them and why? Did you tell them this first? (more on all of that another day)
Let's just consider saying things differently, thinking about what we want to say long enough to actually not default to those crutches in our conversations, so that they are not the "easy way out" that is not easy to understand or agree on. They mean something different to everyone anyway.
How something is wrong means something different to each person. Why something is wrong means something different to different people.
Who are we to have the corner market on how we approach others about their "condition" anyway. No, we don't have to water anything down to be truthful. But what we can do is form a relationship first though so that those words never have to be used again in the same way though.
Maybe if we approach people differently than we have before, truly seeing them, with a real desire to connect on every level (including on their level), we may just be able to introduce them to the Jesus who loves them more than they realize, instead of driving a wedge deeper and further between them and Him all in the name of Christianity... heck, He just may use us inspite of ourselves :o)