Yes, Words Matter!

  The latest buzz among the celebrity world is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” Campaign. The goal is to eliminate using the word ‘bossy’ for women. Celebrities Beyonce, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Garner, Diane von Furstenberg, Condoleezza Rice, Jimmie Johnson, and the CEO of the Girl Scouts are all on the bandwagon marketing this campaign.  The campaign is predicated on the belief that changing the word will change the way people perceive women who are bossy: pushy, stubborn, assertive, outspoken, determined women.  During the video clip promoting the campaign, it accurately states, “words matter.”

Yes, our words do matter!  Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Jesus, ‘The Living Word’, says in Matthew 12: 36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Satan also knows that the words we use matter. That’s why since time began his goal has been to twist, change, and eliminate God’s Word. The word Satan would most love to ban is the word ‘Jesus’, because there is life-giving power in that Name! (See our blog “What’s In a Name? Everything!”). Another word that Satan seeks to ban because it is inextricably linked with Jesus is the word ‘sin’. As Christian author Basilea Schlink writes, “the Savior and the sinner are inseparable”*. Sin literally means ‘to miss the mark’ (of God’s commands) or ‘to wander from the path of righteousness’, ‘to wander from the law of God’. Sin, therefore, necessarily means the acknowledgement of God— something that Satan definitely does not want us to do.

 

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Satan has been the instigator behind trying to remove the word ‘sin’ from our public arena, and even from seminaries and the pulpits of many churches.  Rather than calling those things that violate God’s commands ‘sin’, we now commonly use euphemisms for sin that are far more benign, such as: an ‘indiscretion’; ‘human nature’; alternative lifestyle; addiction; disorder; predisposition; bad habit; character flaw; or even one’s ‘choice’.

So does it really matter what we call something?  Yes! It can be the difference between freedom and bondage; between life and death!

Envision this scenario:  You have cancer and go to your physician who tells you that you merely have a bad cold, so he gives you a prescription for cold medicine.  Does it make a difference if he calls it cancer or a cold?  You bet it does! The severity of cancer and the treatment for it is markedly different than the severity and treatment for a cold.  Similarly, if we do not call sin what it is, people will be deceived and either ignore their incurable condition or spend time, energy and their very lives looking for a remedy that can’t cure them. And sin always leads to death…unless a person receives the only ‘cure’… faith in the atoning work of Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross to pay the penalty for their sin.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Satan, the author of death, desires that you and I ‘misdiagnose’ our  ‘sin condition’ so that we won’t seek after Jesus, the Great Physician and the Only One Who has the cure for sin. Only Jesus can set us free from the penalty of sin! Only Jesus can set us free from the power of sin!

Ignoring our sin or calling it something other than sin does not change the reality that it is sin; sin ignored, and sin ‘by any other name’ that we choose to call it, still leads to death.

The only cure for your sinful, fateful condition is found in believing that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross and took on your sin and also the penalty that your sin deserved. It means humbling yourself and confessing that you are indeed a sinner, recognizing that you have violated the law of God and therefore deserve the penalty for doing so, which is death.  To be set free from the power of sin in your life requires repenting of your sin, or in other words—turning away from it— and choosing to live for the glory and purposes of God.

 

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We are promised:

“If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1st John 1:9

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength …
 “Isaiah 30:15 Amplified

"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you…” Acts 3:19-20

When we call sin for what it is and repent of it, we will be freed from the bondage of our sin, saved, and able to experience joy and rest in the arms of Jesus, Who gave up His life so that we could have abundant and eternal life in Him.

Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of any sin in your life that you may be ignoring or calling by another name. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to give you the strength to turn from it. Jesus longs for you to experience the freedom and joy that comes from confessing and repenting of your sin!

*From I Found the Key to the Heart of God by Basilea Schlink

Written by JVG