“Now, today, try this personal hair removal system! Only $19.99, plus shipping and handling!”
“Wanted: personal assistant. Must pick up dry cleaning and love dogs.”
I’ve been thinking about the word personal lately. I found this definition:
1.of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else.“her personal fortune was recently estimated at $37 million”
done or made by a particular person; involving the actual presence or action of a particular individual.“the president and his wife made personal appearances for the re-election of the state governor”
of or concerning one’s private life, relationships, and emotions rather than matters connected with one’s public or professional career.
To me, personal has always been, well, personal. It’s about a person. It’s meant their private thoughts, attitudes, emotions and dramas. If I tell someone, “It’s personal”, that means butt out. It means I’m not ready to share it now, if ever. It has to do with things better left unsaid except to the chosen, vetted few.
And by default, personal denotes belonging to someone. Like my personal hairbrush – not that I own one anymore, with this mane. Toothbrushes are personal; we don’t share. Ideally.
So when I hear an altar call that says, “Do you want to make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior?”, I get antsy. Jesus can be everyone and anyone’s Lord and Savior. In fact, that’s the goal for us Christians here on earth. The Great Commission from Jesus states: Go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:16-20). Jesus doesn’t belong to me alone. He belongs to millions of believers around the globe, and to any potential believers as well.
The other part of this that sits wrong with me is “personal” anything usually points to a tool. Remember the hairbrush example? The hairbrush serves to smooth my hair, or would, if such a tool could work on curly tresses. The toothbrush cleans my teeth. It works for me. So, a personal savior would…take care of all my messes? “See that spot Jesus? Right back there? Could you tidy that up, make it spotless? That’s it. Put your back into it.”
Jesus doesn’t exist to do my bidding. I exist to worship Him and do HIS bidding. I hear you say, “Susan, this is all semantics. Nobody means anything by it.” Probably true. I have nothing against people who use this phrase. But maybe I need to think differently of “personal”, give it another chance. Because choosing to follow Christ, it will get personal, real fast. He changes lives.