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3 Ways to Deal with Political Correctness

3 Ways to Deal with Political Correctness

 

Political correctness is driving many people crazy. Worse than that, it’s limiting our ability to speak freely about things that really matter. So, what does an effective Christian response to political correctness look like?

I recently watched an incredibly insightful video about the rampant problem of political correctness by, none other, than British comedian John Cleese. In my view it really hits the nail on the head, so I thought I would share it with you (it’s well worth a watch):


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At the heart of what he’s saying is that whilst, yes, it’s quite obviously a very good idea not to be deliberately mean or vindictive toward other people (particularly those who aren’t able to look after themselves), the notion that we should have to tiptoe through the minefield of people’s over-sensitivity, hoping that we won’t step on something that will explode, is a very bad one.

He quotes renowned psychiatrist Robbie Skinner, who said that “People who can’t control their own emotions have to control other people’s behaviour”. And, at its heart, that’s exactly what political correctness is.

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Let’s Face It – Christianity is Offensive

We seem to think that the fact that a Christian worldview has become something of a societal pariah, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Not so.

What Jesus said and did was so incredibly offensive to the power-brokers of His day, that they had Him nailed to a cross for it. And remember what Jesus said …

‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:20,21)

So let’s not be surprised, or indeed offended, when people shout us down, invoking stereotypes like “narrow-minded”, “bigot”, “fundamentalist”, “conservative” … simply because we hold and express views contrary to theirs.

There’s nothing new in any of that at all. The question is simply, how do we respond?

Here are three ways that you can choose to respond:

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1. Speak the Truth with Love and Gentleness

Some Christians seem to believe that we’re in a tribal war against secularism and its views. They think that our team has to win and the only way to do that is to beat the other team.

Of course, historically, that approach has led to conflict, to wars … to all sorts of atrocities. Yet still, I read and hear so many hateful things espoused by Christians. In my view, they’re a bit like Peter the Apostle, who, when Jesus was threatened in Gethsemane, drew his sword and sliced the ear off one of the aggressors. (John 18:1-11) But that wasn’t how Jesus would have him respond.

So often, it’s not so much what we say, but how we say it:

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

Ultimately the truth resonates with people. It just does. But not when they’re gagging on it as we shove it down their throats. There is an incredible power in quietly, gently, lovingly, respectfully speaking the truth and explaining the reason for the hope that is in us.

Remember, all too often, it’s not what we say, it’s how we say it.

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2. Speak the Truth with Wisdom

Let’s face it, people in the world who are pushing their particular agendas – whether it be the “pro-choice” lobby, the LGTB community, political forces of any and every colour and hue, businesses, unions …. on and on … they all have agendas that they’re pushing and outcomes that they want. So by and large, they’re excellent at framing their arguments, playing the media and executing their tactics.

In response, I’ve seen Christians say some incredibly stupid things – sorry, but it’s true. The church (and her leaders) don’t seem all that good at framing the truth in a way that resonates with the average punter on the street.

Sometimes, it’s time to say nothing. Jesus made that point:

Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you. (Matthew 7:6)

Is He calling people who disagree with Him swine and dogs? No – it was simply a common form of expression in His day … but you get the point. Sometimes, people aren’t ready for the truth and as is often the case in life, timing is everything.

But other times, it’s a different problem altogether:

See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

It’s a dangerous world out there and whilst, yes, we need to act with gentleness, kindness and love, we also need to be wise in how and when we speak (and act) to mediate God’s truth into the lives of those around us.

I heard a prominent Christian leader recently draw parallels between the LGTB’s “political correctness” and Nazism. The point that he was trying to make, was that the LGTB agenda was to close down freedom of speech, much as Nazism had done in the lead up to WWII.  But of course, blind Freddy could have seen that his opponents would twist his meaning (which they did) to decry him invoking the Holocaust in such a way.

So, it was an unwise choice, even if his point was technically the right one.

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3. Be Prepared to Suffer Harm and Loss

Let’s go back to that story of Peter and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter thought it was about winning the battle, so he drew his sword. But Jesus didn’t come to win the battle – He came to win the lost. That’s why He went to the Cross, when human wisdom would have had Him avoiding it.

And in the same way, look at what He said to His disciples, following hard on the heels of the swine and dogs metaphor:

Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:17-23)

His point to them? His point to you and me?

You will be persecuted. You will suffer harm and loss for my sake. That’s par for the course.

So … go and speak the truth with love, gentleness, respect and wisdom anyway. Don’t be silenced when the try to shout you down and close you down and run you out of town. That’s just what’s going to happen.

Love them anyway. Share the truth with them anyway. For Christ’s sake.

 


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18 Comments

  1. Hi Berni,
    you never cease to amaze me with your messages and blogs at just the right time when I need them.
    God Bless you.
    Di J.

