Call everything “special,” and shortly it will begin to mean “ordinary.” Say that you love everything, and soon people will believe that you really love nothing.
But does it really matter what you call things? What changes in the end? An interesting exercise is opening up the Bible and analyzing the words Jesus uses when he speaks.
In little time, one can’t help but realize that he speaks with precision, no word is wasted, and each one has its place and meaning.
Now, let’s take a look at ourselves. How we use words reveals a lot of how we understand and interact with reality. At the same time, making the effort to be precise in our speaking provides an instance for us to reflect on what we are really saying. When I say to someone, “I love you“, what do I really mean by that? When we tell someone that, “God loves you”, what do we really mean by that?
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1. Reflection on the words we use and how we use them helps us to gain a deeper understanding of what we are talking about.
2. Those around us usually realize if we know what we are talking about or not. Speaking with precision shows that we have asked ourselves the question: “What is it that I really am trying to say?” What we are saying, then, has content to it; it is more than mere rhetoric.
3. Spreading the “Good News” of God’s love is an urgent mission for every baptized person. However, it can’t merely consist in repeating, “God loves you”, over and over without the risk of sounding like a broken record. The words have a weight to them and they speak of realities that vary in value. As such, when we pronounce them, we must do so respecting that weight and transmitting their respective values.
4. Many elements in our culture today have reduced and emptied the significance of “love.” The video reminds us that for us Christians, Christ defined and revealed the essence and greatness of love when He died on the Cross. This is the love, and no lesser one, that we are called to live.
5. Asking people to define the terms they use can be a great apostolic tool. When someone says, for example, that they want to be “free”, “happy”, “loved”, etc, invite them to explain what exactly they mean by that. Obviously we needn’t insist on an elaborate or scholastic definition. Still, it is an interesting way to prompt a moment of doubt, questioning and reflection that, in turn, could create an opportunity to dialogue.