Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hyperbole and Reality

Anyone Available for Me?

Hyperbole in writing, sermons, and marketing is a common practice. Some examples of hyperboles in relationships include:
  • “I’ve told you a million times”
  • “It was so cold, I saw polar bears wearing jackets”
  • “She is so dumb, she thinks Taco Bell is a Mexican phone company”
  • I am so hungry I could eat a horse.
  • I have a million things to do.
  • I had to walk 15 miles to school in the snow, uphill.
  • I had a ton of homework.
  • If I can’t buy that new game, I will die.
  • He is as skinny as a toothpick.
  • This car goes faster than the speed of light.
  • That new car costs a bazillion dollars.
  • We are so poor; we don’t have two cents to rub together.
  • That joke is so old, the last time I heard it I was riding on a dinosaur.
  • They ran like greased lightning.
  • He's got tons of money.
  • You could have knocked me over with a feather.
  • Her brain is the size of a pea.
  • He is older than the hills.
The use of hyperbole is also used by preachers and politicians as well as marketers. 

As a Christian Minister I am often tempted to use hyperbole to describe my mission and vision without taking into account that in order for me to maintain my crdibility I must also follow through with practical steps to actually accomplish the mission and vision. 

I am tempted to make promises I cannot keep such as: 

"My door is always open". 
"Call me anytime". 
"I love the whole world and welcome them to my ministry". 
"Jesus layed down His life for us and I will do the same. 
"We accept anyone in our church so no matter who you are or what you beleive you can fit in here."
"This ministry is turning the world upside down". 

Using hypebole to write a mission statement or preach about God's love is great. However, carrying out those great promises can be a real challenge.They can come back to haunt us. As my dad would say, "Don't write any checks that your hands can't cash". 

Setting goals and planning action steps that are are critical parts to being a truthful and reliable person. A story I heard can illustrate it. A homeless man in New York knocked loudly on the door of a large and wealthy church in the city. One of the Pastors opened the door rather cautiously and asked the man dressed in tatters how he migh be of assistance. 
The old man said, "I have a question for you. Do you still do it?"
The Pastor said, "Do what?"
Man Do you  the stuff you say?"
Pastor: "Well of course. We don't lie".
Man: "Well come out here and read this. It says, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel saying, "the Kingdom of God is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out spirits, freely you received it so freely give it to others". MT 10: 7-8
Are you doing that today?
Pastor: "Well no, we are not."
Man: "Then take it off of the building cornerstone". 

Are we living up to our promises or are they just hyperbole?

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