    • I suspect it’s a Holy Spirit thing Di. 🙂 -Berni

  2. Awesome Word Berni!!! Praise the Lord!! Im learning more everyday even this internet also..lol. Glory to God…

  3. Dear Bernie, I am so honored to know a Christian who speaks Christ’s truths so eloquently and precisely. I am an American living in Australia and am nourished by today’s post,
    especially after our horrific mass shooting.. Thank you for the work you do and the truths you share.
    Grace

  4. Hi Bernie, Thanks for your guidance and challenging thoughts. I feel there is a great tension between interpreting Jesus’ words to suite the occasion. That part of (Matthew 10:16 “so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”) is so important. As well as the time to be gentle, there is a time to be stronger. No more than now when I feel the Church in the West has stood by silently, while our Christian brothers and sisters have been murdered, raped and driven out of so many Countries in the Middle East. We need to be praying for them every day, lobbying our Governments to intervene and rescue them. At the same time smothering the whole area (particularly the Middle East and Europe) with Bibles, both hard copies and digital, plus strongly financially supporting Christianity Today and all Christian organizations spreading the Gospel. So that everyone has an opportunity to know the TRUTH and the Truth will set them free

  5. Hi Berni, interesting blog and video. Very thought provoking. I think for example with the LGTB community what we are doing isn’t working. We’re just being hated and called fundamentalist bigots. I believe their agenda comes from a place of woundedness and in some cases they have been hated in churches and not been able to sit in churches to get to know the love of God for them but instead have been asked to leave. Is it any wonder we are reaping hatred anger and bitterness from them and an agenda to shut us Christians up? I know a lot of Christians are loving towards the LGTB community and have shown them love but many have not and they feel we are against them. No wonder they are striking out? All the same I agree Christians should be free to not hold wedding ceremonies for LGTB community if it goes against their belief but I believe it’s important to see how we can serve the LGTB community and show them they’re loved – we can still gently and it needs to be gently because of the negative experience many have with the church – tell them the truth in love so they can be whole and thriving and come to know Jesus. I guess I believe some people are very sensitive as Jon Cleese says and it seems impossible to say anything negative against them but I think we need to look at why this is and accommodate them.

    • Andrea
      While I agree with you that we should not be judgemental of in this instance homosexuals and that we should love them as we should all of our fellow men, women and children, it is up to homosexuals to find their own path in life, just as it is important that I find my own way in this life with all of lives difficulties that have in the past and still do to this day confront me, I get my determination and confidence through my love of God and Jesus that sustains me through adversity, I don’t agree with the practice of homosexuality but I do know that practicing homosexuals are people and that I must not be judgemental off my fellow man, it is not up to me to understand or agree with their practices, it is their choice. If they have faith in God and Jesus then they, like I will have a better chance of overcoming our adversities in life, knowing that we are being guided along the right path.

  6. I agree, Bernie. People can only understand God’s truth when they have the Holy Spirit in their hearts. So may Christ in us as the hope of Glory (Col 1,27) convey His love and heart to those who have not yet had Him reveiled to their hearts!

  7. Bernie I have a belief in Jesus so strong that no amount of discouraging comments aimed personally at me when I mention the name of Jesus will ever dissuade me from following him.
    In many discussions that I have with others regarding my beliefs, the moment I mention Jesus I get negative comments back such as, “Religion is all rubbish” “no such person as Jesus” “why all the suffering in this world” and many other negatives, In their condemnation they restrict freedom of speech, they don’t want to listen, they make the comments that all religions are false and that is obviously how the politically correct doctrine is being prosecuted throughout society, we are being socially engineered, you see it in government, in universities, in schools etc, not only in Australia but in many other countries.
    This social engineering philosophy and attitude is going to continue, it’s a bit like we are being persecuted because we don’t fit their norm.
    We have to stay strong in our belief in Jesus and our creator God. To achieve this strength I personally remind myself of various Bible quotes such as “Let us not grow weary from doing what is right. For we will reap at harvest time if we do not give up” (Galations 6:9) and “Fear of man will proof to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe” (proverbs 29:25)
    and “Be very careful then how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the lords will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17) There are many other extracts from the Bible that each day I use to strengthen my resolve to stay focused on what I believe in and not to become weak and overcome by what the socially engineering and politically correct masses would have me believe.

  8. What has political correctness ever stopped you, personally, saying?
    Think long and hard and you will find it has never done so.
    If it ever has, would you have been prepared to wear a shirt with whatever it was, to your local mall?
    If not, why not?

  9. Good stuff Bernie. Political correctness has taken free speech off the agenda in many places and allowed the devil open slather across Western society.

  10. When I was at Bible College one of my teachers said “Non-Christians will always behave like non-Christians, so don’t expect them to act as though the Holy Spirit is within them.” That was life changing for me because I was able to step away and have compassion on non-believers – after all they did not have Jesus and I did. Now I look through that message whenever I’m in the company of non-Christians or if I’m abused by them (which happens some weekends after my blog devotional).

  11. Very insightful and helpful Bernie. I just hope and pray that our brethren take note and speak out of love with words of wisdom. I thought John Cleese was brilliant as well. Bless you Bernie and keep up the good word.

    • Yep – I’ve always thought he’s a good supporting act! 😉

  12. Thanks Bernie for reminding us that persecution and being hated as Jesus was is par for the Christian course! The main danger we face is NOT speaking out and not living a life that will force the question “What is the reason for your hope in Christ?” An answer to that will often bring an accusation from our hearer like “Stop shouting at me!” When we have been whispering the Gospel message to them. I once took an unbelieving family member to hear a sermon and as we left she aggressively said “How dare you tell that preacher all about me!” I replied “I’ve never met or spoken to him, you just heard from the Holy Spirit!” We don’t need to “worry about how we speak or what we are to say for what we are to say will be given to us at that time, for it is not we who speak but the Spirit of our Father speaking through us.” The Accuser of the Brethren will always accuse us of doing it in the wrong spirit but we must believe we did it in God’s Spirit and let Satan’s accusations be like “water off a duck’s back!

    • Thanks Graham. Yep I remember when the Holy Spirit first started convicting me, He made me feel pretty uncomfortable too. That’s why we should never shy away from speaking the truth in love. Where would I be if the Christians around me back then (whom I detested because of their faith) hadn’t done that for me?!

  13. So helpful, just at this time. Thank you . . .

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