First, they steal our words and redefine them. Charity and love used to be somewhat synonymous. Check out the KJV on I Corinthians 13, the Love chapter. The translators used “charity” all the way through to represent the Greek agape. You demonstrated agape by giving of yourself to others. The word has totally lost its meaning in contemporary culture. That is bad enough but it has also lost its meaning in the contemporary church. It has come to mean squishy emotional responses and lots of feeling. Our entertainment industry has further polluted it by making “love” a synonym for “lust” or “sex.”
A similar transformation has come in the concept of compassion. It has become a matter of helping people because it makes us feel better or because it gives us power over others. We are warned of this in the book of Proverbs.
(Proverbs 12:10 NASB) A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.It is hard for us to understand how compassion can be cruel, but it can. As a teacher I have students who are always complaining because I try to make them read and think. I believe they have the ability to do the work. All it takes is effort, a little bit of belief in yourself, and a teacher who doesn’t just want to feel good because they did something for someone. By pointing out the answer on a page the teacher makes the student weaker and makes success in life harder. A long line of teachers acting this way will destroy a student’s future. That is cruel even if it feels good at the moment.
Second, they take old words and give them new meaning. Remember when “gay” was a good word? You don’t? Remember the Christmas carol which goes “don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la la la la la.” I don’t think that was talking about getting ready to go out in drag. When kids ask me if I am gay to try and irritate me, I ask them, “What’s wrong with being happy, light hearted and care free?” That is what the word means, not homosexual. If you think about it, even the word “fag” has been corrupted. When I was in high school we used to have a “faggot service” at campfire in summer camp. This was not a time when people came out of the closet. We would take a small piece of wood, a faggot, and throw it in the fire as we shared a thought. We also used to talk about being “fagged out” when we were tired.
Third they remove the sacred quality of words with humor. I remember driving along a freeway and seeing a picture of Green Stamps painted on an overpass with the phrase “Jesus saves.” We have all watched monologues on late night TV. For while there was a steady diet of jokes about born again cars.
The attacks go on. That is to be expected. I don’t think the devil or his minions take vacations. The sad part is that the church has surrendered to this attack and is losing the battle for minds because we do not have an honest vocabulary. We need to stop being afraid to use big words. We need to challenge believers to move beyond the milk and on to the meat. We need to challenge people when they blaspheme against what we believe. Use humor. Be tactful if possible. But speak up. Use your words to defeat theirs.
homo unius libri