Friday, November 28, 2014

Who Are “They”

It’s an easy word, showing up in sentences where we wish to indicate more than one person. “They” are the people we we see daily, talk with on a regular basis, see through as we walk past them, make us angry when we drive. “They” are everyone except us.

We also use the term too often when speaking of people who oppose us. “They” disagree with us. “They” don’t know what “they” are doing. “They” is often used in political discussions, but too often used in religious ones, too:
“They” don’t have the same (insert doctrine, service, prayer, dress, etc.) that “we” do.
We seldom use it when speaking of people who agree. “They” then become “we.” “We” can work together to get things done. It would be good to remind ourselves that our Lord often used the word “ye.”

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV)

Decide for yourself, which pronoun are you? Do you fit the “ye”, where ye are supposed to “Go … and teach all nations”, or are you to be taught? Do you “observe all things” He commanded? Do you believe He is with you always, feeling His presence – even when you are uncomfortable with it?
Knowing where we fit in these biblical pronouns helps us understand much more. It’s similar to understanding where Luke was as we read the book of Acts. He describes the activities of the apostles in a timeline, mostly using “they”, but there comes a time when it is obvious he is traveling with Paul when the pronoun changes to “we.”

And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. (Acts 16:8-10 KJV)

See how a pronoun change also changed a perspective? Before, the author depended on someone’s narrative to know what happened. After, he writes from his own experience.

So, how we use pronouns tells a great deal of how we experienced the narrative we are giving. I try to be aware of this in writing my blog. A good portion of it will be direct quotes from the Bible, but even those quotes are ones I’ve selected. Sometimes there are direct quotes from other sources, too, which must be identified by setting in paragraphs apart. Every selection and every surrounding word are mine and I must be able to take responsibility for what I write, what I say and what I do.

So must we all.

I do apologize for rambling (a bit more than usual, I think!), but I’m concerned that there are divisions where there should not be. There is also healing and companionship available:

Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6 KJV)

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