Friday, March 11, 2016
You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
I am fighting a losing battle. Granted, I'm not fighting very hard. Just a few impassioned pleas on social media and a rant or two to family members who probably wish I'd shut up about it already. You know, the usual ways we try to save the world.
But my cause is a noble one. A brave and honorable rescue mission. Free the captive! Slay the dragon! Save the word literally! I'm talking about how everywhere we look, the word literally being used incorrectly or unnecessarily or both. "We literally died laughing." "I literally found it under the bed."
It's driving me bonkers.
Part of the reason it bothers me so much is that I love words and generally don't like to hear them misused. People have taken to using the word literally for emphasis when that's not it's purpose at all. It's meant for clarity, not to add weight to something. This is a big deal to me and I was just sitting here thinking about why that is.
I think what bothers me is this: We can't just distort the truth to suit our wishes. Literally does not mean "really a whole lot-I mean it". A couple of weeks ago when I said that the kids at church were "literally bouncing off the walls", I didn't mean they were extra super-duper hyper, I mean that they were so rowdy that I actually saw a kid ricochet off an actual wall.
I fear that one day the definition will bow to the abuse of the word and it will actually be changed in the dictionary.
But it's not right.
I could believe with every cell in my brain that the sun orbits the earth but it doesn't make it true. Even if all of us believed it, it would not make true an untrue thing. It would only make all of us wrong.
I'm talking about absolutes here, and I'm aware of their fading popularity in our world, but that's just the point. The world doesn't want standards? Our culture simply loathes accountability? Too bad. Truth remains. No amount of argument, condescension, ignorance, oblivion, or scorn will fade it.
Psalm 119:89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
I'm choosing one simple verse to share. There are tons of passages in the Bible about this, but Psalm 119:89 is one perfect example. It doesn't need my help by trying to add any emphasis. Using a word in an improper way does not diminish the merit of the word. Disobeying The Word does not weaken it's sovereignty either.