One Bad Thing and One Good Thing

Popular music stars for years have made big hits out of songs that yearn for sexual freedom and losing our inhibitions. It’s actually quite amusing. They sing about how much society represses them and keeps them from expressing their true selves. This is usually part of a provocative video or an outrageous stage performance (sometimes live) where they do things to make network censors (do those exist anymore?) wince. Nevertheless, the fans love it and buy more and more of whatever they’re selling.

It’s amazing. They complain lyrically about how they want sexual freedom, but hardly anyone actually complains about what they’re doing. We have become so used to it that no one is really surprised any more at what they say and do.

It’s an interesting fact that the History Channel loves to fixate on ancient aliens and Nazi conspiracies. In the same way, the music industry loves to sing about people who don’t approve of sexual freedom.

It all goes back to the fact that “being judgmental” is consider one of today’s biggest sins. It’s universally condemned like the Nazis.

It is a sin that virtually everyone agrees on. It is the sin of judmentalism.

“Judging” someone is a sin you simply cannot do in today’s libertine culture. Everyone wants to be free to follow their views and passions. You don’t like how I dress? Big deal. Get over it. You don’t like how I express myself in music and art? You must be a fascist, trying to burn books!

Many non-Christians bring this up in discussions with us Christians. The minute we start to say certain behavior is wrong, someone will tell us that we shouldn’t judge.  It is used frequently to try to silence us and put us down.

There is one bad thing and one good thing about this. First, the bad thing.

Many of us Christians have been beat down by our secular society. We have been beaten down to the point that we often believe what non-Christians say about Christianity. If someone says we are being judgmental, then we begin turning inward, thinking that this must be true. How could I have been so blind? How could I have been so insensitive? If I “judge” that something is a sin, then the people who do those things will not like me. I’ll lose my opportunity to witness to them. I could be ostracized and considered to be a narrow-minded Christian. I might even be considered a Bible thumper. Oh, the humanity!

Non-believers have used the ploy of pointing their fingers at us for thousands of years to try to get us to shut up. They accuse us of being unloving and not being compassionate. And the bad thing is that many of us believe their words. We can’t stand the possibility of being considered “judgmental”, which would make us “bad people”, so we cower. For many of us Christians, this is the end of the discussion. We go away and lick our wounds, hoping we will one day get the opportunity to talk to our non-Christian friends about Jesus again.

Instead, we should use the opportunity to discuss with them what the Bible really says. This is the good thing.

Virtually everyone will tell you that “you shouldn’t judge anyone”. However, most people have absolutely no clue why they believe this to be true. It begs the question of why it is wrong to judge. Who says it’s wrong to judge? Why is it wrong to judge? This is where the discussion becomes interesting.

Some people will point you to the Bible. Some of these will even try to paraphrase verses that talk about not judging. (“Don’t try to pull the plank out of someone else’s eye when you have one in your own eye”, or “The Bible says you shouldn’t judge.”) This is a actually good thing.

Why? Because it raises the question about why they would turn to the Bible for guidance. The next time a non-Christian friend brings this up, you should ask them why they agree with this part of Bible but not with the rest of the Bible.

While they are spitting out their tofu French fries trying to answer, you should say that you agree with them. You agree with what the Bible says about not judging others.

But then you should let the other shoe drop. Ask them if you can show them what the Bible says on this topic.

Turn to Matthew 5 and read verses 1-7 with them. Show them that the Bible does say that you should not judge someone else’s actions as sin … until you have dealt with the sin in your own life. The Bible doesn’t actually say you cannot judge what others do. It only says that you should deal with your own sin first before helping others with their sin. That’s perfectly reasonable and fair.

“Judging” is not about determining whether someone will go to hell or not. It’s about distinguishing between whether something is right and wrong. Everyone has to determine whether things are right and wrong. Heck, even people who don’t like judgmentalism believe there is right (not being judgmental) and wrong (being judgmental).

Christians can and should speak out about what is right and wrong. Jesus did this. Paul did this. The early Christians did this. They had to take a stand against things that were wrong and ultimately harmful to others. If we don’t speak out against things that are evil, we aren’t showing love to our neighbors.

This changes the whole conversation. It is no longer about you being judgmental. It is about what is right and what is wrong and why doing what is right is actually loving and good. And then you can ask them what they think is right and wrong… and why.

