Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hyperbole

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day
Hyperbole \hye-PER-buh-lee\ noun
Meaning: extravagant exaggeration
Example Sentence The food in the restaurant was quite good, but it couldn't live up to the hyperbole that had been used to describe it.

We have the tendency to exaggerate. A gourmet cup of coffee or tea is “superb!” A steep learning curve seems “impossible.” A refreshing swim on a hot day is “awesome.” When a child drops a favorite piece of glassware, we are “devastated.”

Really? Superb, impossible, awesome, devastated? Similar words slip off our tongues every day. With the overstatement of marketing, we're just intending to describe the thrust of an idea. We’re not comparing our surroundings and circumstances to ultimate reality. In the process, we demean things that are truly superb and awesome. Our language trivializes impossible circumstances and devastation where God’s intervention is our only hope.

Over the past year, we’ve been reorganizing our very full home, decluttering hospitality items, d├ęcor, and the accumulations of raising four children. The house is emptier since I started tossing, donating, and moving things around. Belongings once essential to our lifestyle moved out of the house without being missed. My peers and those ahead on the faith journey say the essentials become more important as the frivolous and trivial drops away. When I’m stumped about keeping an object, I ask, “Is this necessary? Does it reflect our values? Does it add to what God is calling us to do?”

Underneath this purge lies the question, “What is True?” What can be accepted by all without exaggeration – without the echo of advertising’s shout of “Buy me, keep me, dontcha know you need me?”

What is True? Beyond a doubt or shadow of human viewpoint? Only God’s inestimable worth, his fathomless wisdom, and infinite love. When we worship from the heart, we toss out all the trapping of language and pretense. We declutter our hearts for uncontaminated engagement. We open ourselves and speak the only words that have no subjective additions. We say, “God is Good. God is Loving. God is Kind.” And that is Truly True, without hyperbole!

Read more:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16 NIV

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