On Languages—And Languishes
by Rhonda Rhea
I’ve been taking a look at some interesting dead languages recently. You know, like Latin, Ancient Egyptian, Sanskrit, Comic Sans and Cursive.
Ah, cursive. I was actually fluent in that one at one time. My kids still ask me why we ever had it. Anytime they ask, I get a little defensive and act all hoity-toity and superior, but I only do it to distract them from the fact that I don’t actually have a real answer.
It’s fascinating to me that while some languages languish, new ones burgeon. For instance, I’m still trying to learn to speak “Laundry.” According to the hieroglyphs they now use, I’m pretty sure I have to wash at least a couple of new shirts inside the royal crown of Denmark and dry them in some sort of crop circle. What’s especially weird is that I don’t even remember leaving this planet to buy these shirts.
Language barriers can be challenging. Especially when you run into them out of the blue. I encountered a real one not long ago. I ordered a blender, and the entire instruction booklet was in Korean. I finally figured out how to make a smoothie, but probably only because I was already studying to learn the language of Laundry. I guess glyphs are glyphs. My smoothie does taste a little like liquid Tide, but maybe that’s just me.
When it comes to spiritual things, however, I never want to be unaware of barriers. You don’t have to look far to find that foolish philosophies of this world are sneaky. They know how to speak your language, as it were. You can find them creeping into your patterns of thinking before you notice, maybe even hindering your capacity to receive real truth. Sometimes we do notice them creeping in, but decide to just let them soak there for a bit anyway. We may catch ourselves listening to the world’s foolish thoughts so often and for so long that they start to sound right to us.
That’s one more reason we need to stay committed to making God’s Word part of our everyday life—our deepest heart-language. His Word makes its way through barriers of foolishness, exposing it as the folly it is. We’re told in Proverbs 15:14 that “A discerning mind seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness,” (HCSB). Feeding on foolishness? That’ll taste worse than laundry soap every time.
A steady diet of “laundry detergent” will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Constantly feeding our minds and hearts on all kinds of media that is contrary to God’s Word will put up a barrier between us and the truth, giving us a skewed view of right and wrong. That’s when unreasonable fear, hoity-toity pride, silly doubt—and a long list of other negatives—color our decisions and steal our joy and fruitfulness. All those who deny the truth and malign the wisdom of God and His Word? They’re just not speaking our language.
Barriers crumble against God’s Word. The Bible teaches the language of wise, pure living. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your Word. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You,” (Psalm 119:9, 11, HCSB).
There’s a life-changing message there, in any language.
Incidentally, while translating the blender directions, I may also have accidentally deciphered the location of an ancient secret treasure. It’s that or their customer service info. Whichever.