Speaking A Different Language

Wednesday, February 7, 2024
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When my two college-aged grandchildren are home on school break, I'm often invited to the home of my daughter and son-in-law for games night with my grandkids and their friends. When we play word games or trivia games, that's when our generational differences begin to show up, especially exhibited by wide differences in familiarity with language and terminology. Despite the fact that we are all speaking English, at times, an outside observer would think that we are speaking different languages! I do well in the areas of general knowledge, history, and literature, but I stumble badly in pop culture and even current affairs at times. The college kids know names and events that I didn't even know exist! Straightforward and obvious clues that I give seem obscure to them, and clues that the college kids give are often totally meaningless to me, especially those about video games and pop culture, which are part of a younger generation's world. They might as well be speaking a different language.

We may often find ourselves in other situations where others around us seem to be speaking a different language. They may be using technical terms or abbreviations that we don't understand, or they may be talking about places and events that we know nothing about. Even unspoken words, expressed through body language and attitudes, can speak volumes, yet sometimes lead to unintended misunderstandings.

Of special concern can be a blurred message of faith resulting from Christian jargon that may be meaningless to unbelievers. We need to be cautious about using words or expressions that we have become familiar with, such as "being saved" (saved from what?), "justified", "walking in the Spirit", "washed in the blood", and so on, that may be baffling to a non-church-goer.

We can risk hurt and misunderstanding if we don't take time or make the effort to learn about things that are important to others. We may never be able to understand totally others' circumstances and viewpoints, but it will help if we determine to be as open-minded and understanding as possible.

1 Corinthians 13, "the love chapter", cautions us that our most articulate words are meaningless if they are not accompanied by loving actions. The apostle Paul says, "If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1 NLT)

How important it is not only to listen carefully to what others are saying to us, but also to weigh our own words so that communication between us and others is clear, rather than garbled. Let's both listen and speak in such a way that our words are a blessing.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for language, the vehicle that allows us to communicate with each other. May we choose our words carefully so as to bless and edify ourselves as well as others. Amen.

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About the author:

Gail Lundquist <gail10833@gmail.com>
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    So true.

    A needed word, Gail.

    Good word today Gail Thank you!

    So true! Thanks.

    Thank you for your devotion today. Keep up writing to glorify our Lord.

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today. To God be the glory! Blessings.

    Thank you, Gail, for your articulate message. I wish it was part of all initial Evangelism teaching, first day, first hour.
    (Nova Scotia)

    Gail, your words are so true! I experience the same things with my adult grandchildren. Love is the best language!
    Thank you for reminding me today.

    Thanks Gail! What a lovely picture you described; three generations playing games together! No phones!
    Bless you for sharing this.
    (BC Canada)

    Thanks, Gail, for your good positive words today. Yes, there are quite a lot of “new” words or expressions used by the younger generation these days and can be a learning curve for us “older” folks. Blessings for your writings.

    Good morning, Gail!
    Great reminder about using words that are understandable and therefore to be a blessing. Without love and sensitivity, you’re right, we’re a noisy gong.
    Blessings to you.

    What a great topic to discuss. Sometimes I feel encouraged by my remembrance of general knowledge of the past and other times I feel as though I am drowning in today’s pop culture and “lingo”. I will keep struggling as I realize the importance of communication. You have expressed this so well in today’s devotion. Thank you.

    So true.
    I often wonder what people think when they see a huge billboard with “Jesus Saves” in huge letters…. is it an advert for a Savings and loan company?
    Or…saved by the blood of Jesus…. is the blood bank seeking donors?
    Or…saved by grace…. Grace who?
    Actually, I find thinking about Christianese and how to share the concepts in current English is good practice for opportunities to share your faith.
    Have a great day!

    Thank you, Gail. I teach in the kids’ program at church, ages 4-12, and totally understand what you’re saying. Their world is so different from mine, especially as many of them are from unchurched homes.

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