That’s Wicked, Man!

At this moment (Tuesday morning, April
25, 2023), I am typing on my laptop. I am
using Microsoft Word Office Home &
Business 2021 for Mac, version 16.72,
copyright 2023. I like this version because,
among other changes, it has a vastly
improved word list. Sometimes I get stuck
trying to find just the right word, so I have
become accustomed to using the built-in
thesaurus to help stimulate the part of my
brain that handles vocabulary and diction. I
right-click on a word, and then I choose
“Synonyms” (many of us have done this, I am
sure). A list pops up (usually), showing
options to replace the word in question (for
what it is worth, I just now right-clicked on the
word “thesaurus” in order to bring up the
thesaurus to see what synonyms Word
suggests for the word “thesaurus”). There are
many times when I do not use any of the
recommended synonyms. That’s not
necessarily the point, though. The point is that
the list of options rouses my brain, helping me
to think more broadly in order to come up with
just the perfect word.
When I type the word “evil,” then right-click
on it and choose “Synonyms,” I get the
following: wicked, malevolent, sinful,
malicious, criminal, immoral, foul, vile, nasty,
and horrible. That is not an exhaustive list by
any means, but it is a pretty good start.
Interestingly, when I type the word “wicked,”
then right-click on it and choose “Synonyms,”
I get a radically different result: good, great,
terrific, cool, fabulous, fab, phantastic (what in
the world?), impressive, and distressing.

This is not my first rodeo, so I understand that
MS Word is trending heavily toward the slang
usage of the word “wicked.” Yet, it is
—and even alarming
—to see such a
dramatic repurposing of a word that is
ultimately synonymous with evil, and therefore
allied with malevolence, immorality, and the
like. This is not a cry to eliminate the slang
usage of the word “wicked,” by the way.
Rather, I am simply suggesting that we remain
vigilant as we live our lives in this world. Little
by little, Satan infiltrates cultures, even
Christian culture
Speaking of that which is wicked and evil, I
have been spending a lot of time lately in the
-century prophets, specifically Amos 2
and Micah 2. Amos’s task was to preach to
Israel. Micah’s assignment was to preach to
Judah. Both preached difficult messages of
accusation and doom. God’s chosen people

Israel and Judah
—had clearly become
comfortable with their chosen status. They
seemed to think that, as God’s “treasured
possession,” they were above discipline. As a
result, they bought into the way in which the
godless world around them lived. Each of
these prophets details the depth of sin and
depravity among the people of God. Each in
his own way indicts the people of God for their
malevolence. The people
—particularly the
wealthy and influential
—were lying, cheating,
and stealing. And they were doing this to their
own brothers and sisters. They were hoarding
land at the expense of the poor and needy,
solely for the purpose of increasing their own
wealth and status. They were sending their
brethren into debt slavery. They were driving
their own people from their meager homes and
land, thereby depriving them of the only
chance they had to sustain their lives. Their
actions were heartless and murderous. Amos
and Micah assured them that they would pay
mightily for their sins.
In Romans 12:2, Paul writes, “Do not be
conformed to this world.” I love that the apostle
makes it so simple. We are people who know
Christ. Because of this, we live differently. And
we are on guard, because we know that, little
by little, Satan infiltrates cultures, even
Christian culture.

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