The Christian community has their own language, no doubt. It is easy to learn it and use it just like one would in any environment. Yet, speaking the language does not make a Christian, grace does. God gave us his free grace through Jesus. Do we have the ability to look beyond the lingo club and see the unintended harm of some of our Christian lingo?
What Christian Lingo Does to Outsiders
Have you ever been part of a club? There is specific lingo that goes with that club that outsiders do not understand.
Have you been in a relationship? You certainly have your own lingo that others do not fully understand.
Have you had a job? No matter what job it is, there is a specific lingo to that industry.
Outsiders do not understand the secret codes that we establish through our worldly interactions. It pushes others away.
What Christian Lingo Does to Insiders
In my opinion, using Christian lingo, takes the focus off of Jesus. It actually hinders our walk with the Lord. It keeps us up in the clouds, making us unreachable.
As a new Christian, hearing words and phrases that are so foreign, creates pressure to learn the lingo to fit in, which can take the focus off of the relationship off of Christ and off of meaningful fellowship.
This lingo can also create barriers that are impossible for outsiders to penetrate to fit into the club.
Been there, done that, on both sides. When we know what it feels like, we can make better choices not to do it to others instead of going along with the crowd.
It is okay that our walk with Christ may look quite differnet from others in the “club.” Wear your unique shoes in YOUR walk with the Lord. Reach new heights…
As seasoned Christians, using Christian lingo keeps us in the grade school treehouse club. Somehow we come to the conclusion that we are above all others and worthy to treat them as such. We enjoy the feeling of being elite because we belong to the most special club of all.
We cover it up by classing it up:
- We join church committees and programs galore, so we fit in to the ways of the world instead of the ways of God.
- We have our “Christian” mother-daughter tea parties, in the name of God, instead of the devotion of the daily grind that builds character.
- We have our “Christian” ministries to make us look like things we are not, usually covering our own sins. And those ministries take us away from our foremost ministries, our families.
- We pick “Christian” projects to provide charity to the lesser of us, making it clear we are a notch above others because of their misfortune.
- We strive to move into “Christian” leadership so we can be the top-dogs instead of the pitiful under-dogs.
- We dress up for “Christian” worship yet won’t give up that dress and suit for the needy.
It all gets covered up “in the name of God.” It is simply a whitewash. Sounds harsh, it is. So are these misplaced actions with all the Christian lingo that we hide behind.
Only through retrospection can I not only see how others have done this but how I have done it too. This is not about judgement, it is about seeing how we all have done it, intentionally or not and make corrections.
Sometimes it is our intentions that get us in the most trouble because “intentions” can blind us to the true motives.
Having this conversation with most Christians is fruitless. I too have had blinders on in this regard at times. This has nothing to do with picking on others. Unless I have seen it in myself, I do not have the vision to see how this works.
Now I see how we can make an already narrow path into the Kingdom of God even more narrow instead of living out the fruit of the Spirit. Yep, I just used two “Christian” lingos that only insiders would know what in the world I was talking about.
Using Christian Lingo For Good
Christian lingo is not always a bad thing. How many parables did Jesus tell others that even his closest disciples did not understand? In time the clarity came about and we still have the recorded ones in God’s Word for all of us to learn and grow from.
As a Christian grows in their faith and their relationship with Christ, we can be stretched even more by Christian lingo that we become inquisitive about and pursue understanding.
Using The Word of God as Our Lingo
The best way I know of to use Christian lingo for good is to use the Word of God as our every lingo. That does not always come in wrought memorization.
Get wacky, make your own unique treehouse club that welcomes others as wacky as you are. Show love, give love graciously, be vulnerable yourself. Display grace and mercy, not legalism.
Wasn’t Jesus, while here on earth, in the wacky-unusual-misunderstood club of all time?
Instead of fitting into the ways of this world, enjoy our unique ways we are faithful and show faith that are sincere.
Oh stars, this is where my lack of articulation gets me. God clearly says that we ARE to memorize scripture, and we should, because he tells us to and it is what is good, true, pure and right.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.“ ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-8 NIV
Shoving wrought memorization down the throats of others (Christians or not) is not love, is not promoting meaningful relationships, is not what is intended by what God meant. Wrought memorization does not reflect the love of Jesus.
Use scripture memorization for good.
We are to be “doers” and not legalistic.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” ~ James 2:14-19
As we spend time in relationship with Jesus, we know more of his character. We realize that there is a time for quoting scripture and a time for putting flesh and skin on his bible to make it come to life. This is love.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~ Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
He has made it clear that love is the greatest of all commands.
- Love ourselves enough enough to be a human, a sinner just like others, who desires to reflect the love of Jesus.
- Love others enough not to hide behind lingo that crushes relationships.
- Love Jesus enough to not hide behind his twisted words.
Shine the light of Jesus through times of our own darkness and certainly during the times of others darkness.
Applying This to Our Chronic Illness and/or Trauma Journey
While we walk through the darkness chronic illness and/or trauma, we are given a new set of eyes and ears. Watch the events of our own journey to see how others could possibly feel isolated from true Christians. Hear how we use “Christian” lingo without deeds to supposedly help others. While we are down, seeing and hearing for ourselves can be one of the greatest tools in overcoming our own Christian lingo issues.
During chronic illness and/or trauma, we are given an opportunity to allow the Lord to refine our hearts for him. While we are down, our faith can blossom. When we get out of our own way, the Lord can show us how to use our weakness for his good.
Do you have the ability to use real, meaningful words instead of lingo to share the love of God in all the unique ways he gave you? Nourish others at every turn you can.
Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)