So, the next time someone tries to label you as “hateful” for having Christian values, you can try to lead them into this conversation. Hopefully, it will lead them deeper into their understanding of Christianity.

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The PC Flinch

One of the scariest things you can do today is to say something politically incorrect in an open setting. We have become so frightened of being called racist, sexist, or homophobe, that we run for the exit if anyone accuses us of uttering something along those lines.

Some time ago, I was in a team meeting at work where a female member of our team had mentioned that we hadn’t been hiring any more women for our team. We used to have several women on the team, but a number had departed, and we had been filling those positions with men. It was a fair observation. Fast forward a few months after than to another team meeting where our manager announced that we were now adding a new woman to our team. In response, I made the following unfortunate sarcastic comment: “Oh. Are we hiring women again?”

I say that it was “unfortunate” for two reasons. First, I intended it as humor, but no one laughed. I usually brought a joke or some humorous observation to every meeting. Absolutely no one laughed in response to that comment. I’m used to some jokes falling flat, but this one really missed the mark.

Second, you can probably already figure out that the primary reaction was a collective flinch. For a moment or so, no one said anything. Everyone was trying to determine whether I had something politically incorrect or not. I call that the “PC Flinch”. The PC Flinch is a phenomenon that happens whenever someone says something that might possibly be considered racist or sexist in a conversation with a group of people. It doesn’t mean the person has actually said something racist. It just means that they said some words that, when uttered in the same sentence with the name of a minority group, might be considered derogatory if taken out of context.

Being called “racist” or “sexist” (or even “homophobe” by some people) is considered a true evil by many people. You could be an adulterer, an abortionist, or even a user of illegal drugs, and most people wouldn’t care in our society. But if you are called “racist” or sexist, you risk being ostracized by everyone you know. You become the third rail that no one wants to touch.

In my own situation, the first person to react was my manager. He said that, during the next round of employee reviews, he would cite this event and recommend that I take a class about diversity and sensitivity training. I told everyone I was just making a sarcastic remark based on the fact that we had been hiring only men. It was actually a poke at the fact that we weren’t hiring women.

And if you heard what I actually said (“Oh. We’re now allowed to hire women?”), I never said we couldn’t or shouldn’t hire women, or that they were unworthy to be hired. I didn’t say I hated women. I was underscoring a problem that had been stated by one of our team members months ago.

No one came to my defense. Nevertheless, when I asked people about my comments after the meeting, they all told me they understood it to be sarcasm. Yet, no one wanted to acknowledge that during the meeting.

The same thing happened to a liberal, Kelly Osborne, on The View in the August 4 show. Kelly was talking about Donald Trump and said, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?”

And that’s when she got a taste of the PC Flinch.

Others on the show tried to correct what she had said, as if she didn’t mean to use those exact words. And Kelly herself began to realize what she had said and began to backtrack from it, very apologetically.

I think the vast majority of people realized she was trying to make a sarcastic remark about the fact that Donald Trump would probably hire Hispanics to do things he wouldn’t want to do and what would he do if they were no longer around. Some people thought Kelly was implying that all Hispanics clean other people’s toilets or that only Hispanics would do that job, which is absurd.

I must say that I enjoyed that bit of irony for a while: a liberal inadvertently caught in a net of political correctness. They go around telling everyone how racist they are, and yet they themselves can’t see that they fall into the same false definition of racism.

One of the big problems we have in our nation is the fact that no one ever is really sure what “racism” means. No doubt there are true racists – people who see other races as inferior and want to keep it that way. But today, we are told that so many small things that we do are racist. We may have no desire to put down an African American person or a woman, yet we are told that some small, indirect thing we do is actually a sign of flaming racism.

There are movements in history that started out trying to root out those who were not with the program. The really bad movements allowed that to grow fanatically until no one really knew who the traitors and turncoats really were. The only way to know was when someone began denouncing them. This happened with Communists, Nazis, and even the Inquisition. The fear of being wrong was so intense that no one really knew what the rules were, and everyone lived in fear of being denounced.

As a free society, we need to be careful about overstepping our reach and condemning for a misspoken word or misplaced phrase. If freedom of speech is to continue, we must stop intimidating everyone who simply wants to make a point.