Lately I’ve been feeling a tug somewhere deep within me. Really, it’s more than a tug and I’ve been feeling it for a while now.
It was subtle, almost imperceptible at first. Yet the pull between worshipping God or worshipping the god of political correctness has become more critical and demanding, bringing with it both conviction and consequences.
I have been a Christ follower since the age of thirteen. My faith has been my foundation and guiding force in life. It informs everything I do —every conversation, every choice, relationship, interaction. My faith has always taught me to be respectful, kind, compassionate…as Jesus was.
So when the media began encouraging us to watch our words, to be “non-offensive,” I eagerly obliged. No problem. The rhetoric appeared very much in line with my values as a Believer.
They called it “political correctness,” a term adopted in the late 1970’s by feminists and progressives, “ironically, as a guard against their own orthodoxy in social change efforts.” Though it wasn’t used frequently until the latter part of the 20th century, the term has come to communicate a stronger social disapproval in more recent years than it did in its infancy.
It seemed benign. Political correctness is defined in modern usage as, language, policies, or measures which are intended not to offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society. That sounds great, right? Who wants to offend or disadvantage?
With this new term came a new set of speech codes researched by University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors and lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate that, mandate a redefined notion of ‘freedom,’ based on the belief that the imposition of a moral agenda on a community is ‘justified’, a view which, requires less emphasis on individual rights and more on assuring ‘historically oppressed’ persons the means of achieving equal rights.
The Subtle Surrender
So little by little, like the slow drip of a faucet, we were instructed by political and/or cultural forces on the areas we, the general public, were disrespecting or “offending” an individual or group. Whether it was through the names we used to identify ethnicities or groups of people, or whether it was in the laws passed to protect disadvantaged groups, we quietly acquiesced. No sense in making a big fuss, we thought.
When the elimination of God in our schools, communities, or public squares began and the ACLU began filing lawsuits at every statue, monument, or prayer in order not to offend anyone, we became slightly uncomfortable. We consoled ourselves with the notion that our values and beliefs were the foundation of our country and would surely never be dismantled. Why fight back? That’s not the “Christian” way. God is in control anyway, we quietly repeated.
Inside, I felt the pull. The pull between my faith and this new faith, this new religion. Religion, according to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary is defined as, A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
Political correctness has become the religion of the 21st century. Its system of attitudes and practices, worshipped with as much devotion as any traditional religion, has transformed the landscape of American culture and infiltrated every aspect of society.
Throughout the years what began as a program fostering respect has become anything but respectful. Somewhere along the way, encouragements have become commands, and the rhetoric every day appears less tolerant and inclusive, more demanding and punitive. The delineation between love and hate would seem crystallized around one’s agreement or disagreement with established, modern dogmas or theologies.
Don’t agree with their agenda? You will be immediately labeled and denounced. Want to live in a way that honors traditional values and beliefs? You might just lose your job, your business, and you may be targeted with ridicule and condemnation.
There is coming a day friends, perhaps it has already arrived, when we who identify as Believers will have to choose. We will no longer be able to straddle the fence, we won’t be able to find a comfortable spot in the warm shade of grey. For the grey areas of life are shrinking rapidly.
As I’ve contemplated the tug in my heart, the increasing and unrelenting pressure inside, I’ve recognized that it is shaking me out of any dull, comfortable slumber in which I had previously existed. It is forcing me to face myself, face my God, and define in the clearest, strongest fashion my ‘faith manifesto,’ —the who, the what, my life is going to stand and how I am going to engage all people in a way that is congruent with my beliefs and values, that is born from my deepest commitment to God.
The Way of Faith
So here it is – as perfectly imperfect, at times broken and unsteady as the journeyer writing this can be. Yet hopefully this will give clarity and wisdom to my steps and my words for the days that lie ahead.
1.I will passionately live out my faith. I will follow God alone. I will lay hold of and live out my beliefs and values not through the media, the persuasion of public opinion, or the fear of ridicule. I will define the principles by which I live through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, who is my Comforter, my Teacher, my Counselor, my Encourager, my Friend.
Scripture says, If you love me, keep my commands. Though I will be an imperfect warrior, a broken and flawed vessel, my heart is to seek Him, worship Him, and serve Him above all.
2. I will offer love. In the clinical world we use a term called ‘unconditional positive regard.’ What that means is that whoever walks through my door, wherever their background, whatever their color, conviction, or creed, I will show unconditional positive regard. I will see their humanity just as mine and will humbly and gratefully walk with them along their journey. The word ‘love’ means, a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion; and unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.
