Dramatic Expressions in Brazil

“The dewdrop fulfills the Lord’s will as much as the thunderstorm.” Anon

Recently I used this expression, “If you don’t have a dog, you hunt with a cat.” It referred to watering my garden when what was needed was a big rain. This Brazilian expression and many others are full of “spice and emotion” for they communicate so vividly. They picture a people with quick minds and a good bit of humour.

We might respond to a far-out story with “You’re kidding” while Brazilians might say, “Fala sério” which means, “You’ve got to be joking.” Those words have a funny tone to them where “I can’t believe it” is more factual.

I suppose there must be hundreds of saying but I’ll mention a few that I might have used.

“A grama é sempre mais verde do lado do vizinho-The grass is always greener on your neighbor’s yard.”

“Cada macaco no seu galho—Each monkey on its own branch.”

“Um gato escaldado tem medo de agua fria—A scalded cat is afraid of cold water.”

“Deus escreve por linhas tortas—God writes straight with twisted lines.”

“Esmola demais, o santo desconfia—Too many alms and the saint is suspicious.”

And since I’ve written a couple of books, “The Death of the Jaguar I & II,” I thought this one was good, “Não cutuque a onça com vara curta—Never poke a jaguar with a short stick.

And here are a few we ought to have in English: “Jogar o verde para colher maduro—Throw out (or offer) the green fruit and pick the ripe.” The real meaning is to say something you think is half-true so that another person tells you a secret.”

Or “Descascar o abacaxí—Peel the pineapple.” It means “To solve a tough problem.” That really makes sense for in Brazil when they say, “È um abacaxí” it means something is really a bad deal or a lemon.

How about this, “Quem não chora, não mama.” The one who doesn’t cry, doesn’t suckle.”

The Brazilians have an endless number of expressions that give a quick insight to a situation. The same goes for the Christian faith for some scripture verses summarize so well the salvation that Jesus offers. As a teen, when I was sensing the great weight of sin in my life, at a church camp hope came to me through this verse, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. I suppose I was no worse than most teens but I felt the wrath of God for my failure to live for Him. That verse gave me hope.

Then in Brazil there was a key verse that I am sure often came up in my preaching, “There is no other name under heaven by which we might be saved…” Acts 4:12. When we went to Brazil in 1955 faith often focused on other things than Jesus, the Saviour. That verse is needed worldwide to provide hope that goes beyond this life. I hope it has penetrated the Brazilian society–perhaps for some 24% of the people is now evangelical.

Then there is the verse in John 3:16 that summarizes much of the Bible. I don’t need to write it down for I suppose you may know it by heart. But here it is, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That truth gives insight and hope that goes beyond and above any saying , no matter the country or culture.

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