Well, I rebuilt the templates to add my little “brain dump” graphic, and to my embarrassment, that meant the main page would be empty (since I haven’t posted since February). So I might as well post something now so there’s something on this page.
I was asked by a friend to teach our Sunday School class at church this Sunday, and interestingly enough, the topic is favoritism and partiality in the church. The passage in question is James 2:1-13, a rather difficult passage to swallow from a controversial and difficult book to interpret (James). In the passage, James confronts his readers about an apparent incident of favoritism shown by some members of the church toward the rich, at the expense of meeting the needs of the poor. The Sunday School lesson goes into this analysis in depth, noting that Christians should not show partiality toward anyone, regardless of affluence, appearance, race, ethnicity, nationality, or any other grouping that man can improvise. Favoritism and partiality should be considered a sin, a direct violation of Jesus’ “second greatest commandment” to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In the teacher’s study materials, the author of the lesson made the following statement: “God makes a distinction between His attitude toward sin and His attitude toward sinners, and between the law that condemns and the grace that converts.” This little gem of wisdom is often quoted by Christians as “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” a tidy little reminder that God loves each and every one of us, but that it is our rebellion against Him (our sin) that separates us and condemns us in His eyes (see Romans 3:23). Thus, if Christians are to strive to be like Christ, then we too should hate the sin but love the sinner, and by doing open our hearts, lives, and resources to help those around us impartially.
While this is a wonderful little lesson in and of itself (and ties in very nicely with my recent “Providence” story in GPF), it suddenly occurred to me exactly why I loathe the term “politically correct” so much. I’ve had many people argue with me that political correctness is a good thing, and that even Christians, when they apply the principles I mentioned above, uplift the practice. But thanks to this lesson, I can now put into words what that distinction really is.
You see, political correctness is just what its name implies: the “correct” way of doing things given the current political climate. It’s enforced by society, by those who don’t wish to step on toes and inadvertently offend someone. If you are not politically correct, you are branded as an insensitive bigot; it is reinforced by shame and the fear of becoming a social pariah. Respect is required, not earned, but at the same time may only be skin deep.
To me, there’s a strong separation between God’s (and by token, a Christian’s) impartial love for mankind and a mandate from some group such as the NAACP or ACLU to restrict what someone says. God is the ultimate example of impartiality. God cannot tolerate sin, yet mankind is inherently sinful (a fact that is directly contrary toward contemporary thinking). Thus, mankind has been condemned because of its sinfulness, but God, in His impartial love for all mankind–a deep, heartfelt love, not convenient lip-service–sent Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice to give us a way to escape this condemnation. (See John 3:16-18.)
Of course, I know a lot of my non-Christian readers out there wouldn’t agree with this logic, but that’s the way I see it. (For that, I take solace in I Corinthians 1:26-29.) I still can’t stand the term “political correctness,” nor the stigma (in my mind) that it implies. But you know, while God isn’t very “politically correct,” He sure is better at it than anyone else on earth is.