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Last time we had an awesome conversation with Hillary Morgan Ferrer. She’s the president, host, author, and Mama-Bear-in-Chief of Mama Bear Apologetics, and she has a ton of valuable things to say about Linguistic Theft.
That was an extremely important conversation; you really need to listen to it. Not only is it the foundation of what we’re going talk about today, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to rear a family that submits to the Scriptures.
Season 7 was all about having a family that knows and follows God. Such a family will love and obey the Bible. They’ll see the value of it in their everyday lives.
They’ll understand that God not only created language, He created the meanings of words, and He chose specific words to communicate reality . . . it's desperately important for our families to agree with God when it comes to vocabulary.
But before we dive too far into today’s discussion, I want to remind you that when you use TLP’s Amazon affiliate links, every single eligible purchase you make sends money TLP’s way. We get commissions on nearly everything you would ever purchase on Amazon.
All you have to do is head on over to TruthLoveParent.com, click the Amazon link at the top of the first page, and shop as usual.
Thanks for blessing TLP in that way!
And some of you may be wondering who won the “Mama Bear Apologetics” book giveaway.
I’m sorry to say that I made a mistake. It probably wasn’t a good idea to run two book giveaways at the same time, because a bunch of people got confused.
So, we’re going to rectify that by extending the “Mama Bear Apologetic” giveaway one more week. If you’re listening to this at the beginning of April, 2020, you can earn three chances to win the book at TruthLoveParent.com/giveaways.
Check it out and win an amazing parenting resource.
And if you’re listening this some time after April, 2020, check out our giveaways page anyway because it’s our plan to have regular contests and giveaways so we can equip you to be the parents God called and created you to be!
Lord willing, I’ll be announcing the winners of the two copies of “Mama Bear Apologetics: empowering your kids to challenge cultural lies” on Friday, April 10th.
Enter to win today!
Okay, let’s talk a little more about why it’s so important for us to watch our language.
Most of the time you or another parent has proclaimed, “Watch your mouth!” someone in the vicinity just used offensive language.
But what makes language offensive?
Most of the time, it’s a subjective feeling — a word doesn’t sit well with us, it has emotions tied to it, we’d had bad experiences with that word, we’ve been told it’s a bad word, or we just don’t like the way it sounds.
But I think we need to reset our thinking for a moment.
We need to go back to the beginning . . . all the way back to Creation in order to understand what kind of language is actually offensive.
God has just created Adam; what do you think were the first words God uttered? More important than that may be the question, “Why did God decide that Adam would have to talk to communicate?”
Verbal communication is divinely important because God in all His wisdom knew that speech was the best way for people to communicate. Yes, it’s true some people don’t have ears or articulators that are whole and healthy and so Sign Language is important. I’m fluent in American Sign Language, so I appreciate the value of it.
But, in the perfect world of Eden, people didn’t use Sign Language, they didn’t read minds, they didn’t sense each other’s emotional states, they didn’t see communication, they spoke. And they spoke because God spoke.
God chose verbal and written communication to be the medium by which all people would come to know Him. This is significant. This raises language far above mere chance or human construction.
Now, just like the rest of the Creation Mandate, God gave language to Adam and Eve to steward. And — for a time — the only language they knew was the perfectly communicated words of God.
But one day Satan possessed a snake and — for the first time in human history — twisted language. He used it do something it had not been created to do; he used it to question God. He used it to plant doubt. He used it to deceive.
For the first time language was reinvented. Words no longer meant what they used to mean. They became flexible and agile enough to casually throw off their created purpose.
Finally blame was cast, lies were spoken, angry words erupted, and lament was sounded.
Language was forever changed . . . and — I would argue — not for the better.
Those, my friends, were the first offensive words. When the snake uttered, “Did God really say?” Eve should have screamed, “Watch your mouth!” But she didn’t. She joined the snake in speaking the most offensive words God could ever hear.
And while God’s people should be stewarding language in the same way God would have us steward the earth, we’ve been following the Serpent’s example by twisting our words to suit our own purposes.
This is how we’ve come to the place where masculine and feminine pronouns are being used to refer to people of the wrong sex. This is how we’ve come to the place where we’ve relegated deep, gorgeous concepts like “life,” “Truth,” and “love” to meaningless trivialities. This is how we’ve arrived in a time where even little children are encouraged to take God’s name in vain. This is how we’ve lost the import of words like “sin,” “hell,” and “God.”
My desire is that our last episode, this one, and the next will accomplish two things:
Now, it won’t be easy. I’m not going to lie to you. But it can be done.
The year 2007 was a powerful year in my life.
