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When Biblical honesty offends

We are at a stage in society where trying to avoid saying something that offends has reached a point that now people get attacked for speaking the truth. Here are quotes that connected with me this week on the subject. “The two pillars of ‘political correctness’ are, a) willful ignorance b) a steadfast refusal to face the truth.” –George MacDonald. Let’s start with this premise, that when faith meets political correctness honesty is strangled.

Afflicted with honesty

In just a quick Bible search the word “truth” appears at least 270 times. The truth is a critical foundation in the Christian belief systems. It is so foundational that Jesus Christ refers to Himself as “the truth” in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (CEB)

In our attempts to honor people, to protect their feelings and respect their life choices we often do it in a dishonest manner. We don’t tell people the truth about the direction their life is taking for fear people will see us as intolerant or just mean-spirited. We have become sugar-coat experts.

Just this past week I was in meetings where Christian witnessing came up. I was making the point that as Christians we must be ready to live out our faith boldly in the world. The pushback came from a long-time Christian who feared that if we do that we will offend people and they may push back on us.

My thought was, “Yes that is possible, even likely. They pushed back on Jesus.” Jesus points this out in Matthew 24:8-10 “But all these things are just the beginning of the sufferings associated with the end. They will arrest you, abuse you, and they will kill you. All nations will hate you on account of my name. At that time many will fall away. They will betray each other and hate each other.”

I say this to point out that faith, and political correctness, directly oppose each other.

Political correctness tries not to offend. Faith is a stumbling block because it points us back to the perfection lost in the garden of Eden when paradise was lost. Faith reminds us of the high standards God demands and that we can never fully attain. Faith also tells us that this is the reason God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to stand in our place and take on the full weight of political ideas and leaders who guide us away from the need to deal with our brokenness, our sin, our new identity.

We are messed up people, with destroyed lives, and damaged relationships. The truth of the Bible points us back to a right relationship with God. That means an honest assessment of my life, my choices, my flaws. Do I look in the mirror and see my brokenness? Of course not. I would rather people tell me it’s ok, that I am ok. La La Land looks much better that way.

In the end living there is only temporary. The truth has an ugly way of always revealing itself. And the longer I hide from it, the more painful the fall.

Faith not only points us to the truth, but it also leads us to the solution, Jesus.

–Keith Haney is a mission facilitator for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He blogs at revheadpin.org.