Words People Play

Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them (2 Timothy 2:14, NLT).

I have self-diagnosed myself with having “word-phobia.”  

I noticed that I had an acute case of this new phobia when discussing complex topics of theology and justice with someone while, in my mind, constantly checking my words to make sure that I wasn’t saying anything offensive.

I finally confessed …

I’m sorry, but I’m not sure what the right or acceptable words are for this subject. So, if I say something wrong, demeaning, impolite, or insensitive, please roll your eyes and shake your head.

After I said this, I then felt even more guilt because I was trying to be humorous about something wrong, demeaning, impolite, or insensitive.

A double whammy today, being wrong, demeaning, impolite, or insensitive with your words and making a joke about it. Humor has no place in today’s linguistic wars!

Okay, please forgive me if “whammy” or “linguistic wars” are unacceptable. I’m struggling with communicating in a way that doesn’t offend anyone. And I’m not exactly sure of the identity of “anyone.”

Do you feel my pain, my phobia, my paranoia? Today’s condemnation for misspoken words comes quickly.

To add to my “word-phobia,” I’ve discerned a growing “word-paranoia” – yes, another diagnosis. “Word-phobia” is fear of saying the wrong word, while “word-paranoia” is anxiety about what happens to your social media existence when your misspoken words are displayed online. 

And I have great reason to be both “word-phobic” and “word-paranoid” as I speak in public often, write a blog, and will start a podcast in 2023.  

You’ve read Interruptions – you know how out of control I can be with words.

I don’t even know when I’m insensitive, and I can’t help writing jokes and parodies. (Please note, before you post this blog as an example of conservative Christian thinking as the root of evil in our culture, that this Interruption is a parody.)

Or meant to be humorous.

My phobia and paranoia are so great that I may not be able to write another Interruption. This is your fault. If you would just agree to everything that I say, then I won’t have to coerce you with “blame-shifting” words, terms, and phrases.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:14 that we are not to “quarrel over words” (ESV), “wrangle about words” (NASB1995), “fighting over words” (NLT), and “strive not about words” (KJV).

Yep, even the translators sometimes disagree, but they don’t denigrate, demean, or downgrade our existence.

Blame is the undercurrent of “fighting over words” today. During a disagreement, if I can throw at you the new guilt/shame/phrase du jour and you don’t know the word … 

Then I win, and you lose. Take that – you oxymoronic plebiscite! 

I predict danger in 2023 – wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, famine, economic decline, false religions, and an increasing plague of word phobia and paranoia.

We can find help in the words sin, repentance, salvation, peace, love, joy, grace, and mercy – all Biblical and all under attack today. By understanding their meaning and living accordingly, we will have victory.

We will be eschatologically secure in our soteriological mindset. While false teachers and word wranglers will face eternal – oops, can’t say it!

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