John 13:34 (NIV) says, A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:35 (NIV,) By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35 (NIV,) By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.Click To Tweet
3. I will be a safe place. I don’t need everyone to agree with me. I am free to hold and live out my values and beliefs while being close to someone who may or may not be just like me. I don’t need others to validate my identity, spiritual or emotional. I don’t need others to make it ‘safe’ for me or my views, and still, as a consequence of my safety, I can offer safety to those with whom I am in relationship.
Scripture says, It is His lovingkindness that leads to repentance. In the counseling office, no one experiences transformation in a hostile, unsafe environment. It is the essence of safety that allows individuals to open themselves, their deepest wounds, and experience insight, light, and life.
4. I will show respect. Respect is, an act of giving particular attention: consideration; high or special regard: esteem; the quality or state of being esteemed. Respect simply means I show others consideration, esteem, kindness. Respect is not offered as a reward for respect shown to me. I do my best to respect others because that is who I am. Christ-followers should be the model for transformed lives.
I Peter 2:17 encourages us to, Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. The second commandment from Mark 12:31(NIV) says that we are to, love our neighbor as our self. Be with your neighbor. Don’t isolate from them. Consider them. Help them. Respect them. Love them.
5. I will not judge the person. We were all created in the image of God. We are each wholly and divinely loved by God. Our worth was settled at our creation. In judging another’s character, value, or inherent worth, I judge and condemn my own. I will do my best to show honor and respect to others, whether I agree with them or not, whether they judge me or not.
Matt 7:1-2 (NIV) tells us, Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
6. I will judge behaviors. We all judge behaviors. It seems that a convenient and powerful tool of the PC culture has been to quote Matthew 7:1 that we should, judge not lest we be judged. Unfortunately, many who don’t fully understand Scripture remain silenced and/or sidelined by that passage. Scripture is clear that we should not judge (condemn the worth, value, or character of) another individual. And Scripture is equally clear that we as Believers should judge (discern, declare, assess) that which is right or wrong, that we are to distinguish between that which is righteous and congruent with the Word of God, and that which is in error or rebellion to God.
YES, we are to judge – the behavior, not the person. I will never call sin un-sin. I will never, whether mine or another’s, applaud the willful rejection of that which is true, noble, and of good report. I will never call wrong right. I cannot.
John 7:24 (ESV) offers, Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
Colossians 1:9(NIV) shares, For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.
Amos 5:14-15 tells us to, Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV) states that we should, Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Ephesians 4:15 (NIV) offers, Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Worshipping the god of political correctness is dangerous precisely because there is no concrete declaration of what their mission looks like in its entirety or when it will be accomplished. It is ever-evolving, always changing. PC will simply demand a little more, and a little more, until there are no moral absolutes, no sin, no aberrant, no abnormal, where there is no need for God, no need for redemption, no need for a Savior.
Matthew 6:24a (NIV) says, No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Whom will you choose to worship? When it comes down to it, will you choose to worship Yahweh or the god of this age.
Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His truth doesn’t bend or pretend based on popularity or fame. It doesn’t cater to, nor does it sanctify tickling rhetoric or political agendas just to be en vogue. God is love, yet He is at the same time holy, righteous, and just. He is beautiful and unequalled. He has made a way for each of us to escape the consequence of our broken, sinful nature —His name is Jesus. He died for you and me. He can heal the deepest heartaches and mend our broken, wayward ways. He is good and yes, He is God.
Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Click To Tweet
The Good News
We have a choice and an opportunity. The good news is that the more polarized society becomes, there is less room for a casual faith, less space for half-hearted sentiment or generic tradition. The good news is that anytime, any place we can claim our faith and begin to pursue a passionate journey with God.
The good news is that anytime, any place we can claim our faith and begin to pursue a passionate journey with God.Click To Tweet
Emotionally-abundant individuals know their spiritual and emotional identity and choose to live congruent with their beliefs and values. This gives strength, it provides meaning, it amplifies purpose. A “pick-and-choose faith” has no foundation and is destined for weakness and/or collapse.
As the tug between worshiping God or the god of political correctness becomes more uncomfortable and untenable, we have the opportunity to get off the sidelines of our faith. We can live out passionately a strong faith that embodies truth and love, is wrapped in compassion, respect, and kindness. True faith never advocates hatred- period.
Pastor Rick Warren beautifully summarizes this truth as he states,
Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
Have you felt the tug? How is God challenging you to a stronger faith?
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, coffee lover, and wife. My online community lisamurrayonline.com provides a compassionate place in the midst of the stresses and struggles of life. At heart, I am just a Southern girl who loves beautiful things, whether it is the beauty of words found in a deeply moving story, the beauty of a meal cooked with love, the beauty of a cup of coffee with a friend, or the beauty seen in far away landscapes and cultures. I have fallen passionately in love with the journey and believe it is among the most beautiful gifts to embrace and celebrate. While I grew up in the Florida sunshine, I live with my husband just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN.
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my new book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I’ve discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with herself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891