Have you ever heard of unpaired words? Language experts consider a word unpaired if it stands alone even though on the surface it looks like it should have a straightforward opposite. For example, “dismayed” has no corresponding opposite (“mayed”). Here are some more examples:
- If you’re not disgruntled, are you gruntled?
- Since disheveled means you look messy, would you consider it a compliment if a friend says, “You look heveled today”?
- Instead of misgivings about a proposed plan, do you have givings about it?
- If you can debunk a theory, can you also bunk one?
- If this isn’t the optimum time to act, is it the pessimum time?
- If someone isn’t inept, is he ept?
- If you prefer not to remain anonymous, are you onymous?
- If you can postpone an event, can you prepone one?
- If you’re never reckless, are you reckful?
Nonchalant is an unpaired word. You never hear someone described as “chalant.” Nonchalant means to be coolly unconcerned, indifferent, unexcited, and casual—lacking passion or heart.
Nonchalant About Salvation?
When it comes to our relationship with God, nonchalance is unacceptable. The trouble is, spiritual nonchalance has become increasingly common in a culture that neglects the Bible and dismisses the church as an irrelevant waste of time and energy. Proverbs 10:23 says, “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief” (King James Version). Sadly, much of today’s public discourse has become a mischievous sport—a contest to see who can out-shout their opponents, scoring points through mockery and sarcasm instead of engaging in respectful and logical debate.
Jesus was never nonchalant about his mission and message. He taught that the way to life is narrow. He compared false prophets to dangerous wolves masquerading as sheep. He said trees that don’t bear good fruit eventually get chopped down. God’s justice calls for sober reverence, not snarky quarrels.
Someone asked Jesus, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” (Luke 13:23). Was the inquirer serious, or was he merely posing a theoretical question? Did the person who asked this question care so much about others that he didn’t want to see anyone miss out on the joys of Heaven? Or did he consider himself one of the chosen few and hope Jesus would put a stamp of approval on his prideful presumption? The Bible doesn’t say what motivated the question, but Jesus’ response was pointed and clear: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (v. 24). The Lord refused to digress into a theoretical argument. This wasn’t a game to him. Instead, Jesus pressed the questioner to make sure his own relationship with God was right—that he had entered “through the narrow door.”
The Bible says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). God’s grace is a lifesaver for everyone willing to receive it. The church at its best is a vibrant, dynamic body of believers—an army of loving servant-warriors fighting hard for every lost soul. The Christian life includes lots of joy and lighthearted moments, but we shouldn’t be nonchalant and lukewarm about things that really matter. Every day we face a spiritual battle, and it’s not just a game.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, ©2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.