Restoring “the word”: how words cause us to disconnect by having a lost meaning

words can become so ambiguous and misleading in their usage that they become unusable in their original meaning, 

I was reminded of this today when is read an article that was about how a particular group of people want to be disassociated with a category of people but the author was displaying that the attributes that the people from this particular group  were putting down were minor things compared to the defining characteristics that were at the root of what it was they were trying to disassociate from. This is all about word play and a label that people do not want to be titled under. A relatable sediment would be like a person claiming to not be a racist and still support slavery or a person claiming to not be a  sexist but still have no problem with prostitution. it is the title that the person is trying to avoid because of the negative implications that are tied to it. the negative aspect of this is that particular words become so abused that they lose their meaning. words need to be restored because it has come to a point that folks are getting hurt because of misused and ambiguity of words.

 

Sticks and stones break my bone but words will never hurt me. this is wrong! Words do hurt and they have great power.  And the miss use of this power leads to hurt and is the result of much pain and suffering. I myself recall when I was younger my peers and I would throw around words like poser, biter, loner, retard and other derogatory’s that we did not know the full meaning of. These words had left myself and other peers that I had with a deep sense of inferiority due to a label that we had heard daily. These words cause a disassociation to take place, not only by the person misusing the word, but by the person it was used towards. Fortunately for disassociation there can be re association  and that comes through restoration from the bad to the good.

As a friend of mine says in a song he wrote “we need to know the bad before we know the good”, so that we can see the need. in this case it is the need for the restoration of “ the word”. “The word” can be different for all types of people and one key way that you can find out what “the word” is for you is to recognize what some trigger words may be that make you feel distant from somebody or what are you extremely enthusiastic in making sure your stance is known because that will probably be pushing away other people. people want connection with people not idea’s or arguments and when we have the disassociation caused by a misuse of the word then that leads to rejection and eventually isolation and that is not love.

Common conception have been built around  the misuse and ambiguity of common words. Popular ones that I recognize in the culture I come from is: liberal, republican, feminist, racist, missionary, Christian, Muslim, and homosexual. This is a non-extensive list of  words that I have noted to use in a mindful way and even sometimes choosing to not use them at all because I have noticed that the use of the word would not be baring its intended meaning. I have realized this does not help  restore these miss used words but instead leaves room for the demonization to persist. 

Words become lost and when something is lost then its purpose is not known. One of the ways I am seeing this play out in my life right now is with the word missionary mainly because I am going to South Africa to work with a nonprofit, but it has got me thinking about how the use of this word has become lost. It seems the annoying door to door  trying to sell you on their personal revelation or hand you a flyer in hopes to convert you or bring you over to their side has falsely conceived what a missionary is. if you asked me a missionary is someone with a purpose, so you can see how we can all be missionary’s in a way. This is a common misconception taking place. the question is  how can we break the misconception without arguing a point or telling somebody they are wrong. We reject the idea but not the person. We are in charge and have the ability to choose what we believe. When we stand for what we believe in that takes pride, but pride is the enemy of acceptance. We cannot accept everything so we need a basis and the basis I prescribe is love.

This may take effort, but we need to change our words to be more about people instead of a stance or argument. One of the easiest and best ways this has happened for me is simply by asking what do you mean so that there is clarity. this shows you want to learn and that you have a stance of humility and surprisingly when this happens to me it is refining and challenges me to think about what I am believing in. it is alright to say “I don’t Know”, you don’t need to know it all and it actually opens the door for others to inform you about a certain topic so that a word or idea is not misused again. Don’t put the person down for their ignorance or arrogance  because that just shows you do not care about them as a person. Words are deeply relational and can bring people together or break them a part. Restoration of “the word” starts with restoration of the heart, Be accepting of the person that is where the restoration happens.

What words cause you to  disconnect and need to be restored?