I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom: preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1-2 WEB)
One Sunday morning a nice young lady shared about the sanctity of life and led us in prayer. It was a nice reminder that all life, before birth and up through old age has value. She also decried the massive number of young lives lost before birth in a world where abortion is widely accepted. What caught my attention was the use of the word lost throughout her presentation. I don’t have any prejudice against the word lost or its use when describing someone’s departure from earthly life. However, I’ve come to recognize we are beginning to lose the reality and impact of someone’s death or the killing of an unborn child, or any other unexpected termination of life.
I started to realize this when someone else shared their life story and somewhere in their sharing mentioned the loss of a family member. I turned to my wife and said, “Did they lose track of them in a Hyper Walmart?” Don’t get me wrong, I grieve with those who grieve and know the impact on life when a close friend or family member dies. I understand the impact of death as my mother went to join her Savior and my father for eternity. On the other hand, in our politically correct world we have come to a place where reality is cushioned by nebulous terms to soften the truth so no one is offended.
We cannot say so many babies were killed through abortion. We don’t say our father died. instead we say we lost so many million babies, or we lost our father or mother last year. Is abortion some forest where babies wander off and never find their way out? Did our cousin park in the long-term lot and disappear forever wandering aimlessly from aisle to aisle forgetting where they parked?
I’m constantly barraged by mushy politically correct words used to express dreadful events in life. Personally, I feel as if we don’t comprehend the extent of a life change when we only lose someone. To lose something belies the possibility that it might one day be discovered where it accidentally rolled under the dresser.
When I say I lost my father or mother it’s nice and polite but much of the reality is lost. If I make an honest assessment the truth is my father died many years ago. My mother died recently. I’m not likely to experience a serendipitous meeting of my Dad when I turn into a random aisle at the grocery store. This propensity to floss over the fullness of a situation has not only toned down our discussion of death but, in many cases, the teaching of God’s word.
Writing to Timothy Paul spared no words encouraging the young preacher to exhort, rebuke, and reprove believers. I feel when we’re not careful with the small words, to avoid offending someone, this translates and impacts the language we use in all areas of life and even our testimony to the world. We can be so cautious not to offend that political correctness becomes the demise of clear speech.
Anyone who has experienced the heartache in the death of a loved one, as I have, may be better served by talking in clear definitive terms. I mean a clear use of precise terms to help us embrace and better deal with the honest feelings we hold inside. Not a brutal verbal attack during a time of turmoil.
My father died. My mother died. Millions of babies are killed before birth. Many people starve to death. These people, these babies are not lost except when we use language to make the sound of truth sweet and comforting. Then we find ourselves inclined to ooh and ah instead of grieving and mourning. Let’s not allow our penchant for soft words soften our hearts to tragedy. Instead, let’s allow the impact of clear words drive us to God.
When it comes to this world I’ve known relatives and friends who died. As a Christian, I’m looking forward to seeing many of them again in eternity. They may have died in this world but they are never lost in God’s kingdom. He knows right where they are. And that statement is not politically correct but theologically sound.