KEYWORDS: love, term, people, terms, world, system

Watch Your Words

Karen Zerby

—By Maria

—Avoid Misunderstandings!Comp.2/93

—Good Counsel for Witnessers‚ Songwriters & All!

Maria #183 DO 2849

"New Worlds to Conquer!"

1. Today when I was listening to the Teen Inspiration Video songs & I thought about the title the Video Ministry had suggested‚ "New Worlds to Conquer," all of a sudden it occurred to me—& I never ever thought of this before—that the word "conquer" is almost as bad a word nowadays as "gypsies"!

2. That's also why I had a real serious reservation about using the song "Mountain Children" on this tape‚ because of the very very bad reputation of gypsies‚ & why when they first suggested that song quite a while ago‚ I left it off the list. Some people had wanted to use it because it's such a good song for dancing & for portraying our free spirit—& that is certainly true, but I just had real serious reservations about it because of the World's negative perception of gypsies. So I sent a message to one of our Units to pow-wow it, & they were all unanimous that it should not be used‚ mostly for that reason. Europeans & many people throughout the World have a very bad taste in their mouth when it comes to gypsies because so many of them are thieves, prostitutes & criminals. They've been forced into it, of course, but the fact remains that they don't have a good reputation.

3. Now what does "conquer" mean to the World? That word definitely means a use of force, for one thing, often with weapons, & usually the big mighty power taking possession of the small, weak‚ helpless one. More & more today it has a very bad connotation. When the World uses the term "conquer," this is usually what they mean. So if they hear the term "New Worlds to Conquer," what they will picture will be the takeover of these new worlds by physical, carnal weapons, where there is shooting & wounding & killing & overpowering by physical force.

4. When we say that we are going to have "New Worlds to Conquer," we, of course, mean something entirely different: Namely, that we are going to win these new worlds by the Love of God, win their hearts & minds & spirits because they want to be won, because they see that Love is the best way to do things & is the best thing for them & has their best interests at heart.—That Love is the most powerful weapon in the Universe; that unlike other weapons, it does not hurt, but heals & helps. However, there's not much use in our talking to someone about "conquering" new worlds & expecting them to know what we mean. All they are going to know is what they mean.

5. This is an important lesson in communication! We can talk all we want to about a lot of wonderful things, but unless we help people to understand exactly what we mean, they may be getting everything all wrong, because they will be interpreting everything by their own meanings. To effectively communicate, both parties have to assign the same meanings to words; they have to define words & concepts the same way or they cannot effectively communicate. Instead, they will have serious misunderstandings because one person defines a word one way & another person another way, so actually they're not talking about the same thing, but instead two different things.

6. It's very important that we make ourselves clear as to exactly what we mean. If there is any chance that the person to whom we are speaking will not understand our terminology‚ we should either define it the way we are using it, or use another term that will better express what we mean & will be given the same definition by both us & the person we're talking to.

7. No matter how much we may like our terminology & like to talk about "conquering" & fighting battles for the Lord etc., it's not going to do us much good to use these terms with outsiders unless they understand exactly what we mean when we use them. In fact‚ it may just turn them off. However, if we define these terms or use terms that are understandable to them, we can present them with our alternative‚ that is, winning by Love, & turn them on to something far better & greater than overpowering by hate & cruelty & force.

8. The worldly concept of "conquering" is a hateful, angry, cruel one, where victory is won at the expense of people's lives. We "conquer" in a totally different way—by Love. However‚ since this is such a strange new concept to people, it has to be thoroughly explained to them, & even then‚ because they are so used to their meaning of the word "conquer," it is a bit difficult for them to assign an entirely contradictory meaning to the word. It is more advantageous that we change our word "conquer" to conform to something that outsiders can more readily understand, or just not use that terminology at all! We can tell them what we are doing without using their worldly terms, which they define as terms of force & hate & cruelty.

