A New Word That I Propose for the Dictionary …



I recently visited an 89-year old grandmother in a retirement home. You young people, you imagine everyone beyond 60 years old is a mummy looking for an Egyptian sarcophagus to be buried in. You think 40 is the extreme limit of life as you know it.

Fifty years? Don’t even talk about it. And beyond that, people are in another solar system.

I just smile a big smile and I say, “Wait. You think you’re always gonna be like that, do you? You know what awaits you? Look at me! Yup, this decomposition will happen to you, too. It’s a bit depressing, isn’t it? ”

But back to this sister in Christ. She was quick-witted and we had a great conversation.

We talked about the goodness of the Lord and she said something that struck me: “There must be another word for it, just for that.”

And the thought stayed with me. The goodness of the Lord so surpasses our human kindness that our word ‘goodness’ is not enough. So I said to myself: “Maybe I can invent another word. Hmm … ‘supergoodlificious,’ for example?  Not. ‘Superextragoodlimmenséius?’  No, we won’t be able to spell it.

Finally I looked up the word in Hebrew. It is chêsêd. The grandmother was right because the word is so rich that those who translated it into other languages had a hard time agreeing. I found it translated as ‘goodness’, but also as ‘mercy’, ‘love’, ‘unfailing love’, ‘loving kindness,’ ‘faithfulness’ and ‘loyalty’!

Since the translators don’t agree on a word so full of meaning, I propose a new word for ‘goodness’ in English. We will say ‘bonté.’ I like the sound of that. This is our new word. (We’ll pronounce it “bon-tay.”)

– In Psalm 36 we learn about the bonté (chêsêd) of the Lord. It fills the skies – ” Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, extend to the skies, and Your faithfulness to the clouds.” (Amplified)
– It has no price, this wonderful ‘goodness’. (Some of the standard French versions translate the word we’re talking about as “goodness” all through this Psalm.  ” How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. “(Amplified 36:7)

– His goodness provides a banquet for those who are hungry. ” They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. “(v. 10 NIV)

– His goodness never fails. ” O continue Your loving-kindness to those who know You, Your righteousness (salvation) to the upright in heart. “(V. 11, Amplified)

When I swim in blessings and I have a smile from ear to ear, his bonté is evident.

And wonder of wonders, His bonté/ goodness doesn’t change, even when I find myself in circumstances that I don’t want. My circumstances have nothing to do with the goodness of God. He is good!

It is one thing that does not change, “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!” (Ps. 107:1, Amplified) “And the word ‘for mercy and loving-kindness’ used here? This is our famous word ‘chêsêd ‘, the same word for the word we invented “bonté”!

Well, I have a small confession to make. Bonté is not quite a new word. This is the French word for “goodness” for those who have not already caught on.

But the big question about this rich, rich word is, “Is it a reality in our heart?” Sometimes we hang on onto hurts, bitterness, worry, fear – and all kinds of flotsam floating on the surface of our heart.

And it prevents us from seeing the “kindness, goodness, mercy, unfailing love and loyalty” of the Lord! Do you find yourself in this place now? If so I have a message for you …


Take a little time apart. Stop whining, worrying, and burning calories and acid in your bitter stomach. Focus on Jesus your Lord and his goodness. Start  praising Him for his ‘chêsêd’!

Who knows, maybe the Holy Spirit will give you new words to describe his goodness.

 Hummm …G.K. Chesterton once said, “An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.”

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