Words are important.
I was thinking about this during a session I had years ago where the father was portrayed as an “abuser” when really he had mistreated one of his family members physically once. It was a one time occurrence yet he was characterized as an “abuser.” Because of that characterization, no one wanted to live with him anymore.
Now, please understand that I am not excusing his sin. It was inexcusable! It was despicable! He was sorrowful about it and was repentant for a ONE-TIME sinful act, yet now his family viewed him as an “abuser” with a “mental illness” that could never be overcome. How sad! I guess the power of Christ to BOTH forgive and empower us to overcome sin was not enough to overcome a one-time abusive event. How tragic!
So, you can see how terminology is important. Thankfully, we re-named his sin from “abuse” to “mistreatment” and he asked for forgiveness from his family. They forgave him and were reconciled immediately. It did not take months or years. They moved back in to the home 3 days later and they are still doing GREAT today by God’s grace!
-Mark (urging people to consider the importance of the words they use – do they point others to Christ or to hopelessness in man-made diseases)