9. So in our song "New Worlds to Conquer," we could change the word "conquer" to something like "win with love‚" which would be getting closer to a meaning that both we & the World would understand in the same way. However, even the term "love" is looked upon much differently by the World than it is by us. If we don't explain that it is God's Love‚ they automatically look at love as being something very fleshly, very carnal & even selfish. So even in our talking or singing about love, we need to make it as clear as possible what kind of love we're talking about, that it is God's Love, & how that Love is manifested. In a song it's very difficult to explain every term you use, so if there is apt to be some misunderstanding‚ it's better not to use the term at all.

10. If the point of this entire song was to explain about winning the World with God's Love, then we would have to find a suitable substitute for the word "conquer." However, the point of the song & the reason for this song is to help people to see that Heaven isn't a boring, unchallenging place after all, it is a place of much excitement, thrills & wonderful challenges, so there really is no reason to have to use the term "conquer" at all, or even another word or phrase that means the same thing.

11. Anyway, the whole idea of spreading God's Love throughout the Universe & being His ambassadors & the whole "definition" of our use of "conquer" is right there within the song already, so we don't really need to put a label on it. Therefore it is not so important to retain the word "conquer" or even change it to something that means the same thing. The word "discover" is much more in keeping with the whole tone of the song & the excitement & challenges & thrills of Heaven. It better supports the theme of the song.—"New Worlds to Discover!"

12. It's up to us, it's our responsibility to make clear what we mean. We can't expect people to read our minds, & unless we teach them our meanings of the System terms we use, all they are going to know is the worldly definition, & that term might be negative in their minds, like "gypsies" & "conquering" things. In this case, we have assigned a positive meaning to the term "conquer" as it applies to us & our life, whereas the worldly definition of the word has a completely different meaning.

"Love" Can Be Misunderstood

13. The word "love," as I pointed out above, is also subject to various interpretations‚ & that's why unfortunately we have had to tone down our expressions of love to the general public & be much more cautious & wise in our usage of "I love you," & not have all our little teen girls looking adoringly into the eyes of every man they meet & telling them, "I love you!" While we know that we're talking about the Lord loving them through us, they have no idea that this love has anything to do with the Lord, & of course they define it as they always do, as a very fleshly‚ carnal, sexual thing. (Dad uses the expression in his "Somebody Loves You" tract‚ but makes it very clear what he means.)

14. So in order to keep from being misunderstood, we need to use other words to describe how we feel, & we have to more clearly & specifically define the kind of love we're talking about. We should try to make it very clear from the beginning that it is God Who loves them because He gave His Son for them & wants to save them, & pretty much leave references to us personally loving them out of our conversation.—Not because there's anything wrong with us loving them—we do love them—but because they cannot understand the way we define this love, & they take it differently than we mean it. We have to be more specific & use terms that will help them to understand more clearly what we're talking about.

15. It's part of our job to learn to effectively communicate with people if we want to get our Message of Love across to them. We will have to learn to say it in words that will accurately convey to them what we mean. If the words we are using do not do that, we will have to find some other phraseology or some other terms. It's not their fault that they misunderstand. We have one idea & we know what we mean‚ but we can't expect them to read our minds.

16. Sometimes we can't help offending people. If we've done all we can to explain ourselves & they know exactly what we mean & they are still offended by it, we have to go on preaching our Message anyway, & not worry about what they think of us or if they like our Message or not. But before we label them as "unreceptive" or "not sheepy" or "goats‚" we'd better be sure that they understand what we mean & that they're not just getting the wrong interpretation of what we're saying to them.

17. If we're going to say something that they're going to be offended by just because we haven't explained ourselves, then we can't blame it on them. We can't just stubbornly insist, "We're going to use this term because we know what it means & we like it‚ & they should like it too!" Well‚ nobody's taught them to like it, & all they know is the worldly meaning & the meaning that is negative in their minds, like the words "gypsies" & "to conquer."

"Ruling & Reigning"

18. Also, I don't think it would hurt in this song to change the term "rule & reign," because again it is a concept like "conquer," which if not given a little more explanatory context, might evoke a negative response in some people or leave a question in their mind about what we mean by "ruling & reigning." In our other songs, I think it explains it better & you have more of the background & the context of it, & it's obvious that God is ruling the Earth with Love & we're going to help Him because we love people. It's a rule of Love for their benefit & not for their hurt or harm.

