Used to form the present participle of verbs: seeing.
Something peculiar happens to the English language when Christians talk. It’s not the jargon I am talking about, it’s the fact everything negative becomes past tense.
The Testimony: “I used to cuss, drink and get in trouble. I met Christ. Now my life is better.”
Church Chit Chat: “It was a tough week. I really had a hard time with my kids.” (I AM still having a hard time and want to ring their necks!)
Bible Study: “That Scripture about God’s unconditional love is something to cling to in the valleys.” (I only wish I could feel the truth of it right now.)
There is little room for “ing.”
*I am unforgiving.
*I am hurting.
*I am lusting.
*I am angry at my kids
*I am gossiping.
*I am practicing gluttony.
We actively sin.
I used to struggle with sin. I do struggle with sin. I will struggle with sin.
We have negative emotions.
When “ing” is expressed an emergency is declared. People’s eyes get big. The spiritual sirens blaze and the fire extinguisher is unleashed on you. People see you differently.
People want to know what you did to get yourself into this place.
It seems people are only allowed a certain number of “ings” before people give up on them and are pretty sure they aren’t Christians at all.
Those who hear about your “ing” may consider you toxic and pull away. They want to keep their family away from negative influences.
Besides, you are needy. They only have so much emotional reserve.
We all know the worst thing you can be is a toxic friend… At least that’s what the magazine at the doctor’s office said.
So we remove the “ing” and soften the edges in conversation. (If one “ing” is to be expressed vague terms like “hurting” or “challenging” are used.) We avoid expressing uncomfortable emotions. We don’t confess sin verbally. We don’t want to make a big deal about our sin and summon the spiritual sirens.
Nobody else does either.
The only problem is we are all toxic. We are all messy. Some of us come to Christ and old sin habits fall off immediately. Others of us limp along for years praying for release. Relapses. Those who have been Christians for decades pick up new hurts and habits.
We fall down. We get up. We fall down.
The Apostle Paul got it.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15-25)
The healthiest habit we can develop in our churches (especially in small group settings) is the deliberate use of “ing.” I am sinning. He is sinning. She is sinning. We are sinning. Let’s get to confession and begin healing together.
Have an “ing?” Let’s talk.