Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Defining Moment

Tonight I heard a quote which was made a while back by the former pastor. As has been mentioned before, he and his family have decided over the past year that they would create their own rules of etiquette and "manners." Haughtiness and rudeness have somehow become appropriate behavior on their part whenever a former church member has tried to speak to them in public. In an attempt to defend their lack of courtesy, the former pastor said,

"The Bible says to be kind. It doesn't say anything about being nice."

I know, I know, let it sink in for a minute... is it starting to make sense yet? Of course it isn't! It is complete nonsense. Along with the former pastor's expertise in etiquette came an apparent proficiency in semantics as well. The really sad part is that in the weeks after he said it, people quoted him as though it were some profound proverb.

The scripture he was referring to was Ephesians 4:32, which in the NAS reads:
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
The Strong's concordance translates the word kind (chrēstos) in that particular scripture as meaning: "fit, fit for use, useful, virtuous, good, manageable, mild, pleasant (as opposed to harsh, hard sharp, bitter), kind, benevolent."
Hmm... did you happen to notice the act of shunning listed in that definition? defines the word nice as:
1. pleasing; agreeable; delightful
2. amiably pleasant; kind
Wait a minute, what the last word in that definition? Could it possibly be that the words nice and kind mean the same thing?

Also Roget's Thesaurus lists several synonyms (a word having the same or nearly the same meaning) for the word nice, and the word kind is one of them.

Since we are talking about words and definitions, I will mention a few which I found to be fascinating:

1. One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.
2. One who lives off and flatters the rich; a sycophant.

bad-tempered: bad-tempered, unfriendly, rude, and somewhat threatening

1. wanting to cause harm: having or showing a desire to harm others
2. harmful or evil: having a harmful or evil effect or influence

causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful: pernicious teachings; a pernicious lie

Can you use any of these in a sentence? I certainly could.

- V