19. However, this term "rule & reign" doesn't actually need to be in this particular song, since the major idea of the song is that "Heaven's going to be a `groovy place', not like the stuffy, boring one that you have imagined it to be!" And the term "rule & reign" does not really support this idea, since for most people "ruling & reigning" would sound like a lot of very hard work that probably would not appeal to them in the least, or if it did‚ it would be for some very selfish, lustful motive. So I don't mind taking out the words "rule & reign" from the song "New Worlds to Conquer," because the whole point of this is to show that Heaven is great & we're going to be ambassadors of Love & spread the Lord's Love, & we don't have to throw in this foreign concept, & what is to the World a rather negative one, before we've more fully prepared their hearts for what the term "rule & reign" means.

20. People in today's World have been brainwashed against the monarchy, against kings & queens, against absolute rule, against dictatorship of any sort! They've even gotten rid of most kings & queens today, & most of the ones who are left are only figureheads. The ones who do have some real power are pretty much maligned by the rest of the World, & everything possible is done to unseat them from power in favour of a "democratic" form of government.

21. So the term "ruling & reigning" has a very bad connotation to people today, like overpowering someone else, forcing them to submit their will to you.—A lot like "conquering." The problem is similar in that what we mean by both terms is different than what the World means. However, even when the World understands what we mean by "rule & reign"—in other words, to rule with love & in kindness & consideration & concern for others—they will often still not like the idea of being "ruled."—Not only because they've been brainwashed against it, but because of their own sinful, rebellious natures that are antagonistic to the idea of submitting to authority.

22. That concept is throughout all of our songs, because God is the Great Ruler of the Universe & we certainly can't & don't want to hide that fact. But today "ruling & reigning" has such a bad connotation, like overpowering someone else. Of course, the "conquering" idea is very much in "Across the Sky," to conquer the evil & right the wrongs, but in that song it's really clear what we're talking about. I think most people would agree with it, as bad as the World is getting, & they wish somebody would conquer the evil & right the wrongs. So we're explaining what we mean & it's very clear, & I think the usage there is fine.

23. People are just really getting very antagonistic to the concept of ruling or being ruled. I'm sure it's the Devil, of course‚ doing it all, because his ultimate goal is to get them not to accept the sovereignty of the Lord & not to yield to the kingship of the Lord. So he's getting them to be against this idea so they'll be more & more reluctant & rebellious towards submitting themselves to the Lord & submitting their will to the Lord.

24. Look at how women are acting with men today, almost like they hate them, unwilling to take anything from them. The Devil is coming out against every form of domination of any kind, just to get people to be rebellious against the Lord. That's his ultimate goal in king/subject relationships, employer/employee relationships‚ husband/wife relationships, teacher/student—every kind! Nobody wants to be told what to do, nobody wants to be ruled‚ nobody wants to be dominated in any way!

25. Nobody wants to be a little less equal than anybody else, & it's getting to be a very very big deal & a very very big problem in the World. The Blacks won't work as servants to the Whites any more. In fact‚ they won't work anywhere under them, they want to be over them! And the women don't want to work under the men, & children don't want to work under their parents, & nobody wants to obey anybody!

26. It's really a big deal now, & all Hell is breaking loose! Everybody just wants to do their own thing & not have anyone rule over them‚ much less the Lord! But that's where we have to draw the line! We can't just leave that idea out, because that's the main thing the Lord wants them to do & that we're trying to get them to do, to submit to the Lord & His Love & yield their life to Him. So we can't erase that concept & idea just because they don't like it!

27. They don't like a lot of things we do & a lot of things we present, but our job is to show them that God is a God of Love, & they're better off being ruled by Him in Love than not being ruled at all.—And that even though the kings of this World may be tyrants & despots & everything they've been taught to hate, God is different & He is a God of Love, & He rules in Love & they don't have to fear that.—In fact, it's good for them. But we have to make it clear when we tell them how God rules & how He conquers, & we need to explain what we mean by those terms, that it isn't like the World's show of force & despotic, unkind rule.

