I am afraid you will think I am a weird Christian.
I’m not exactly sure what a weird Christian is, but I’m pretty sure it involves handling deadly snakes, drinking poison and wearing lots of sandwich boards with an abundance of exclamation points on them.
Resisting the desire to handle deadly vipers as a sign of God’s faithfulness has not been a difficult thing for me to do. I find so few “rattlesnake moments” in the churches I visit, but I have noticed one way I am actively changing the way I behave in order to save face with you.
There are several words that I am subconsciously softening in order to not sound like a sweaty, weird Christian. I wrote a post once about how we love to say “the enemy” instead of “satan.” And as popular as that word switch is, I recently stumbled on one I do even more often than saying “the enemy.” I’m talking about the word “sin.”
I’ve written more than a quarter million words on StuffChristiansLike.net and almost never say the word “sin.” Is it because I don’t write about it? Is sin just not a topic I cover? Not at all. I deal with it all the time and honestly share what’s going on in my own life. I just use synonyms because I think that if I say “sin” some folks will label me a traditional fundamentalist super Christian Bible belter.
Here are the words I use instead:
But caring what you think is only part of the reason I do this. The other explanation is that I work in the corporate world and you’re supposed to put a spin on bad things. You’re supposed to say, “I found an opportunity for improvement,” not “I made a mistake.” You should say, “I have identified some growth areas in my performance,” not, “I figured out where I failed.”
But when Christ died on the cross He didn’t do so because He wanted to shift my paradigm. He didn’t come to help me realize my full potential and unpack my baggage.
He died because my sin was so great it separated me from God. He died so that my sin would die too. The big ugly, gross pile of sin, sin, sin, I was carrying around. Sin is one of those words intricately tied to my salvation and I don’t want to mute it in a sea of spin off ideas.
I don’t think it’s a big deal to use synonyms. I think God gives us a wide, colorful vocabulary to express our gratitude and that as communicators we have to constantly be conscious of the way we reach people. But if I’m using my words to look better than I really am or trying to be someone I’m really not, that’s not cool. That’s junk or baggage or maybe even sin.
P.S. Doesn’t “Sin Synonyms” sound like a song from the movie Mary Poppins? “Sin Synonyms, Sin Synonyms, sin sin sharoo?”
Let’s play church word switch up. What other Christian type words are we finding synonyms for right now?