Back in the days when we didn’t know any better, my siblings and I stuck our tongues out at each other and hurled childish names designed to inflict pain. Our little barbs were usually countered by the retort, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
Older, wiser, and more properly civilized, I now know that is not, and was not, true. Names do hurt. Words, although invisible to the eye and intangible to the hand do pierce and cut.
I’m not supporting name-calling, but I think our newly found super sensitivity to language is askew. Perhaps it’s the product of trying to have good without God.
We don’t say the “N” word (unless we happen to be speaking to each other) nor the “R” word, and not several of the “G” words—one because it slurs a nationality, the other because it acknowledges Deity. But, we tolerate the “F” word; even allowing it in the books almost every kid in public school reads as part of his/her literature program. Go figure.
I personally don’t like the “D” words. Whenever I feel niggled, I tell my husband I have the “Ds.”—Despair, depression, dismay, dejection, distress, disruption, destroy, disease, diet, death.
But then there are the other “R’ words. They are the best. They are the words of life, of hope, of healing. They represent the most numerous motifs of the Bible: Reform, restoration, rebirth, redemption, reunion, reconciliation, reward, reversal, and return.
The “R” words belong to those of us who know no matter how many of our rights, our words, our liberties get deleted, no matter how much we suffer the “D” words, we know we are the “people who can have tragedy in [our] heart and comedy in [our]head”* because no man can take the “Rs” away.
We live in a fall, but we will Rise.
“And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. And at last He will take his stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh, I shall see God.—Job 19:25