Finding System Substitutes for Family Terms

28. In the making of our new Interview Videos, I agree with the point that some others have brought up, that we're going to have to change some of our teens' way of expressing themselves in Family "lingo" & substitute some more relatable terms in order for the System to understand.

29. Some terms we'll need to be careful about are "chasten," "chastise," "discipline" & "correct." I'm not saying we shouldn't use any of these terms, but we need to really consider what they mean to the System & try to use terms that the System will understand. Most of our corrections of our teens are more like counselling sessions, & in some cases it might be better to use the word "counselling" than "correction." "Chasten & chastise" can be quite severe terms in the System's eyes, & even "discipline" sounds pretty bad to some nowadays.

30. So I agree that it would be good to write down a list of words that we need to come up with alternatives for, or System substitutes‚ so that the System will understand what we're talking about when we talk about chastisement or chastening, for example. I'm sure there are lots of words in our vocabulary that don't mean the same to us as they do to the System. Therefore we can't use them‚ otherwise the System will think we mean something different than we do. (—Try Training.—D.)

31. The term "forsaking all" is another one that might be wiser not to use with the System. I know we've been saying it for years & years, but now with our emphasis on presenting ourselves to the System in a more palatable & understandable way, we're seeing that we definitely need to change our presentation of some things. I think we need to find a better term for "forsake all" or "forsaken all." In the System, the word "forsake" has a rather negative connotation. If you forsake your son or your daughter you're abandoning them, deserting them, & it's looked upon as something very bad.

32. I wonder if we should instead use the term "giving up everything." That connotes a sacrifice on the part of the person doing it instead of a wrong done to someone else. To most people, it seems much more commendable to give up everything than to forsake something, so you would say, "All of our members have given up everything to dedicate themselves to the Lord's Work." Don't you like this better & don't you think there is a difference? Don't you think that "given up everything" has a better meaning in the System's eyes than "forsaken all"?

33. I'm not saying that we cannot quote the beautiful Scriptures on "forsaking all," neither am I saying that we should never use this term with the System. However, if we do use the term "forsaking all," then along with it I think we should explain in System terms what this means.—That it's not a light-hearted, merry, casual abandonment of everything valuable & of everyone who depends on us‚ but it's a very serious & well-considered decision which usually causes us much heartbreak & sacrifice in order to carry out Jesus' command to "go into all the World & preach the Gospel to every creature." And though the things we give up may be very important to us & dear to us, we feel that our obedience to God must supercede our own personal wishes & desires. We can explain that He has promised He will reward us for our sacrifices & more than repay us for what we have given up.

34. So what I'm saying is that I'm not against using our Family or Scriptural terminology in our witnessing to give outsiders a little sample of our Family way of life & way of looking at things, & to be in keeping with the terminology that appears in many of the verses we use while witnessing. However, if we do this, we need to make sure we define our terms or that the people understand what we're talking about. So when you use a term that people may not understand, you need to say, "That's our term for so-&-so." For example, if you use the term "Romans" for the police, you would say, "Oh, that's our term for the police, because in the Bible....", which could lead into a very good Bible study!

35. So just try to always think about the person to whom you are speaking or witnessing, & try to relate to them & put yourself in their place. Talk to them in a way they can understand & this will make it much easier for them to accept what you have to say. There will be some people, of course, who will never accept it no matter how well they understand, but at least then you've done everything you can to reach them. So use words they can understand, situations they can relate to, reasons they can comprehend.

36. For example, if they ask you, "Why do you live communally?" don't just stop at explaining that the reason we live communally is because we believe in following the sample of the early believers in Acts 2:44 & 45. This might be a little difficult for people to understand. But you can explain it to them further & tell them that it makes our work more efficient when we can all live together & work together. Tell them it also helps us economically‚ & in these times of recession when several families band together, they can live much more economically than they could otherwise. We've been doing this for 20 years, but now many other people are doing the same thing‚ as they see that they can't make it any other way & they're being forced to do what we have done voluntarily. So again, the principle of "explain, explain" is wise to follow. God bless you with good communication & wise witnessing!