No Dissing Zone
by Pastor George Van Alstine

I’m intrigued with one bit of slang usage coming out of urban street culture — the idea of “dissing,” as in “Why are you always dissing me?” It’s really a shortened form of “disrespect,” but because it’s a single-syllable word and ends in the strong ss sound, it seems to get the point across more effectively.

A lot of English words begin with the prefix dis, and they’re all downers. Here are a few I thought of:

disappoint dissatisfy distrust
disturb disunio dissimilar
disagree disconnect dissimilar
disillusion disinherit dishonest
disbelieve disappear disallow

This is the company we’re in when we diss someone.

Why is dissing so common? Clearly, it’s because of our own sense of shortcoming and inadequacy. We don’t feel good about ourselves, and making something better of ourselves is a lot harder than putting another person down to create the illusion that we have improved. We think that by belittling another person we ourselves grow bigger. The fact is that when we bring another person down, we actually feel a lot smaller.

Jesus came to lift us up, to redeem us, to ennoble us, to make us somebody. If we accept his salvation, we should feel personally affirmed and validated enough to be able to get past this need to diss others. Could it be that our continued pattern of dissing shows that we haven’t fully accepted his salvation?

Here’s another important dis-word: discourage. It’s humbling to think that our dissing others, particularly sisters and brothers in the fellowship of faith, can take away their courage! How sad that is!

The Apostle Paul wrote to a small group of believers who made up the church at Thessolonica,

“God has destined us for salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” (1 Thes. 5:9-11)

Paul reminded each believer that her/ his salvation and eternal well-being were secure because of Jesus’
love. As a result, they were freed up from the need to diss each other. Instead of discouraging (robbing of courage) each other, it would be natural and fulfilling to encourage (restore courage in) one another. Rather than belittling and putting down brothers and sisters, their mutual instinct would be to build each other up.

Let’s do our best to make ABC a No-Dissing Zone. Because of Jesus, we can put that behind us.