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For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 1 Corinthians 13.12

Sometimes we beat ourselves up for using archaic words which people don't understand, such as "sin". But people do understand that sin has negative overtones, for the sporting world refers to the "sin-bin" where players go when they are sent off for breaking the rules. Is that helpful or does it trivialise a means of reference to something which is more serious and complex than an infringement of the rules of a game?

It is a fact that some words change over time. They lose or acquire their punch, sometimes they alter their meaning completely: think "gay" or "wicked". We can end up in a situation where the same word means different things to different people, even when they share the same language. There are notorious examples illustrating the divide between American and British English. Within the same country people use certain words differently.

The power of language means that words can become weapons, instruments of manipulation and torture: witness the dark side of social media, leading too many young people to kill themselves on account of what others are saying about them. The inevitable conclusion is that we must be careful and diligent. Words are a blessing but they can be a curse if they are misappropriated.

Perhaps the thing to remember is that words are symbols which convey a reality beyond themselves. We talk about "having the last word" but, really, that is only the beginning. Reality takes over where words end. The Bible proclaims that God is the ultimate "Word" and that Jesus is the "Word made flesh" and that the Holy Spirit will "lead us into all truth". Understanding beckons, not just through believing in God but in a relationship with God.



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