We know that in every society we have what we call ‘opinion makers.’ These are people who use words to make a living: news media in all of it forms, lawyers, teachers, politicians, etc.
Words are very important and how we use them is of utmost importance. Do we use them to bring life or death? Do we use them to build or tear down? Do we use them to inspire people to greater achievements or to live in defeat? One of the main problems that we have is having a definition of words that we all can agree with. Take for example the word ‘progressive.’ As an adjective it would refer to something developing by stages, but as a noun it is a person advocating or implementing social reform or new liberal ideas.
So, if I take the definition of this word as an adjective I would class myself as a progressive, because I want to see myself and others developing in stages more into the likeness of Christ. The same would be with the noun in seeing social changes that would be more in tune with the Word and law of God.
What I am bringing out here is the difference of worldview (the lens to view and screen the world around us.) I am looking through a lens of the Judeo/Christian worldview, but those of the progressive party looking through a lens of humanistic worldview are assuming that man can achieve utopia without God. The end result is that we have very different ways seeking to achieve the goal.
What this means to me is that when I use the word ‘progressive’ I need to make sure that I define what I mean by it.
There are other words that fit into this category. For example, in the Trump administration he is asking his cabinet to check all of the regulations that have been laid down hurting small businesses, etc. Since ‘regulations’ is becoming a bad word a new word has come in to take its place – protection. So instead of regulations being put into place we now will have protections put into place instead. But there are many synonyms that can be used – rules, guidelines, principles, protocols, procedures, directives just to name a few.
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
In his essay called “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell shared a crucial insight about the decline of language: “A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”
Mike Bauman says, “Sloppy language makes sloppy thought possible.” In Orwell’s “1984” the masses are fed redefining slogans like “War Is Peace,” “Freedom Is Slavery,” and “Ignorance Is Strength.” We are in a cultural war and in this battle, it is often on the use of words. How do we define and redefine words? Language is very important and like Proverbs says: “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
A question that arises is this: are social media and texting making us sloppy in the use of the English language? My wife speaks three languages and her third language is English and she often comments to me how it is such a shame when words are abbreviated and so she thinks of it has a sloppy, slovenly, lazy way of using language. I think she is right.
We find the same thing with TV and the 30 second sound-bytes that try to communicate complex situations that we are faced with. We find people missing a lot because they do not like to read and anything over 500 words would be a novel for them.
The one thing that is becoming very important to me is God’s Word. That is the one thing that does not change because God does not change and He is not a man that He should lie. We, who call ourselves Christians need to be familiar with His Word and able to draw the principles out of it when the occasion arises wherever we are: work place, school, business, profession, etc. Let us make our goal to be a Student of His Word.