BY ANY OTHER NAME

Blessings accrue on a good and honest life, but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse. A good and honest life is a blessed memorial; a wicked life leaves a rotten stench. [Proverbs 10:6-7 (MSG)]

Juliet: What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” [From “Romeo and Juliet” (Shakespeare)]

IMG_6949web“Where do you work in town?” my husband asked the young man who’d joined us in the gondola. He hemmed and hawed a bit before saying, “I’m an agricultural entrepreneur.” After more prodding, we learned the vague term actually meant that he grows marijuana. His response got me thinking about all of the other euphemisms we use in life. A car is “pre-enjoyed” not used, “genuine imitation leather” is really vinyl, that “courtesy call” received during dinner is anything but courteous, and do any of us actually take a rest in the “rest room”? Having a “negative cash flow” means we’re broke, and having a “frank discussion” with the boss means we got into an argument with him which led to our being “downsized” and now we are “pursuing other interests.” Euphemisms usually make bad things seem more acceptable, or at least less terrible. Torture is described as “enhanced interrogation,” genocide is “ethnic cleansing,” pornography is “adult entertainment,” if it “fell of the truck” it’s stolen, and someone who is “economical with the truth” is simply a liar. Let’s not fool ourselves about sin by using nicer words to disguise it. Gossip, pride, adultery, callousness, pride, envy, viciousness, greed and the like are far more than lapses in judgment, blunders, missteps, weaknesses, character flaws, slip-ups, moments of madness, or indiscretions. When we equivocate about our sins, we’re lying to ourselves and God. We may manage to assuage our guilt by using euphemisms but God will not be deceived. No matter what we call it, a rose will still have the sweet smell of a rose and, no matter what we call it nor how we disguise it, that which we call a sin, by any other name, will still have the stench of sin.

“Euphemism” is a euphemism for lying. [Bobbie Gentry]

These people gag me. I can’t stand their stench. Look at this! Their sins are all written out—I have the list before me. I’m not putting up with this any longer. [Isaiah 65:5-6 (MSG)]

God, you know every sin I’ve committed; My life’s a wide-open book before you. [Psalm 69:5 (MSG)]