Because there are many better words.
Take for example “bombastic," which is the most hilarious word, because when you use it, you are. LOL
But back to that word word that starts with "f" and ends in "uck" and isn't "firetruck".
It has some kick to it, right? Like wearing red high heels, you’re making a bit of statement when you bring it into the atmosphere.
Truthfully, I do say it — I just don’t write it much or post it on social media. I am afraid to say it around certain folks because I don't want to lose them. I'd way rather build a bridge than alienate someone over a funny-sounding, one-syllable, usually derogatory word. Not worth it.
But there's also this part of me that likes to make sure we have our focus on the right thing...
In 2004 American air-rifle shooter Matt Emmons only needed one more mediocre shot to take home the gold. He had it in the bag. He took a breath in, pulled the trigger, landed a bullseye.
On the wrong target.
I read this John Piper article about premarital sex. The question that had been posed to good ol’ Johnny was…
“Is it a sin to be pregnant outside of marriage?”
Yes, yes, yes… very important topic, very important, John…
I thought this to myself as I slowly drove blunt pencils into my eyes.
Are you kidding me? Do we really need an entire article about this? Do we really need a big bad spiritual authority to break down the minutia of sin on this level? Really?
I guarantee you people who don’t give a damn about fornication, people who look right down the barrel of extra-marital sex with glee are not wondering about this question and and do not care what John Piper says. This article is not for them.
And I bet the people who are worried about their place with God and the amount of sin they have really don’t need somebody to slice and dice and highlight their wrongdoing. They are already concerned. This isn't for them either.
So, who the hell is this article written to, John? Please, email me! I want to know.
But how about this question: "how do you lovingly and tactfully help a woman who is pregnant out of wedlock and filled with shame (or not filled with shame)?"
Maybe that would be helpful to somebody.
To be clear, I have a lot of respect for John, his passion, intellect, oratory skills. Also, I think John Piper is the rightest person planet. He’s so right he makes checkmarks look incorrect. Sooooooooooooooooo right.
But when has being right ever inspired somebody?
“That guy was so correct it really moved me to tears,” said no one ever.
Take, for example, Jesus and the woman about to be stoned for adultery. When Jesus showed up to the scene he said "Yes! Great job! Let's make sure everyone around understands how sinful she is! This will be good! Let me grab my popcorn."
Forgive me, but if your main mission is to make sure folks don't have sex or drink too much or wreck their "witness", whatever the balls that is, then I'd kindly like to nudge you in a different direction.
I’m not saying to throw morality out the window. It’s just that we can’t stop there. Figuring out what is right and wrong is just about the most boring thing you could do. Yawn. Go organize your stamp collection instead, because that's a boner in comparison. Honestly, no one cares about your higher moral ground or unsolicited life-coaching until you've made your love the loudest thing. Jesus had a little bit of rapport with the adulterous woman after he saved her life. And THEN he made some comments about her lifestyle. So, maybe wait until you’ve saved somebody’s life before giving them tips. And even then, they’ll probably feel a little comfier asking for help if you reveal a few of your own foibles. Might I point out, too, that some of God's favorites did a bang-up job in the morality sector (Moses, David, Rahab, Jacob to name a few).
Me? With the best of them I’ve lied, looked at naked ladies on the internet, been locked up for a traffic violation, been verbally abusive, punched a girl, not come through on my promises, masturbated (whoops I forgot that one’s not a sin, but now you are imagining me masturbating — you’re welcome). It’s funny. We all kind of have some standard we know we’re not living up to… so I’m not sure rehashing this stuff is the most effective use of our time.
Now, here is a sexy question:
How do I embody love right now, where I am?
Is it listening, showing empathy?
Is it building a bridge towards someone who makes you uncomfortable?
Is it pointing out something specifically beautiful in someone?
Is it being the only one to see past nasty behavior and ask what's really going on?
Is it praying for a miracle?
Is it being a miracle?
Is it being loving enough to say “no” and choose yourself?
Is it helping someone else hold a boundary?
Is it saying a difficult truth?
Is it realizing you’re a sociopath and the best thing you could do for yourself is help anybody with anything?
Is it taking a stand with someone in your family?
Is it asking forgiveness from someone in your family?
Is it learning to find serenity within yourself so you can share it with others?
Is it using a massive amount of wealth to meet the needs of a struggling community?
Is it using $2 to buy someone a hotdog?
Is it a smile?
This sort of thing never gets old and there is never a lack of need. We can stay in an infinite loop of creativity and action. Just take a moment to chew on what it would be like if everyone did this like…once a year.
Boxes of morality are fun to hang out in because we can draw hard lines and easily say "you're in; you're out". It's certainly easier, clearer. One target, sure. But participating in reconciliation, in making "all things new" is a much messier endeavor, one that requires us to roll up our sleeves and be uncomfortable. I think it's a different target, one that's harder to define and quantify, but still a better one. I say we shoot for that.
In short, be love, you. Be mother-feathering love.
Jesus, I bet you only used beautiful words, because you were all about healing and truth-telling. And you were that because you were love incarnate. The only reason you stirred things up was to be helpful. I want to be like you. Amen