Greg Garner on Living in a Culture Fighting a War for Words

Unsplash/Aaron Burden

It could be argued that we are in a culture war. To be honest, I do not believe that the faithful Christian – if we are to use the term “war” – has ever really NOT been in a culture war. 

1 John 3:13 reminds us, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.” Not being a Biblical scholar could make exegeting the above text tricky but “hates you” sounds pretty bad. Much like there are opposing sides or views. John provides some context in the preceding verses comparing the brothers Cain and Abel. One was evil.  One was righteous. One was full of love. The other not so much. We are to be the brother that “loves one another.”

The “one another’s” can be tough. It’s a headache at times within the family of God.  When we try to “one another” those outside of the body of Christ it can get downright ugly.  Who reading this has ever hesitated sharing with a friend or family Biblical truths because you were afraid you would be labeled. I know I struggle with this. I often go through 5-6 drafts before I submit a piece due to my “fear” that I will sound uncaring or intolerant.

So back to the “culture war.” What do we know about wars? Well, for starters there is an agenda. Each side wants to win. Each side has tactics and plans, they employ offensive and defensive measures to ensure a victory. Satan loves to twist truths, just ask Eve. Satan loves to distract, just ask Adam. Those tactics worked then and they work today. I have to wonder if we are in a war not of words but for words? Important words. Words that shape society, direct conversations and drive behavior.

And we the Christian must ask ourselves, “do words matter?”

Are certain words in a constant state of change, merely reflecting the values of the people who populate a given culture or sub-culture?

Or, are some words prescriptive? Unchanging? Immutable?

Take for example the word “tolerant.”

A couple of generations ago, if you were “tolerant” that meant you graciously accepted a person but not all their behaviors. Cousin Eddie who always asks for money at the family reunion can attend, just not engage in specific behaviors, i.e., asking for money.  Eddie is loved. Eddie’s soliciting of money is not. Eddie can be a really nice chap but engage in awful practices. And at one time we could rightly divide the two.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Garner