Poor Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary

Poor Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary—he can’t even show up at a holiday party without being cornered by another distraught denizen of the English-speaking world with the query, “What are we supposed to call the decade that’s now ended?” Pretend you’re the editor of the dictionary—how would you answer all those emails? After all, we call the 80’s the 80’s and the 90’s the 90’s. But what shall we call the 00’s? The Zeroes? Hardly. How about the Aughts (English for the number 0)? Or the Ohs? Or the Oh-Ohs (I like that one!)?

Fact of the matter is the English language isn’t going to melt down simply because we can’t come up with a word for the decade that’s now behind us. And it won’t be a philological crisis if we never do. “‘It’s really amusing to me,’ said Dennis Baron, a University of Illinois linguist and curator of a Web site that decodes language in the news. ‘People think if we don’t have anything to call the decade that maybe we will forget it, that it will be some kind of orphan decade, that it won’t exist. But it’s simply not true’” (SBTribune 12-28-09). As it turns out there are other words we’ve been missing for a long time. What do you call former in-laws? (Perhaps it’s best not to call them at all.) What about a romantic friend of an older adult who isn’t married? “Girl friend” sounds too teenager-ish, doesn’t it?

And what does God call the decade that is now behind us? Interestingly enough, he uses a non-chronological term. A word that isn’t bound by the passage of time. A single word that is both descriptive and proscriptive. One word that transcends the idiosyncrasies of the English language . . . or any other language, ancient or modern, for that matter.

Just one word. But in it is contained the divine DNA of the gospel we still call everlasting. The word? Forgiven. That’s it. Forgiven. Because two hundred decades ago “on a hill far away” God from his cross forgave this rebel race of all our sins (there being no shortage of adjectival modifiers and synonyms in the English language for that very human reality that is all ours—sin). “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (I Timothy 1:15). Forgiven. God’s one word to describe the decade of your life and mine that is now past. And the one–word reason for you and me to bow down this New Year and worship him. Forgiven indeed. Thank God!

Comments

Forgiven indeed!! Thank you Pastor Nelson for that enlightenment.

Having the opportunity to start over is beautiful. GREAT is the mercy of the Lord towards us. Please keep doing what you do. Peace and long life Wil

I researched the word "aught", also spelt "ought" and surprisingly saw on some sites, that it could refer to zero. I think I remember my grandparents using the word "ought" in this sense. I cannot remember hearing this word being used in decades. In the Caribbean and even when I went to South Africa, it was, and still is referred to as 'nought". Some of the sites state that aught>zero.

How comforting to be assured of it: a whole decade of the world forgiven. Sadly, not forgotten. The earth is yet to be handed over to the Dragon as never before nor ever shall be. And why? Because as happened before, "I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols" (Message to Thyatira). The sanctuary of God, which temple we are, is yet defiled (Dan. 11:30b-32). There is a remnant therefore, and those who are forgiven and rejoice in his renewing love shall inherit the earth.

Very Comforting...

Thanks be to God that we are forgiven every day of the year!! It is my prayer that God's forgiveness NEVER EVER be taken for granted, but that it becomes a daily awareness for which we give our upmost thanks. When we give daily thanks we must not allow ourselves to forget what God has done for us on the cross--even when it is not a new year. Itseems that as we become closer to Jesus we wonder and are in awe as to why we can be forgiven and be the recipient of God's precious gifts He so freely gives us. Forgiveness and the plan of salvation along with the Sabbath are such precious gifts from God that are too often assumed comes with the territory of being an Adventist. I hope we make a conscious effort to avoid this attitude at all costs while keeping at attitude of submission and thankfulness. God is surely all the descriptions in ICor. 13!! AMAZING!!!

In my part of the world this decade is referred to as the "Noughties"

God is love, but He is also a consuming fire. Most of the time conviniently we accept God as being a God of love and intentionally ignore the fact that He is also a consuming fire. When evil strikes in our lives is because we have departed from that close relationship that only can protect us. Then we ask the always traditional question: "God, why me! instead of saying: "God forgive me." Our God does not delight in pain and misery He delights in love, mercy and compassion. Let's fear God (FEAR) for He is a consuming Fire. May the Lord have mercy on all of us.

Moderation is a convinient word-cloak to cover up the truth.

Just as a point of interest... in Australia we refer to the last decade as the 'naughties'. Its a play on some words in British and Australian English: "naught" is the word we commonly use instead of "zero" and refers to the "00" years. But we also use the word "naughty" quite a lot. It could be translated as "bad" but really is a lot more playful and can even have some positive connotations.

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