Changing The Language To Change The Culture

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Proverbs 25:11 – A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

In America, we have a whole world of politicians and special interest groups. These people have figured out that winning the ideological war can be as simple as changing the comfort zones of people – and that is accomplished through a subtle shift in language. This shift is a well thought out and a very deliberate plan. The plan is simple and only needs a little patience, planning and the use of new words. In layman’s terms, if you change the words and their meaning, then give the people new words favoring your position you will have successfully shifted the entire culture towards your ideology. This strategy is pretty apparent if you were just to look at a variety of political and religious topics.  Image

Take for example, the topic that just hit the national scene this week: the AP determined it would no longer be using the language of “Illegal Immigrant” and “Islamist”. You might be asking yourself what is the big deal? Well a lot actually. It is a huge deal. Regardless of all of the issues surrounding immigration, those who cross the borders illegally are illegal immigrants, especially when you compare them with those who came through the process legally so they could become citizens; but in case you missed it, let me explain what happened: The AP changed the language and the meaning of that language. There was a softening of the language, which, over the course of the next year or maybe even a few years, will change the perspective of the American people to where they don’t even consider it a crime.

This has happened on a variety of issues. If you remember prior to President Obama’s official address of the Sandy Hook Massacre, the AR-15 and weapons like it where referred to as “assault rifles”, then conveniently, at his address, that language was changed to “assault weapons”. This is significant for a variety of reasons as we saw in Sen. Feinstein’s bill which all of a sudden had shotguns and pistols included in its to ban list.

Another great example is how we went from “Global War on Terrorism” to “Overseas Contingency Operation” or when we went from “Terrorism” to “Work Place Violence” or when we went from “Welfare to Public Assistance” to “Entitlements” or when we went from “Pornography” to “Adult Entertainment”.

Imagine the possibilities as our government, and quite frankly the people, become more godless and corrupt? Just for a second consider the ramifications of the power of language. Now imagine what would happen if there was a move to change the language of “rape” to “indentured sex” or “child molestation” to “sexual exposure to minors”?

What do these examples tell us? They tell us our language is important. It tells us that the choice of words is as important! It tells us that if we want to change and remain relevant in our culture we must begin engaging in the war of words.

This is especially important for Christians. For far too long we have been letting those outside the church set the tone, the debate, and the words for living a holy and God-pleasing life. However, if the church is to thrive we must be setting the tone, the debate, and the very words that frame any discussing. Let us be the church that changes a culture by changing the language to the language of the Kingdom of God.

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