President Trump returns today from his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong un after what appears to be a successful summit. Both shared cordial words about one another after leaving the negotiating table.
I’m sure they uttered more noxious things about one another in private the past few months.
Robert DeNiro unleashed a two-word epithet about our president recently at the Tony Awards. His lack of self control reeked of pride, vulgarity, and immaturity. I can’t put one of his words in print, but the second one was “Trump.”
There are many profane, false, and hurtful words that human beings use in our fallen world. I’m sure none of those destructive sayings exist in heaven. If the unseen realm has a conduct code (based on the love of God and His redemption), then I’m sure a speech code (or norm) exists also.
What might be the two worst words–that bring cringes and groans–in the Heavenly world?
I don’t profess to have superior knowledge about what God considers to be the worst words of all.
I do know that God wants His will (both in word and deed) to be done on earth as it is above (Matthew 6:10). “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)
God’s rule and will produce a beauty of speech and conduct that our Creator wants us to “pray down” here. I’m sure that includes beautiful and encouraging words that edify and bring hope. The Bible speaks much on his subject and the importance of our speech (Matthew 12:33-37, Ephesians 4:29-32, James 3:1-12, etc.).
Words can be bad from many angles. Some are simply lewd and disgusting–usually referring to messy body parts or sexual acts outside God’s design in marriage. Others are meant to be poisonous or hurtful to the hearer (gossip., slander, put-downs etc.).
Still others contain statements about motives or heart attitudes that not just loathed in God’s presence, but bring sadness due to the implications of where they will lead.
Which brings me to what might be two of the worst words in heaven’s vocabulary. In fact, they don’t exist there because they stand diametrically opposed to everything that makes heaven heaven.
Here they are:
You hear that phrase a lot on earth. I don’t think you hear it in heaven because the essence of being in right relationship with God is giving up living “My Way” (repentance) and trusting in God’s Way (Christ’s death and resurrection) in order to be saved and become an eternal friend of God.
There are no selfish “my ways” in the Kingdom of God’s will and reign. It’s His way, for His glory, for our benefit–unselfish love–where “I” dies and “Christ is all” (Colossians 3:12).
Awhile back I went to a memorial service for a man who showed no personal relationship with Jesus. True to his wishes, the family chose a funeral format which highlighted his vocation, hobbies, and interests–completely devoid of any reference to God or the afterlife.
At the end of the service, they played the deceased person’s favorite song which said it all. It was titled “My Way” by Frank Sinatra:
“And now, the end is near, And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain. I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve traveled each and every highway. But more, much more than this
I did it my way.”
“Regrets, I’ve had a few, But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do.
And saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course.
Each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this
I did it my way.”
“Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall; And did it my way.”
Can there be a stronger expression of self, ego, or narcissism than to say about yourself, “I did it my way?” No. Not from heaven’s point of view.
I left the service depressed and also concerned about the eternal state of the dead man.
The secular-progressive worldview which puts human beings and their “will or way” at the center of existence has surged in the Western world. The vast majority of funerals in America used to be done by clergy, mentioned the reality of God and life after death, and pointed people to be reconciled to their Maker and Redeemer.
Now, many weddings and funerals are not about knowing or glorifying God, but are about us or me. This reveals a self-centeredness–a “My Way”–that not only tries to dodge eternal life of eternal punishment, but makes each person the God of their own universe.
“My Way” was the original sin that Lucifer–Satan–committed (mentioned prophetically in Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 28: 12-19). The prince of darkness left the light of God-focus and humility for doing things his way–in pride.
The essence of sin is to want “My Way”–not God’s way. I’m sure angels weep when they think of the absurdity of the concept.
One fruit of “My Way” thinking is that suicides are sky-rocketing in America as people replace God with me (My Way) and kill themselves as a result. Think of the recent high profile suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade.
The Daily Signal reports:
“Suicide rates in the U.S. have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999, according to a report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicides increased in both men and women, in all ethnic groups and in both urban and rural areas. Suicide and ‘self-harm,’ a category that includes attempted suicides, cost the nation $70 billion a year in medical care and lost work time.”
“Nearly half of people who died by suicide had a known mental health condition, according to the CDC. Family members have given different accounts of Spade’s struggle. In media interviews, her sister, Reta Saffo, has said that she believes the designer suffered from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. The designer’s husband said in a statement that she ‘suffered from depression and anxiety for many years’ and ‘was actively seeking help.’”
I don’t know all the factors, but Kate Spade didn’t look in the right place and submit herself to God’s will and way. She chose “My Way” to face her demons–at least at the end.
Spade and Bourdain represent millions of people that struggle with mental and emotional illness, poor life choices, bad circumstances, and other human maladies. But instead of submitting these things to God and seeking His way, many are choosing “My Way”–which ends in ruin.
Jesus faced the same human struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. But instead of choosing his way he said, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
God’s way, his will, is the means to life, peace, and eternal love.
No wonder the early Christians called their new faith “The Way” (Acts 24:14-16), and became known as “People of the Way”–God’s way–submitted to his will and plans, not existing for me, but dying to self and living for Christ (Galatians 2:20).
Just as their are two supreme kingdoms in life, the kingdom of self and the Kingdom of God, there are two ways to live: either I call the shots and do things “My Way,” or I reject this attitude as the essence of sin, and commit myself to God’s way–made possible by Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite political commentators–Charles Krauthammer–recently wrote he had only a few weeks to live due to an aggressive cancer. His sad announcement, with no mention of God or eternity, included these words:
“I lived the life that I intended.”
I hope that’s not all he lived. I hope he chose the life that God intended.
Don’t sadden heaven this day with the two words that scream self-centeredness and doom.
“My Way” is a pot-holed gravel road with harsh but deserved final consequences.
God’s “Way” is the freeway to contentment on earth and eternal bliss to come.