POLITICALLY CORRECT

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” – George Orwell

Can anything “political” be considered correct? Supposedly, politically correct speech attempts to be nice, neutral, and non-offensive, but in reality, this is an impossibility. Just take a look at Jesus. He was the most caring, compassionate, and helpful person who ever walked and talked, and certain people still hated Him enough to beat Him ruthlessly, mock Him relentlessly, and then murder Him on a Roman cross. No, people are not neutral over important or even unimportant issues. People have real opinions and it is imperative to know what they are. So instead of trying to be politically correct, how about this: 

…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,   Ephesians 4:15 

Political correctness attempts to conceal the truth and coerce its listeners. It is interested in giving an image, gaining supporters, and getting votes. In doing this, political correctness does not present a neutral position, but a neutered one. It is both impotent and irrelevant since it won’t commit to anything. Sure, there are times when the truth can hurt, but as Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho said: “Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile.” 

Speaking the truth in love focuses on enhancing trust, edifying relationships, and encouraging dialog. It places a priority upon protecting the character of others, not silencing the opposition. Speaking the truth in love emphasizes communicating in a way that is not boastful, proud, nor rude, and it is also quite simple to do.

“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”  Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe

So how about we put an end to all this patronizing and placating one another with political correctness – which isn’t correct at all – and commit to doing as Great Grandpa reminded us to do, “Always speak the truth but don’t always speak.”

 

OPINIONS MATTER

There is a barrage of opinions being aired everyday about everything and this is good. Everyone is entitled to both have and to voice their own opinion about the various issues, items, and happenings going on, and everybody’s opinion is a valid one. Some opinions are right, some are wrong, and some are totally irrelevant, but still, opinions do matter. Differing opinions are not a problem, people should have different opinions about various matters because we are different – we have different needs, we have had different upbringings and experiences, and we view the world in different ways. Differing opinions drive people to talk, to test, and to try new approaches.

Yet few things in life are worse than having an opinion without knowing why you have it.

Problems arise from people without their own opinions who attempt to silence those opinions which oppose theirs. These people can provide no reason of their own for supporting the opinions they have adopted because their opinions belong to somebody else, i.e., they have an opinion without knowing why they have it.

Thus, these people are threatened because they know they cannot accurately explain or defend their opinion, since they have never really thought it through, so they resort to using force, generating fear, employing terror, and/or playing the role of the victim to accuse those who differ in opinion as being haters.

Really? Because I have a different opinion about a matter means that I hate? How and why can I hate people I don’t even know?

GOD-FEARERS & FOOLS

The wisest and richest human being who ever walked this earth, King Solomon of Israel, said these things:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.   Ecclesiastes 12:13

King Solomon’s father, King David, who is known as “a man after GOD’s own heart” and also a great leader and warrior, said this:

Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.” They sin and commit evil deeds; none of them does what is right.   Psalm 14:1

Thus, human beings who inhabit our planet can be broken down into pretty simple groups: We have males and females, and we have GOD-Fearers and Fools. The differences between males and females used to be as obvious and basic as anything can ever be, but even now that is being dissected, debated, and determined by high courts and science laboratories. So this post will focus on the main differences between GOD-Fearers and Fools:

  • GOD-Fearers acknowledge GOD as GOD and His Word (The Bible) as truth. They proclaim that He is the One, True, Triune GOD who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer of life.
  • Fools make up a god of their own by forming an image, fabricating a notion, or formulating a scheme within their own imagination.
  • GOD-Fearers attribute all that is good, right, beautiful, and true to GOD.
  • Fools give credit to Mother Nature, Father Time, Lady Luck, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy – just to name a few.
  • GOD-Fearers admit dependence upon GOD, openly surrender control to Him, and yield their free will to His will.
  • Fools boast of their independence, strive for power, and force their will upon others.
  • GOD-Fearers accept that GOD is sovereign in all matters – the good, bad, and ugly, as well as life and death. They allow and invite GOD to work through all things for their good and His glory whether or not they agree with or understand why.
  • Fools panic, complain, and attempt to control and manipulate situations and circumstances in order to “fix” things and “avoid” all pain and strain, so they forfeit their opportunities to grow and develop through such happenings.
  • GOD-Fearers worship GOD. They give Him thanks and praise for who He is and for what He does.
  • Fools worship and praise the things GOD created – nature; people who are popular, powerful, and peculiar; and themselves.

So what group are you in – GOD-Fearers or Fools?

