Like a nightmare revisit to Junior High, we are now bombarded in the media with people calling other people by ugly names. It is not only tolerable, but in some circles, quite fashionable to refer to others by using derogatory titles. Those who complain about the politically correct emphasis under which we live must be delighted. Apparently, you can call someone whatever you want as long as you think it is true (and it drives home your ideological point).
Think about it, words like, snowflake, extremist, troll, radical, elitist, and misogynist, show up in the news many days. Deplorable, fascist, teabagger, Trumpkin left-wing, nut job, Libtard, SJW (Social Justice Warrior), and so on are widely acceptable names that we hear frequently in public. Hashtag any one of these names and run it through Twitter – you may be surprised how often they show up.
There is a whole slew of names I wouldn’t dare put in print because they are so distasteful and offensive. Yet, they frequent our headlines and lunchroom discussions.
This is not a new phenomenon. But something about this type of language is relatively new: we’re not in Junior High anymore.
When the leaders of our country blow up social media most days by referring to their political counterparts in disrespectful ways, we can readily expect the citizens to follow. As I have found myself repeating a lot recently, people follow leaders. Think about that for a minute.
For the Believer in Christ (a name I prefer), there is a better way.
Consider what these passages indicate:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9
Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. Ecclesiastes 10:12
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
These verses indicate that we are not to use our words to hurt others. Our tongues can be a blessing or a curse, but they cannot be both. If you are a Christian (another term of endearment), sanctify your mouth. In others words, say only the things that build up other people. I am not indicating that we pretend that bad people are good. But there is no good accomplished when we call one another names.
There are several obvious problems with name-calling:
- It is an effort to make others look bad. This is a well-known defense mechanism – we try to make ourselves look good by making others look bad. By the way, this doesn’t work.
- It is an attempt to control a situation. I think name-calling is a bully tactic.
- It hurts individuals. Many of us still live with the ugly results of monikers that were placed on us as children.
- It makes us sound unintelligent. Educated people have improved vocabularies, and not so we can more effectively offend one another.
- It reduces the chance for healing in relationships. It is nearly impossible to reason with a person whom you have destroyed with your words.
- It sometimes ends intelligent dialogue. Once some names are applied, the conversation ends.
- It is disrespectful.
In my opinion, when we spend our time identifying others by degrading or demeaning terms, we are revealing a weakness in our own hearts. Recall what Jesus said, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
For the Believer, there us a higher calling.
If an individual does not know Christ, our calling is to reconcile them to Him. Can we possibly accomplish this by insulting them with a profane label?
We can do better. Please don’t follow our politicians. Let’s allow our spirits to mature. Of course there are those with whom we disagree. But let’s focus on how we may minister grace to them rather than humiliate and degrade them.
Love you all!