Just Call Me a Runt

Please stop ruining things.

Long before Adolph Hitler forever tainted the “patch on the lip” mustache, Charlie Chaplin adorned it with humor. Were you to wear it today, someone would probably punch you.

And don’t get me started with words. Gay once meant happy, intercourse once referred to conversation, and retarded used to mean stunted.

In the mid-19th Century Horatius Bonar penned a hymn entitled, “Fill Thou My Life, O Lord.” He wrote:

Praise in the common words I speak,
life’s common words and tones,
in intercourse at hearth or board
with my beloved ones.

Bonar was not talking about sex. But try singing that in church today and watch the faces in the room, especially the teens.

I recently—and innocently—used the word retarded in a grammatically and contextually correct way. Evidently, that’s a no-no. The word retarded is now banned, period, and cannot be redeemed. There is no longer a right usage. And that, to me, is sad. Abuse has forbidden proper use.

When was the last time you said, “I’m feeling gay today?”

When was the like time you met a kid named Adolph?

Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy. Maybe I’m unwilling to change with the times. Maybe I’m an emotionally stunted, underdeveloped, runt.

But certainly I’m not retarded. Evidently, I can’t be.

I guess some words and names and styles of facial hair will never be redeemed. But people will be, for Jesus redeems the irredeemable. Whereas I have no power to redeem something as simple as a word, Christ redeems something as complex as a man. In fact, He will redeem all the things that men have ruined.

It may never again be acceptable to name your son Adolph or to sing of intercourse in church. We just can’t fix words that have been broken.

Praise God that Jesus will fix more than words—He will fix everything.

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