Quid pro quo. Dossier. Whistleblower. Star chamber. Hoax. Collusion.

Let us now observe a moment of silence for these words and phrases that are now dead to me thanks to their overuse during the political insanity gripping our nation. They have, in fact, become so odious to me now, I’ll cross the street to avoid bumping into them.

Honestly, I won’t shed any tears for their passing. I had no idea what “quid pro quo” or “star chamber” meant until recently. I don’t think I’ve ever read a dossier or met a whistleblower. I’m sure I’ve probably harmlessly colluded and participated in a hoax, but I doubt if I called it that.

Even so, I love words and think it’s most unfortunate when a perfectly good one is ruined through overuse or because it’s been hijacked and assigned a spurious meaning.

What’s more than unfortunate, though, is when words that describe God’s attributes, deeds and intentions become meaningless to people. That’s downright tragic.

Let’s play a little word association game. What comes to your mind first when you see these words: church … saint … salvation … holy … righteous?

Those are good, biblical words, but my, how they’ve been distorted and abused. I now know they represent absolutely wonderful concepts, but I didn’t always know that.

I used to think church was a building where we went to visit God once a week. But in the truest, biblical sense, church isn’t a place at all, but a people — a people called to sincerely and passionately seek to know God and make Him known. We are siblings in God’s family, journeying together on a shared path that will ultimately lead us to a glorious future together in the kingdom of our heavenly Father.

What’s a saint? I used to think a saint was a “super Christian” who’d been voted into God’s hall of fame. It’s not. Nor is it necessarily that sweet soul who brings you a chicken casserole when you’re sick or returns the wallet you dropped in the Walmart parking lot. No, according to the Bible, a saint is anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and follows him.

Saints are all those who’ve humbly held out their hands and received God’s gift of salvation — His offer to rescue us by Himself, for Himself, from an eternity in hell. Salvation isn’t something we earn by being good enough. It’s received only through faith in Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for the sins that separated us from God.

For some, “getting saved” conjures up images of revival services, altar calls and 15 stanzas of “Just As I Am.” That may be some people’s experience, which is fine, but I received salvation one night on a quiet beach in Pensacola, Florida. Just me and God under all the stars He made.

The moment we’re saved, we’re declared holy and righteous by God. The literal meaning of holy is “set apart,” which is what happens when we become Christ followers. Not because we perfectly follow a set of rigid rules, but because we forevermore belong to God. We’re His kids. And He sees us as righteous because Christ’s perfection has been credited to our accounts. We’re right with Him. Hallelujah and amen!

I sure don’t mind eliminating “quid pro quo” from my vocabulary, but I’m not going to let go of any words that help me understand God or the relationship He wants to have with me. As long as I have breath, I’ll thank God for His church, my salvation, and the fact that He calls me a saint and sees me as His holy, righteous child.

In the end, God’s words, and especially His Word that became flesh (John 1:14), Jesus Christ, are the words that matter most.

Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!” She can be reached at maryanncrum@gmail.com