With words we bless and curse, agree and disagree, expose truth, or hide it.
With words we also label, name-call, and characterize in ways that can make it difficult to separate facts from perceived guilt by association.
(Caught a picture of this fellow on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda street. Was in costume for the Jewish feast of Purim. Figured he didn’t “look” too conservative :-).
Think, for instance, about the way we use the words liberal or conservative. For many of us they are terms that describe our view of the world. But what do they mean?
What was Jesus? Conservative, or liberal? Which label would be hung on him by the religious leaders of his day?
In reality, I’m guessing he was the most conservative man who ever lived, and also the most liberal.
So who hated him? Seems to me that the Scripture-memorizing, culture-resisting, God-defending, protectors of Mosaic law who slandered him, and called for his death, didn’t think of Jesus as being too conservative.
He was far too friendly with sinners, far too soft in applying the law the way they thought it ought to be applied, and far too disrespectful of those who were honored for their moral and religious idealism.
So where does that leave us? How can we be sure that we are longing to be as conservative and as liberal as our Teacher? And in the process how can we honor the Scripture that warns, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” (Isa 5:20-21).