Up until then English had never been that important to me. Even though I enjoyed writing and my practical use of the language was better than most, I was ignorant enough that when I entered college I couldn’t test out of the remedial English course.
But in 2007, I was given the responsibility of teaching 25 sixth graders.
Now, God had been working in heart, and I was in a significant place of spiritual growth. God had slowly been ripping my self-worship away from me for the past decade, I was recently married, we had just had our first child, and now I found myself in full-time Christian service at a Christian school.
I believe it was within this fertile soil that a very simple Truth took hold of me. One of my favorite verses was I Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” and as I taught 6th grade English I realized just how incorrect much of my speaking was.
I incorrectly said “snuck” when I should have said “sneaked.”
I would use phrases like, “the reason is because” which is redundant and wrong.
I didn’t correctly utilize the words “lay” and “lie” as I should.
I didn’t use — nor even understand — the subjunctive case.
And I had absolutely no problem ending sentences with prepositions.
Of course, the list could go on and on with many more egregious examples.
But it dawned on me that the phrase “whatever you do” from I Corinthians 10:31 included speaking the English language.
It was then, at the age of 27, that I decided that if I were going to speak the English language, God expected me to do it to the best of my ability. So, there I was, teaching children how the language was supposed to be spoken; so — after over a decade of formal English education on the pre-graduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels — I finally dedicated myself to truly learning how to speak English to the glory of God.
Now, I know that many of you will argue that language evolves. I get it. I understand that, and I’m thankful we’ve made some of the changes we have. But don’t be a hypocrite. You tell your kids how important it is to listen to their teachers. You know that the textbooks — if they’re any good at all — have been written by professionals who are experts in their fields. Don’t pretend that just because most people don’t speak the way they should that somehow the textbooks are outdated.
Does the fact that most people don’t know trigonometry make the textbooks invalid? Does the reality that most people have no idea about world history make the facts any less accurate?
Of course not.
The same is true with language. We entrust experts to dedicate their lives to codifying a langue in order that our culture would be able to communicate in understandable ways . . . and then we ignore everything they tell us and speak however we like.
So, I started actively changing the way I spoke. And it wasn’t too long afterward that my wife joined me. And — thankfully — my children were young enough at the time that we didn’t have to retrain them; we simply had to teach them how to speak correctly the first time through. And it really wasn’t that hard.
But grammar is just the beginning.
Grammar, syntax, and pronunciation are all low-level concepts within linguistics.
The far higher hurdle was vocabulary, and beyond that was philosophy.
Here’s an example of vocabulary: most of you have no problem understanding what I mean when I say, “The onus is on us to teach our children to communicate biblically.”
And if I asked you to define “onus,” you may be able to do a decent job simply by reverse engineering the context of my statement.
But do really know what it means?
Given your understanding of the definition of “onus,” would it be appropriate to say that if the onus is on you that you’re being “onerous?”
“Aaron, this is silly. I don’t have time for this. If I don’t know what the word means, I obviously won’t use.”
There are two problems with that way of thinking:
Hillary Morgan Ferrer explained how the world has stolen the definitions of words like “love” and “truth.” We discussed some ways the world is reeducating our children. But the list is far longer than the one we covered last time. I’d argue that “living” and “murder” no longer mean what they used to mean. Consider the implications on abortion. The phrase “mental health” is rarely used in any legitimate, biblical way. We allow our kids to say they’re “sorry” when they should be confessing their sins. We have no idea what emotions are. We overuse the word “fear,” we don’t demand that concepts like “intersectionality,” “critical race theory,” or “social justice” submit to God’s view of reality. Our philosophies of life are being highjacked by godless thinking, and even our religious talk has lost its power because we’re inviting the world to define God’s miraculous works. And the list of misdefined words and ideas could fill a bookshelf of dictionaries.
Let me illustrate:
Have you ever used the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart”? Or what about “receive Jesus”? Are you aware that such language is never used the Scriptures? Now, that’s not to say that it’s wrong or that such phrases cannot rightly communicate the biblical realities, but we have to ask the question “What do those phrases mean?” What was the purpose of abandoning the biblical terminology? What are we actually communicating if we didn’t explain the idea?
When Jesus spoke of “receiving” Him, it was never spoken in a salvific way. It didn’t have anything to do with our salvation. If that were the case, then to “receive a child” is to be born again or to receive someone sent by God is to be justified.
In addition, we have to consider what our children are hearing when we say things like “ask Jesus into your heart.” I would argue that you can probably explain the sentence in such a way that there would be no real confusion, but in order to explain the idea in an easily understandable way, you’re likely going to have to return to biblical terminology in order to do it.
