Look…that person said something wrong! See that person! I am offended! What are you going to do about it? For time immemorial everything anyone has ever said has likely offended someone who is seeking to find fault.
Just today, as I read the news, there was a story about a deaf couple who lost their luggage and when it was returned there was a staff to staff note that had been left on the luggage that read, “deaf and dumb USE TEXT.” The couple were greatly offended by this and are demanding an apology from the airlines. They wanted the people fired and reprimanded.
In today’s world, businesses are trying to hire people to do tasks like handle luggage. They don’t have college degrees. They come from different cultures and disciplines. They may have limited English. Do we hire people who may see it differently or do we keep the welfare rolls high because people should not be allowed to work who do not express things the way we want them expressed?
There used to be an old expression when we were kids, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” In today’s PC climate every word is measured in order that we can find the greatest leverage for law suits due to slander, and other issues that offend us. People who don’t agree with gay marriage are called homophobes. People who are Christians are thought to be anti-semitic. If people comment on any minority group, they are racially bigoted except when the comment is made about white people. Where does it stop? Where there are people, there is always prejudice because prejudice feeds off of personal assumptions, reasoning, opinion, and likes as well as dislikes within the hearts of individuals.
I know how this might hurt the feelings of people, but limitations come in many different forms. The deaf couple who lost their luggage are on one side of being challenged, but there are others on the other side that might be just as challenged with writing or language. Why in the world is this national news?
We all want to be treated right and respected by others. We never want the human systems of service to fail us, but they do. A Jewish person was beat up in Paris this week. The stories coming out of the White House and the Vatican showed different views from the same meeting between President Obama and the Pope. Who is right and who is wrong? It remains that we live in an imperfect world. Beneath the surface of the individual and national mask we put on everyday in order to please all those in our sphere of influence, there is a world of dysfunction. The potential for destabilization which increases the potential for chaos becomes a great concern for the future. Sometimes when a microphone is left open or a cell phone captures a moment of revelation, the real person and true position of the politician shows through.
As far as Christians are concerned there is a public demand to water down convictions related to following the divine principles of the Bible in order to please the world. Jesus, in outlining His ministry to His disciples on the Sermon on the Mount, says this: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12 (emphasis is mine)
There are several keys in that couple of verses. The first is, “because of me.” Most people are insulted because of what you say that is related to Jesus Christ. I’m a Christian. Oh really, then you must be against Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, and a long list of never ending issues. People immediately say that you are judging their world. In the same breath they are judging you for believing that the world needs a Savior.
People’s perceptions of Christians are so wildly varied that they would make a rainbow look bland. In order to understand “because of me” you need to know what the Bible says about Jesus Christ. The first step to understanding is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you do not know Him you cannot discern the spiritual base from which Christianity works.
People began calling people Christians because they had given their lives to a process of seeking a path of holiness built on principles taught by Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “You are in the world but not of this world.” John 16. That has no meaning apart from the relationship one has in Christ.
The second key in this passage is “in the same way they persecuted the prophets.” Down through the ages God moved through the lives of prophets. Before there were books in print, principles of truth were taught orally and passed on from generation to generation,
Prophets not only foretold things that were to come but “forth-told” what God’s direction for people should be. The prophets called out kings and chieftains alike. They often presented scenarios in dramatic fashion in order to get the attention of the people and make the point of their message.
There is the example of Elijah and of Ezekiel. Prophets were notorious for messing up the individual plans of kings and paupers alike. It seems to me that they had larger than life courage in confronting the problems of the day. So as the Matthew text says “in the same way” we will be confronted today as we try to get the attention of the masses living out the message that Christ has placed in our hearts. If you are a Christian living out the Christian message, you will be persecuted for Christ’s sake and shunned by the world systems.
The world is in full attack mode. Secularists, as well as many others, are like nervous hunters in the dark. They shoot at anything that moves because they are self protecting as well as out of ideas related to how to bring peace to the world. They fail to see that the greatest crisis in the world is the problem with the human heart. Shakespeare once wrote, “The evil that men do live after them; but the good is oft interred in their bones.” Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 2 – William Shakespeare
It seems that saying something right and politically correct gets no traction in life. Only when you say something that tweaks the ire of someone who is on edge, and not secure in their own skin, does it get the notice of the news and public attention. Political correctness is often demanded by those who have no platform outside their own self interest.
Where do we go from here? We must give attention to addressing what is right. We must be committed to live by principles of truth no matter what the cost. Whether we speak through our actions or our words, we must be dependable and responsible in negotiating truth in a world that is fraught with political expediency and situation ethics.
When Jesus was brought before Pilate and questioned, Pilate’s answer to the charges against Christ was,“I find no fault in Him.” That did not keep Christ from the cross or from the pain He had to endure as an agent of truth. In the end He and He alone became the most sufficient sacrifice to redeem human kind and set him free from the laws of sin and death.