Language. How ordinary phrases explode with meaning.

I remember when I was younger and was learning to drive.  My dad was riding with me and we would practice in the cemetery.  I can imagine because the thought is you can’t kill anyone there (insert forced and canned laughter).

As I became more experienced, we would drive on surface streets to the cemetery and then on the highway.  During this process my friends were also getting their license and while riding with a friend one day we came to a light and he slammed on his brakes when the light turned yellow and then to red.

My parents were questioning me one day on my friends driving ability and with great confidence, puffing my chest up a little I said that he was a great driver.  I had missed the more compacted nature of traffic management.

Just as I was feeling that air of confidence my dad popped a hole in my air tight argument.  He began to explain that just because you followed a rule of stopping at a red light doesn’t mean that it was the best decision in the moment or that it should be done that way.  He explained that if someone had been going to fast behind you that wasn’t prepared for him to stop, he may have run into you and as a result caused an accident .  My pride was brought down to where it belonged and my view on life began to get a little bigger that day.

I think in the same way, on the surface these words or phrases all carry pretty “understandable” messages but in lies the challenge of language.

Stop Coveting! Oh F***. You missed the mark.  You are blessed.

The nuance of language.

Though seemingly understandable, there are layers of meaning captured within each of these phrases.  The more we press in to comprehend the ideas of language and communication, the greater our world opens up to us.

 4 ways to expand your thinking on vocabulary.

1.     Stop Coveting….or should we?

When we hear this phrase our mind immediately goes to the negative of this idea.  Stop wanting what other people have that doesn’t belong to you.

The question really is, can you covet good things?

Can you covet the friendship or compassion some one displays?  Can you covet someones faith?  Can you covet the way someone gives generously or loves lavishly?

Coveting in all cases is not wrong, so as you talk about coveting do not simply think you know what it means but press in to the depth of meaning within that word.

2.     Oh F***

I apologize in advance for the explicit reference but it conveys a message.  When we hear certain vocabulary used we cannot imagine it ever pertaining to anything positive.  Any cuss word must be…bad.  But imagine for a moment some one who has no background in the church and they are confronted with the glory and majesty of God for the first time in their life and the only word strong enough to convey their emotion of awe and reverence is…oh f…

3.      You missed the Mark but what really was the target?

If you have been in and around the church you have heard this phrase before.  You missed the mark.  This is in reference to your ability to keep the law and follow the commands.  This is a literal interpretation but the explanation is what matters.  Yes you literally did fall short of a standard that God has established for perfection but what is the standard and how do you carry yourself when this happens?  I think instead of seeing them as rules to be followed it changes when the mark you missed was actually finding satisfaction in God or to put it another way finding more satisfaction in something than God actually intended it to bring.  You missed the mark.  But don’t condemn people for it, instead continue to point people to the true source of satisfaction.

 4.     You are blessed, but not like you think.

James, Matthew, and others talk about blessings.  We have a sense of what that means because well, they’re blessings.  These are good things intended to make us happy.  However, some people have taken this to an extreme where the blessing no longer is God himself but just a bunch of cool stuff God wants to give you.  You missed the idea of blessings.  BUT EVEN MORE! James says you will be blessed…and instead of good things, he actually is saying that trials should be viewed as blessings!

Language is more complicated than we sometimes see, and the more you press in the clearer life becomes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: