Sometimes “harsh” words are necessary

I didn’t realize this was going to be a week where I concentrated on the subject of our word choices.

But I guess I’m on a roll.

I’ve been posting about avoiding harsh words. But sometimes harsh words are necessary. The whole point is to use our words appropriately, to use words that are specific, never to denigrate anyone or make anyone feel “small”.  But when we are so general with our words, when we cower from speaking the truth, we often make situations worse.

Sometimes we are the only one that can speak the truth. We are the only ones that can help someone change their behavior. (Assuming, of course, we have been asked and/or have earned another’s trust. Our lives have to reflect the truths we support. If they don’t, we might as well keep quiet.)

Sometimes our words are far too tame.

Rape is rape, not just the general phrase “sexual abuse”. It is abuse and it is sexual but in my opinion the word “rape” is far more descriptive and should be used. Sexual abuse is far too general a term and we end up calling everything abuse. When everything is lumped together it’s sometimes hard to address specific issues.

“Lazy” is another one of those words. I’m sure the politically polite word might be “not motivated to work”. But even scripture uses the word “lazy”. If you don’t sow (work), don’t expect you’ll reap rewards (like food, shelter, clothes).”

And don’t even get me started on the horrific overuse and misrepresented word “mistake”. Talk about a word that’s used to describe everything from buying the wrong shoes to murder! We have completely watered down some words while making others almost forbidden, like Jesus, God, faith.

And especially the word, “sin”.

Boy, we really don’t like that word. And yet it’s a word she should use much more often.

“Sin” is a really good word. It helps us call our behaviors what they are and work to change them. If we call them “bad habits’ or “mistakes” (which of course, is also true) but don’t use the word “sin”, we excuse ourselves too easily.

A word of caution here, though. We should use the word “sin” to describe our personal behaviors and, unless we are asked, we let God convict other people of their sins. We encourage others to name their own sin when we are willing to name our own. I mean I’ve done it myself.

I’ve confused the concepts of bad habits with sin simply by my word choice.

Tomorrow I’m going to post about why I like the word “sin” so much. I hope you read it.

God bless and have a good day.