GREATNESS

About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  Matthew 18:1 

It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request. “What do you want?” Jesus asked.  She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.”   Matthew 20:20-21

 

James and John wanted greatness for themselves. Their mother wanted it for them (and herself) as well. Jesus’ followers today are no different either. We all seek greatness for ourselves. We want respect and recognition, along with a little applause. But Jesus was (and still is) seeking a different type of greatnessgreatness for His Father, not Himself. It is greatness defined in an entirely different way.

 

“I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is great than John. Yet even the most insignificant person in the Kingdom of GOD is greater than he is!”  Luke 6:28

 

Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two pennies. “I assure you, He said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”  Luke 21:2-4

 

Both John the Baptist and the Widow would not be considered to be great people in our society. They were poor in worldly goods, but very rich in godliness, and that is what made them great. Our culture, and our Church, has a flawed foundational problem in how we define greatness. We think great people are those who hold prominent positions, draw large crowds, write best-selling books, give big donations, get their faces on magazine covers and silver screens, and win the most championships. Thus, our thinking is the problem, and we need to repent (change it) in regards to what greatness really is. We need to turn around and reform our attitudes and actions.

True greatness is not a place of affluence, accomplishment, or advantage. It is not a matter of getting the most, gaining the most, nor grabbing the most. Greatness is associated with sacrificing for, sharing with, and serving others. It is demonstrated by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness – all traits of Jesus (Colossians 3:12-13). Jesus was also characterized by His meekness, which was mistakenly confused as weakness. But meekness is far from weakness. Meekness is confident, certain, assertive, gentle, humble, powerful control. Meekness doesn’t have to talk or act big, since it has nothing to fear or prove.

Few people thought of greatness when they saw Jesus two thousand plus years ago, and few people think of greatness concerning Him now. That’s because He spent His time touching lepers, healing the disabled, caring for the troubled, encouraging the outcasts, hugging the children, and spreading the GOOD NEWS message of His salvation – all the stuff that we don’t like to do. For we really don’t like Jesus stuff, and we don’t value the people He spent His time serving or spreading the Message He shared.

We don’t even go near the diseased – let alone touch them.

We don’t associate with people who are disabled.

We don’t have time for little kids.

We don’t interact with homeless people.

We don’t inconvenience ourselves by caring for orphans and widows.

 

While we try to flaunt, force, and finagle greatness, Jesus’ example is serving greatness.

 

So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”  Matthew 20:25-28 

 

In light of Jesus’ perfect example, true greatness seems to be this: willingly and cheerfully looking for opportunities to do the dirty work of sacrificing for, sharing with, and serving those in our society who have been labeled as problems, defined as troubled, and viewed as unnecessary – and do this for the honor, praise, and glory of our Father in Heaven.

 

May you and I strive for greatness today and everyday!

PEACE & HARMONY

I often wonder about the various countries and people groups who live in the Middle East and think: “What’s their deal anyway?”  “Why can’t these people find a way to get along with each other?” “How long are they going to keep this up and continue killing each other and destroying their lands?

Then I look at the Church. Not any particular local congregation, but the universal Church on earth. I believe it is fair to say that nothing on our planet is more conflicted, confusing, and combative; more divided, dissonant, and denominated than the Church.

What happened? Why is the Church like this? How did so many different synods, sects, classis’, cults, bodies, branches, orders, and movements come about and muddy up the simple GOOD NEWS message?

 

For Jesus said:

I’m praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind – just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are – I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me.    John 17:20-23 (The Message)

 

Paul wrote:

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?    1 Corinthians 1:11-13 (NIV)

 

The GOOD NEWS message is clear… JESUS died on the cross and rose from the dead. 

The GOOD NEWS message is compelling… Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and you will be saved! 

The GOOD NEWS message is complete… JESUS SAVES!

 

So how did the Church ever get so separated over JESUS?

So why hasn’t the Church listened to JESUS and become one in heart and mind?

So what is the Church going to do about it now?

 

This godless world is waiting for its witness.

HERE, not THERE

Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion.

Isaiah 8:18

 I don’t want to split hairs here, but here is a little issue that I think is worth mentioning. Almost daily, I read and hear references to GOD as “He is there” and “He will always be there for you.” So I say to myself, “where is there?”

When it comes to GOD, there is no there, but only here.

The Son radiates GOD’s own glory and expresses the very character of GOD, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command.

Hebrews 1:3a

Our Creator and Sustainer is forever here.

Immanuel, GOD with us, is here with me, here with you, here with all people in all places right now.

GOD has been here, always will be here.  Here as Alpha. Here as Omega.

Here at the beginning; Here at the ending; Here through the in-betweens.

From here on out, try to catch and correct yourself and others, and always refer to GOD as being here with us, here with them…here, here!