Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Taboo Words and the Heart

Saturday, 22 April 2017 (Peine Nachricht) Newspaper

A Word of Sunday

"Many words are not to be used"

Randall Smelser, Preacher
Christ Church Peine-Stederdorf

Taboo Words and the Heart

Do you know the game Taboo? You draw a card and have to describe a word so that your team guesses the word. But there are also 4 words on the card that are taboo. You are not allowed to say these words.

We are living daily in the midst of this game. In the world and our society many words are not to be used, otherwise you are in disdain, asocial and will be verbally slammed. So people use other words to describe the same thing. The problem is not really the word choice but the attitude or perception, for example the word “Wall”. (translation note: this was written for a German audience und “Wall” reminds them of the Berlin Wall thus an extremely negative idea.)

Absolutely no one is to build a “Wall” to keep people out as in Israel or the USA. But a 20 feet (6 meter) high “fence” in Ceuta (Spain) or several “fences” along the “Balkan Route” to stop refugees is acceptable, although they serve the same purpose. Certain words have a negative connotation and cause strong displeasure.

We can ban a word but hate, bitterness, a condescending attitude or a bad prejudice remain. We are simply playing Taboo and describe the negative in another way but the same thing comes out.

If we want to resolve the real problem, then we have to do more than just forbid certain words. Jesus said, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” (Matt.15:18 NIV)

We need more than just a Secret Police of PC. We need new hearts. No law or list of taboo words can change a heart full of hate and bitterness which is the real source of the undesirable vocabulary. Our society does not need new cards for a modern Taboo game or new rules to tell us what words are allowed. We need new hearts and exactly that is why Jesus came.