Words and the Christian Life

Posted on 02.28.2013

I like words. In fact, I was reminded that when I was quite young, I used to enjoy reading the dictionary! Words are powerful. They have the ability to hurt and harm or, in contrast, encourage and edify. The old adage, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” has been proven as untrue over and over again.

What I like about words is the power of their definitions. The definitions themselves can “spell out” the truth succinctly with unquestionable clarity.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about the word, “hypocrite.” I searched the definition of hypocrite through a website dictionary which reads, “A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.”

The definition continues, “A person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.”

By simply reading this definition, I am challenged to examine my own life, values, beliefs, principles and morals, and how they line up with my actions. I am checking to see if I practice what I preach as I parent, sing, speak, and write to my audience and even as I espouse the tenets of good health to my patients! The word I look at as I do this self-examination “align.” One definition of “align” is “to adjust to produce a proper relationship or orientation,” according to The American Heritage College Dictionary. In this case, then, I need to take a very good look to see if my actions and behavior at home and in public are aligned with what I say I believe. As touchy as the subject of politics can be with many of us, do my political affiliations line up with my beliefs also? Am I consistent in my values?

I profess that I am a follower of Christ and that one declaration over my life is the single most important decision I have made since my entry into this world; it provides the basis on which I live my life! I do not want to be a Pharisee or a whited sepulcher, a deceiver nor a pretender. Go ahead—look these words up!

I desire to be an authentic Christ-follower without having to tell people who I am and what I live for. Instead, I would like for others to know what I stand for and live for by my actions! What about you?

Essentially, I had better just keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, so I can be a true Christian:

Christian (kris´ chen) 3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus. 5.  Showing a loving concern for others.