I am guilty of statements like that everyday. I talk about how "lucky" I am as if there is any such thing as luck when God is the conductor of this orchestra. We speak of our future plans as if we are guaranteed another day or hour of life. Our words reflect our theology in powerful ways. Now, I don't want to get hung up on semantics. God knows our heart...he knows our intention behind what we say. But how I so desire to reflect the true nature of God in the words I use everyday.
It is the change that occurs in us, when we carefully and intentionally choose our words. I know that people have differences of opinions about "people first" language...If you haven't heard the discussion, people first language is all about what defines us. It is about not defining people by their disability, their race, or by their adoption status. Not a down syndrome child, not an adopted child but instead a child who has down syndrome or a child who is adopted. It is a simple change of thought about how our words impact the way we and others see themselves and others. I personally believe that by being intentional about using people first language, that I change my inner thinking process about people. And it is worth it to me.
Now, I want to clarify that I do not take offense to someone who uses a different order of words to describe my children...it is above all, about the intention. It is clear that no matter how something is said, what is spoken from the heart must be heard. All the right words can be spoken, but it can be abundantly clear that the individual speaking them doesn't really have intentions that will build up and not tear down our brothers and sisters in Christ. . In contrast, words that may be outdated, verging on offensive, can be spoken from the most sincerest of people...ones who see the infinite value in the lives of our children..disabled or not. And, I cherish those words that are spoken out of love. I would be saddened to hear that someone was afraid to say anything because they were afraid that they would say the wrong thing.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19
Words...just one word can stick in mind all day long...causing me to consider what life would be like if I truly embraced its full, God defined meaning...words like these:
Incarnation... Sacrifice... Contentment... Authenticity... Blessed... Sovereignty...Love.
What words are on your list?