Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
May 5, 2019
Confessing my addiction
I confess. I am addicted to
certain adjectives. I use them repeatedly. I am not sure I should feel guilty
about it but I cannot stop. The words I overuse are magnificent, remarkable,
wonderful, beautiful and marvelous.
Mark Twain’s remedy for deleting overused words will
not work for me. Twain wanted to ban the word “very” from writing. His advice:
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you are inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor
will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” I see his point.
I overuse the word “very” too. But if I followed Twain’s advice, Tonya, my
editor, would be so shocked she would insist I rewrite my column.
when I explained to Tonya that I had simply followed Mark Twain’s sage advice,
she would inform me that there is no evidence Twain ever made that statement. It
seems the humorous advice was actually offered by William Allen White, a prominent
Kansas newspaper editor, in a speech to a group of “cub” reporters. In addition
to the words usually attributed to Twain, White went on to say that “very” is
the weakest word in the English language.
White or Twain said it, the point is well taken. Ever since I first read that
quote, I have tried very hard not to use the word “very” so much. Clearly,
writing is not improved by the frequent use of “very.” I am very sure that my
writing is better now that I seldom use the word “very.” I am very proud that I
have stopped using “very” so much.
for the life of me, I cannot stop using the words “magnificent” and
“marvelous.” Let me share an example. Take a beautiful scene in the Bible, like
the time the resurrected Jesus cooked breakfast for his disciples while they
were out fishing. When they recognized Jesus, they were stunned to hear Jesus
say, “Come and have breakfast.” Now think about it: that was a magnificent
moment in time! Instead of reprimanding his disciples, Jesus cooked breakfast
for them. There is no better word than magnificent to describe that!
Look at it. The disciples had scattered like cowards
while Jesus was being crucified. So what does God think of cowards, or people
who have failed or lied, or turned a deaf ear to God? That breakfast is your
answer. God forgives you. He loves you. He will not let you wallow alone in
defeat and despair. He comes to you! He cooks breakfast for you! So is that not
the magnificent attitude of God? Remarkable! Beautiful! Wonderful!
Look at the leader of the
disciples, Peter. A wreck of a man. He had lied about even knowing Jesus.
Shamed and disgraced he was in his own eyes! But Jesus does not scold him. He
loves him, forgives him, redeems him and Peter is suddenly a new man. This is a
remarkable story of God at work, changing wasted lives into wonderful lives!
Peter became like clay in the hands of the Master Potter and God released
Peter’s marvelous potential!
Peter had to forgive himself in
order to become God’s man. Forgiveness is never easy. It is difficult to
forgive someone who has hurt you. It is sometimes even more difficult to
forgive yourself for your sins, for the way you have hurt others. But when you
become willing to forgive others, and to forgive yourself, you begin to
experience the magnificent power of God to change your heart, your future, your
destiny. You discover that God can set you free from resentment, self-pity,
despair, hatred and doubt. Suddenly you feel like shouting about how marvelous,
and how wonderful, God really is!
God had seemed distant, uncaring. Now you see with new eyes that he is more
willing than you can imagine to give you a new attitude, a new future. He will
not force his way into your life, but when you open to door and invite him in,
he comes in! Slowly he changes the focus of your life. You learn to glance at
the world and its problems but gaze at the God who gives you peace in the midst
of life’s storms.
forgiving himself, and letting Jesus restore his life, Peter began to find joy
in obeying God. He had a reason to live; he had a mission. And God gave him the
marvelous power to stay the course even when he was being persecuted.
hope by now you understand my addiction. When I realize that God is like Jesus,
who cooked breakfast for sinners like me, I want to tell the world about God’s
magnificent power to change wounded, ordinary people into remarkable disciples who
can live beautiful lives for the glory of God. How marvelous! How
wonderful! + + +