Now, it’s true you’re going to have to explain what it means to be born again. Jesus had to explain it to Nicodemus, but my deepest concern is that we don’t confuse our children by using words in the wrong way.
If we’re not watching our language, we’re going to confuse our kids’ thinking.
When someone has died, why do we feel the need to say “they’re asleep” or “gone”?
When we say things like “God told me to ________” are we actually suggesting that God verbally commanded us outside of the Scriptures to do something He hasn’t commanded all of His people to do?
If you didn’t receive extra-biblical revelation from God that was unique to you, if you simply read a passage about fleeing sexual immorality, then why did you say, “God told me to stop looking at porn”? Why risk the miscommunication? Why risk leaving a new believer or an unbeliever with the faulty idea that God audibly speaks to His people?
“Aaron, I think it’s possible that you’re picking at nits.”
I don’t believe so. Let me tell you why.
The world is so incredibly full of misinformation and miscommunication. My job is to work with sinful people, broken marriages, and hurting families. And I can say without any hesitation or fear that my words may be false that every single time I enter into counseling, I encounter people who have stopped accepting God’s Words as true. They have redefined reality and have created the language in their own image.
If children and parents would simply agree to let God have the final word, there would be no arguments. If husbands and wives would define their perceptions in biblical terms, they would quickly be able to determine which of them is wrong and which is right.
We need to stop lying to ourselves by saying things like “I’m not going to let them hurt me anymore.” If by “I’m not going to let them hurt me anymore” you mean that you’re going to rest in God’s sovereignty and not allow others to steal your joy because you’re going to love them regardless of how they treat you and rejoice in persecution . . . then fine. That’s biblical.
But if you mean that you’re going to leave your husband because you don’t like the way he talks to you, or you’re going to verbally attack people who verbally attack you, or you’re fed up with the people and situations God has brought into your life . . . who gave you the right to make such a proclamation?!
The almighty God of the universe submitted to the murderous hands of His creation because His Father willed it to be done, and here you are in all of your bravado claiming rights for yourself on which Jesus refused to lay hold. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
My friends, are we lying to our children? Are we telling them that God just wants them to be happy because a preacher told us that the word “blessed” can be translated “happy”? Are we telling them it’s okay to worry because it makes sense from a human perspective? Are we telling them they can’t obey because they’re sick? Are we telling our kids that discomfort and pain and persecution are bad things to be avoided at all costs? Are we leading them to believe that God will heal their sickness if they just have enough faith or pray hard enough? Are we giving our kids the impression that their feelings are prescriptive? Have we convinced our children they “need” things the Bible says they don’t need because we don’t understand what a real biblical need is? Have we done that in our marriages? Do we men believe we need our wives to respect us? Do you woman believe you need your husbands to love you? What happens when everyone in your home has a different understanding of what it means to love? Do your kids believe they have the right to tell you what to do because you allow them to use language that only authority figures should be using? Do we allow sinful complaining? Do we encourage unrighteous displays of anger because the newest psychiatrist says it’s healthy? Do we allow our children to think that their half-hearted, disgruntled, partial compliance to our commands is what God means when He tells children to obey their parents?
My dear friends, I love you. I love your family. I hope you understand that.
If you’re seeing the importance of watching your language, if you’re understanding how vital it is that you bring your family’s communication back under the submission of God and His definition of reality, please allow me to present one practical idea.
Think before you speak. Carefully comb through your verbiage and ask this question, “Does what I’m saying conform to the Truth of the Bible?”
God’s Word has absolutely everything we need for life and Godliness (II Peter 1:3). We don’t need to accept the world’s redefinitions. We don’t need to claim their Failure Philosophies. We don’t need to succumb to the failed communication styles of the modern family simply because everyone else is doing it.
God created language. God gives words meaning. God gets to determine reality. God alone is allowed to decide what it means to love, what it means to sin, what it means to forgive, and what it means to speak.
Let’s not offend our God and confuse our children by speaking words that don’t submit to the Scriptures.
I know this episode had a little different feel to it. This was more of an impassioned plea than a teaching time. No doubt, I’m going to struggle a little putting it into an outline for our episode notes at TakingBackTheFamily.com. And there’s still so much more that I could say, so many more examples I could give of the destruction linguistic theft and unbiblical definitions have in our families.
But I’m going to give Al Mohler one of the final words. Join us next time to find out what I mean.
And please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets. Could there be a better example of the fact that we don’t speak the words of God than the average social media newsfeed?
If you see the importance of this concept, but you’re still uncertain how to proceed in your home, please reach out at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
And remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love. And God get’s to decide what that Truth is and what He means by love.
To that end, join us next time as we we discuss Al Mohler, Humpty Dumpty, Aliens, & Your Family.
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