I love to hear my children laugh…especially when we are all together. It’s infectious, it’s sincere, it’s comforting. Laughter is truly good for the soul. And so, on occasion I have been known to break out in dance, or song or randomly have a conversation with them using the latest teen lingo. Now I caution every parent who does this…it can backfire if you are not 100% sure of the definition. So, in order to save countless parents from stepping into a landmine of your own making, I have compiled a list of the latest Generation Z terms; words no one over 25 should ever use, ever.
Drag- to gossip or malign a person’s name.
Get your face beat-The application of cosmetics.
I’m dead or I’m dying- Used when engaged in humorous banter; can also be used as a sarcastic remark when something meant to be funny isn’t. Example: Dad Jokes
Woke- A person highly aware of social issues. Used in a sentence: “If you want to converse on the gospel message of hope and the impact it would have on our society if we fully embraced its tenets, speak to Matt; he’s woke.”
Finna- An announcement of commencing behavior. “Before I head to the gym, I’m finna grab a donut.”
Curve- The avoidance of a romantic encounter. “Jeremy went speed dating last week; boy got curved.”
Receipts- A proclamation requesting proof. “On a run to the local Walmart, Steve said he met Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Shook, Ken replied, “I’m gonna have to see some receipts.”
Skinny Legend- A positive way to praise someone you admire; has no correlation to body size. “Have you met Milt Cole, he’s the Skinny Legend of RiverLakes Church.”
Now as I explained earlier, I love laughter and sometimes I love to annoy the heck out of my kids and using these terms usually elicits both responses from them, but I would probably never use these words outside of my home. Job 12:12, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” A positive side to aging is being more comfortable with who I am and who I am not; learning to love my flaws and value my voice. Age might take our shape, some may lose their hair, but thankfully with age comes wisdom and a greater understanding of our identity and how that impacts the world around us.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t get periods of doubt and insecurity. I understand what it means to feel less than, not good enough, cool enough, pretty enough, smart enough and the list could go on and on. If we are all honest, everyone has these moments.
So, let me ask you, “When you look in the mirror every morning, who do you see?” What does your walk and talk reveal about your image of self? And as believers how does God’s Word change your perspective; how does His truth transform the heart of your service? Do you have difficulty loving the unlovely? Is it hard for you to forgive? Is there an idol of perfection, self-righteousness or approval you need to lay before God in repentance? I will be the first to say sometimes these feelings infiltrate my thoughts and my only remedy is time spent with my Savior, which brings me back to truth. I am reminded of the cross of my salvation, I see my sins nailed to it, I understand I played no part in my redemption. I see my perfect Savior and His perfect sacrifice made not only for me, but for all. I see value and purpose in my life. I hope for the hopeless…I am freed from fear of the unknown and able to enter into relationship with people from all walks of life, knowing the message I carry isn’t one I earned. It’s one I come prepared to share.
Colossians 1:15-23, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
When our eyes shift from the cross of Christ and aren’t focused vertically, we succumb to the blinding horizon and our image gets hazy, our reflection grows dim. But those who see the cross rightly see themselves rightly and that truth will both crush you and transform you.
Jen Wilkin writes, “Only God can say I AM WHO I AM, we must simply confess…I am because he is.”
On a mission trip with Children to Love International, my daughter and I met a 13-year-old orphan boy named Alberto, who at the age of two was dumped in a trash bin and left for dead. He now lives his life bedridden in a crib unable to run, laugh, speak, or even move. Some might ask, to whom does his life bear witness?
The first book of the Bible tells us we were created in the image of God…in Latin it is Imago Dei…Alberto is Imago Dei and his life matters….in his crib, in his silence, in his crippled form he has ministered to more people than some will in a lifetime.
No one would look at Alberto’s smile and say his life doesn’t matter, yet why are we so quick to diminish the value of the homeless person, the addict, the prostitute, or the single mom on welfare? Do we realize in our apathy or even contempt we diminish the part of creation that most resembles God?
Genesis 1:26-28, 31, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
Consider Luke 18:9-14, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector:
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt: Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: God, I thank you that I am not like the other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying. God, be merciful to me, a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Grudem writes this: “It would be good for us to reflect on our likeness to God more often. It will probably amaze us to realize that when the Creator of the universe wanted to create something in his image, something more like himself than all the rest of creation, he made us. This realization will give us a profound sense of dignity and significance as we reflect on the excellence of all the rest of God’s creation: the starry universe, the abundant earth, the world of plants and animals, and the angelic kingdoms are remarkable even magnificent. But we are more like our creator than any of these things. We are the culmination of God’s infinitely wise and skillful work of creation. This should have a profound implication for our conduct toward others. It means every race deserves equal dignity and rights. It means the elderly, the mentally and physically ill, the children yet born, deserve full protection and honor as human beings. If we ever deny someone’s unique status in creation as God’s image bearers, we will soon begin to depreciate the value of all human life.”
Studies have shown that the key to true rehabilitation of the addict and criminal comes through the rebuilding of a new identity and strong healthy relationships. Isolation and punishment do not rehabilitate, they further criminalize the mind and degrade the truth of the image we were created to reflect. So, what is your posture toward humanity, the pinnacle of God’s creation? Can you assume a posture of service to the one in a posture of loss?
James 1:22-27, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this; to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Through His Son, we are called holy, favored, blessed children of the Most High God. We stand completely known before Him, yet we are highly valued and sealed with His approval and love. This audacious truth is reshaping us daily into the image of our Savior and it should intensify our compassion for the lost.
Only the image of the cross will transform the heart of our service, only a deep gaze into the cross will crush our pride till humility and truth are the banner we carry and it is only the cross of Jesus Christ that will carry us to the purpose and image we were created to reflect.