The Importance of Words
by Joshua Verwers
Word, n. An articulate or vocal sound, or a combination of articulate and vocal sounds, uttered by the human voice, and by custom expressing an idea or ideas (1828 Webster’s American English Dictionary).
There is a huge battle going on across this great nation and within this world. It’s an ideological battle. To win this battle, we must learn to express effectively with our words.
Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit-you choose. ~ Proverbs 18:21 (the Message)
Noah Webster was one of the great founding fathers of this nation. He understood how powerful words are. He unlike many of us understood that to promote our ideology, propagate knowledge, and effectively proclaim the Gospel we had to first come to a common understanding of the words needed to do so. This man spent an enormous amount of time learning dozens of languages to compile the first American English Dictionary.
These definitions served their intended purpose for many years. Recently, however, our language has been hijacked and our words have been redefined allowing for a different set of ideas to be expressed through these words.
Don’t, for a second, believe that there are not spiritual forces behind this. John 10:10 it tells us that the thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. Our words and definitions have been stolen. Satan is also referred to the father of lies. When you start calling that which is good evil, you are lying, or calling what is black white, or a goose a duck, for that matter, you are lying.
First, the definitions are being changed. One example of those words that have been redefined is “tolerance.” The original definition of this word was basically “to put up with or endure a different belief.” Now the word has been redefined to “respect and give acceptance to a different belief.” When this new definition is used it is now telling someone they need to respect and accept my beliefs instead of just putting up with them. The word “gay” once meant to be happy, merry and full of glee– now it means homosexual. I understand this tactic, because if my way of life had a negative word like sodomite used to describe it, I too would prefer something more positive. And even the word “rights” as found in the Declaration of Independence signified something that comes from God and imposes no man’s will upon another’s. But now, we are to believe that rights are actually entitlements and privileges given by man and governments. The idea expressed is that I can impose my will upon you without your consent because it’s my “right!”
The second method of hijacking has come from giving the definition a new name. “Liberal” has long been used as a term to define the opposite ideology of a conservative. It signifies that you are not restrained by the Law or God’s morals, but are willing to conform to societal standards and redefine what morality is. However, with the negative connotation that this term conveyed, it is no surprise that the same contents have been repackaged as “progressive.” The idea expressed here is that if you are not like the bearer of this title, you are stuck in the mud (or a stick in the mud!). The word “socialism” also brought with it negative feelings, but now it’s being referred to as “public-private partnership.” It almost makes you warm and fuzzy on the inside until you realize what it truly is. As a brief aside, as Iowans, we must know and identify the ideas in “public-private-partership” because I have heard not only President Obama use this term liberally, but it has also come from the lips of our very own Governor Branstad.
In this heightened political environment we need to use our ears more than ever. We need to listen to not only the words being spoken, but also the ideas being expressed. The greatest teacher that ever walked this earth summed it up better than anyone else by saying, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” ~ Jesus of Nazareth
Joshua Verwers is a guest blogger from Osceola, Iowa.