If you are in the 1st Grace Bible Class, “Building the Kingdom Through Words & Relationships,” thank you for checking in at Fieryhalo.com! This is a place where we can go a little deeper and discuss thoughts about class in more detail midweek (please feel free to comment below). Our study of words this past weekend could have almost been a 12 week class all by itself! Some of the principles we’ve talked about will certainly be popping up again in future classes, so I hope you took a ton of good notes!
As we consider the importance of being conscientious in our communication, a response I often get is “I just don’t want to be fake” or “I want to always be honest.” No one wants you to be fake (obviously!) but I’ve discovered that those who are quick to say “I-don’t-want-to-be-fake-or-dishonest-about-how-I-feel” tend to be people who express a lot of negativity. Does this build anything? If so, what? As you consider a logical approach to our spiritual responsibility, I think you may find the following examples and ideas somewhat helpful:
“Everyone else has to be better off than me…”
He stood next to his car, fishing keys out of his pocket, and eventually jammed one into the door with a sharp twist. “It’s classic nothingness, a massive stomach-ache of stupidity,” he said; “I hate my life.” Whoever was on the other end of that phone had either called at the wrong time or answered at the wrong time. I didn’t envy the poor listener one bit.
I wasn’t intentionally eavesdropping. I was just standing there. The guy’s rant was unusually eloquent for 8 o’clock in the morning. My memory isn’t perfect but the general gist of this particular conversation wasn’t lost on me. Something about the whole scenario seemed vaguely familiar.
Was it the tone or the words? Perhaps it was the mood of the speaker. Maybe it’s all of the above but one thing is for sure; I’ve been on the other end of that same phone call numerous times. The depressed mess of a message has been left on my voicemail in at least 20 different voices. “Meaningless, nothingness, life stinks, I never get what I need, I don’t know what to do… call me back?”
It’s easy to wallow in self-pity if the physical world is all we see. We’re looking for something different but whatever we’re looking for, we’re not getting. We’re desperate for fulfillment, craving a compassionate listener, and needing to unload. Or we’re simply ready to be the listener! A five minute glimpse at a television talk show in a waiting room confirms the sad fact. We’re all sick and losing it, right? Hey, at least those women who have 3 children by 4 different men are being honest about their lives. And we all appreciate truthfulness, don’t we?
We’ve heard it all before. “That’s life,” some people say.
That’s death actually. Even though sharing and accepting junk is normal, it’s killing us. Just like those big, greasy burgers we like to eat at the local fast food joint. Swallowing a couple of them won’t put you in the hospital but eat a burger or two every day and you might want to call the ambulance while you’re at it.
How about swallowing the vein-clogging honesty of daily depression or bad habits? Does anyone feel more trusting of that wonderfully honest person who is willing to shamelessly feed you their morbid feelings or slimy, dysfunctional lifestyle? If you don’t like it and have the gall to express your distaste, you’re considered judgmental. After all, they’re just being honest.
The unfortunate property of language is that a word commonly used has the tendency to change in perceived meaning over time. Case in point: Truth. People don’t know what the word “Truth” means anymore. In fact, Truth has been totally twisted to mean the opposite of what it actually is.
If I were to set the record straight in one line, it would be this: “Truth” doesn’t describe the way things ARE, Truth is a term describing the way things SHOULD BE. Furthermore, Truth is not a construct each individual develops by themselves within themselves. Truth is external, constant, and way bigger than we are.
“The Truth will set you free” is a quip you often hear repeated in movies, music, and even the news. Interestingly enough, it’s from John 8 and comes with a fantastic context. The context is rarely quoted but here it is in the words of Jesus: “If you hold to my teachings you are really my disciples. Then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.”
Jesus is His teaching. His teaching is the Truth. He is the Truth. He is the way things should be. That’s what will set you free. So, who’s being honest here? Jesus/Yahweh-God made the world. He made it to work perfectly. We helped to make it a mess. Our destructive words and habits put us where we are – and it’s not the way the world works; it’s the reason it doesn’t work. Therefore, unless we’re holding up the Truth, we’re the liars.
As we tie this into our topic from Sunday’s class… How many times do we hear God described as “The Word”? This always sticks out to a language/communication guru like me. There’s so much emphasis on reading your Bible (aka The Word) in Christianity, it almost feels like you should be ashamed if you don’t set aside your mandatory fifteen minutes a day. If you truly received a God blessed “guiltless” life of total freedom in Jesus Christ, why does it matter whether we read a book or not?
There’s something to this. It’s a miraculous concept to think of someone limitless like God in terms of something so limited as language. How do you define the Almighty Creator of… well… everything using limited sounds made by limited beings? The idea blows our minds because we simply can’t think that big.
“The Word became flesh”… “and the Word WAS God”… “my Words will never pass away”
If the Word WAS God and the Word became flesh in the form of Jesus Christ (not to mention the creation of the ENTIRE physical world <Gen. 1 “And God said…”>), how much importance should we place on our words and on studying His Word? We were made in God’s image. He was and IS the Word. So, if “The Word” and “The Truth” are descriptors of Jesus, what does this say about how we can participate in building His kingdom?