Insights, Mistaken Perceptions

Biblical Language Is Graphic, Part Three (3 of 3)

Parts One and Two of this three-part essay have dealt with Biblical examples of some very graphic language, and we asked “Why would the Bible include all that graphic, vulgar, often sexually explicit language?” We concluded that it does not use such language just to shock your socks off, but to shock you out of complacency – to wake you up, to force you to grow up, to act as a mirror to look into your own behavior to see if your thinking, speaking, and acting is likewise – and as stern warnings to future generations that punishment will be meted out. But is that all? Let’s take a look:

Being the Apostle Paul
1 Corinthians 9:22 – “With all kinds of people I have become all kinds of things, so that in all kinds of circumstances I might save at least some of them.”
The Apostle Paul appears to have spoken and acted in many different manners in order to save at least some of them (1 Corinthians 9:22). Bible translators know that it is impossible to bring an understanding of Yahweh’s word to indigenous people until one first understands their culture. The culture determines what words and concepts one uses in their translation to properly convey the message. A hard lesson to learn for many.

A Hard Earned Lesson
1 Corinthians 14:10-11 – “There are many different languages in the world . . . but if I do not speak the language, I will not understand the speaker and the speaker will not understand me.”
Middle school boys are a fun bunch to mentor, but can be quite the handful. The six to eight boys in the class I taught were the boys that none of the other mentors wanted in their classes. During one particularly challenging evening almost all of the boys had been acting out for many minutes, and I finally had enough of the months of their antics. None of the mild mannered, pedagogically  espoused methods to prevent these antics had worked, and I lost it – properly cussing those boys out using language that one normally only hears coming out of the mouth of a construction worker or longshoreman!

The antics immediately stopped and you could’ve heard a pin drop. Suddenly all twelve eyes were riveted upon my face, all twelve ears were wide open, and all six minds were amazingly attentive to what I would say next. So, I asked them, “Why did I have to speak to you in that manner to get your attention?” A chorus of voices replied: “We understand those words; that’s how we talk to each other and how most people speak to us.” And a very quiet voice said: “I didn’t even think you knew those words!” From that point on, the antics never reappeared.

The Assumptions:
Many of the other mentors, and myself included, assumed that these six to eight youth were probably unreachable – but I was determined to set an example. For many months I had assumed that speaking in gentle, pedagogically espoused, pious language would get them to see a better way. My assumption was a false assumption. Until I used the language of their culture, they simply assumed that I had nothing to teach them.

The Results:
Once they discovered that I could speak to them in the same way they spoke to each other, I never had to speak that way again. Not only did the antics never reappear, we began to have some very deep conversations. And to top it off, those same assumed “unreachable” boys became the core leaders of the High School Youth Group. Without their leadership, our Pastor admitted that our church wouldn’t have even had a high school youth ministry.

Don’t Be A Pharisee
Luke 18:10-11 – “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men . . .
If had continued to stand upon my highly exalted pedestal, using only words that were considered holy, pious, and pure those six to eight youth may have stayed “unreachable”. So, you have a choice, be a Pharisee, or be a Paul. If you choose to be a Pharisee, then you are no more than a self-righteous, hypocritical bigot who needs to hear Yeshua’s condemnation: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted – I tell you, the tax-collector went down to his house justified, rather than the Pharisee.” (Luke 18:14).

Language, even graphic explicit language, has it’s place. No, we are not to constantly use this language that one normally only hears coming out of the mouth of a construction worker or longshoreman, but if that language is the only way to reach a particular person or group of people, then by all means, be an Apostle Paul – use whatever methods are necessary so that you might save some. Don’t be a self-righteous Pharisee and reach no one because you think you are not like those you are trying to reach.

Final Thought
The prophetic signs are burgeoning and not abating. The impact of Wormwood on the Earth is still expected in April 2029. Time is incredibly short – Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – so be of great cheer, keep looking up, and keep maintaining an attitude of gratitude. Be sure you are believing The Truth, not The Lie. Be sure Yeshua is your Redeemer, King, and High Priest, and your sins are forgiven.

Articles in this Series
Part One
Part Two
Part Three