Lord's Day Liturgy

What Is a Ditch?

Truth lovers love truth and, therefore, they love words and definitions and sentences that carry the truth. Lovers of truth who collect and arrange words can get themselves into trouble with all their word play, defining themselves right off the road of obedience. Religious people are the best, or worst as it were, at finding ambiguity in a cup of dirt.

Once upon a time, a lawyer put Jesus to the test, asking Him how to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25ff). Jesus answered his question with a question, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The lawyer replied with a recitation of the first and second greatest commandments and Jesus said, “You have answered correctly; do this and live.”

Remember the lawyer’s reply? “But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” Self-defense often starts by calling the unabridged edition of the Oxford English Dictionary as a witness.

Getting good with words can lead in two directions: north or south. Words can aim us the right way, straight and swift to forgiveness or they can send us on back road detours away from fellowship with God and others. We should be thankful lawyers don’t make GPS units.

We can’t avoid vocabulary ditches by going nowhere. Staying in the same place is not an option because words bring truth and truth leads to life so, the good life requires good words. But we must always be careful not to rally words in any way that justifies our disobedience. If you ever ask, “And what is a ditch?” you can be sure that you’re in one.