“Goblin Mode”: A New Term for an Old Bad Habit
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

Every year the Oxford Dictionary editors consider what new words ought to be added to their dictionary. This year 300,000 people voted to choose the new word, and “goblin mode” won by 97% of the votes. Oxford defines it: “A neologism for the rejection of societal expectations and the act of living in an unkempt, hedonistic manner without concern for one’s self-image.”

Dictionary.com defines it more explicitly: “A slang term for a way of behaving that intentionally and shamelessly gives in to and indulges in base habits and activities without regard for adhering to social norms or expectations.” One psychologist burbled over the choice: “Now, at last, people can find self-acceptance and enjoy who they truly are.”

But my heart trembles for those who choose such a debased lifestyle. Don’t misunderstand—we ought not let others’ opinions define who we are. Our sense of identity, our value, must come from the One who created us to live with Him in joy forever. If you choose the goblin mode, live only to satisfy your fleshly desires, ignore everyone else and their needs, if you live in depravity, you will experience terrible consequences. You will die lonely, addicted, unloved, and face eternity without God.

Actually, there’s nothing new about goblin mode thinking. It’s as old as the day in the Garden of Eden when the malicious Serpent asked Eve, “Did God really tell you not to eat this beautiful fruit that will be so good for you? He must not love you very much.”

A man named Titus, in the Bible, had a congregation that seemed to be leaning toward a goblin mode lifestyle. His friend, the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote to him: “Remind your people to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not speak evil of anyone, and they must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone” (Titus 3:1,2). That’s the opposite of goblin mode thinking, isn’t it? — especially when you realize that wicked Nero was the head of the government they were commanded to obey.
You understand, don’t you, that this is a temptation all of us have faced? Paul continues,

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient.
We were misled by others and
became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures.
Our lives were full of evil and envy.
We hated others, and they hated us. Titus 3:3

One of the terrible dangers of the goblin mode life-style is that sin enslaves you and robs you of the ability to choose to do right. Thank God, there is an answer! The Apostle Paul continues:

But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love.
He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy.
He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4,5

Goblin mode sounds like freedom, the freedom to be your own boss, never to have to meet anyone else’s expectations, to enjoy any physical excess that appeals at the moment, never to inconvenience yourself with the needs of others. But it is deadly bondage. Thank God for the freedom that comes with submitting to the will of the God who has already proved His love, His wisdom, and His power to do us eternal good. Now that is true, real freedom!