The Trouble with Misnomers (Isaiah 5:20)

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A columnist writing for Detroit News expressed astonishment at the way truth is often stretched in advertising. She recalled ordering “fresh fruit salad” from the menu in a Boston restaurant. But when the item was served to her on a plate, it was anything but “fresh.” The peaches, pineapples, grapes, and maraschino cherry had spent months wallowing in their own juice in a tin can. When the waitress was asked what happened, since a “fresh” fruit salad had been ordered, she responded cheerily, “Oh, honey, that’s what they call it” Later this same columnist heard about a Hot Pie cart at a sporting event. When a cold pie was bitten into and a complaint was made, the owner of the stand answered brusquely, “Hot Pie is just the name of the pie.”

Such deception doesn’t occur only in advertising. It happens whenever people move away from principles of goodness and honor. Deception, misnomers (the use of a wrong name), and outright lies are the tools of an immoral person’s trade. The selfish and evil call themselves generous and good; the slaves of sin call themselves liberated; the foolish call themselves enlightened, and the lustful describe their acts as love affairs.

God is not fooled by these misnomers. In today’s Scripture He warns against those who call evil good, and good evil. No matter what the world calls good or evil, let’s take our definition from the God of all truth. With Him there are no misnomers. – Martin R. De Haan II

Deceit at first may have its sweets,

But these are brief, decaying;

So do the right as God directs,

For all your deeds He’s weighing. – H. B. Bosch

We do not always see things as they are; we usually see things as we are.

  • October 22, 1986, Our Daily Bread
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