"You're not allowed to call them dinosaurs anymore," said Yo-less. "It's speciesist. You have to call them pre-petroleum persons"
– Terry Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
My husband and I have a relationship where we can poke fun at each other's weaknesses without either one of us getting offended. He knows he is not great at sports and most tasks involving fine hand-coordination, and I am terrible at simple mathematics, even getting 10% discounts wrong sometimes.
And the reason for that is because we did not grow up being told we are good at everything; we have accepted what we are great at and what we simply cannot be good at no matter how hard we try. And yet, we seem to live in a society that needs to be constantly validated, needs to be told things that makes them feel good about themselves.
Speaking the truth
We seem to convey the message that if we speak our minds about something controversial, we are at risk of being labelled a racist, fascist, feminist, sexist, bigot and so on. There is a big difference in saying the truth, and masking the truth so that it suits the needs of someone who may take offence at what we say.
Sometimes, we are so afraid of saying things because we do not want to be labelled 'discriminatory'. It's not socially acceptable anymore to have an opinion, even if that means we are masking or bending the truth.
We begin to reject conventional moral truths in order to avoid causing insult or offense, or otherwise act so charitably and civilly toward those we disagree with so as not to merit a serious response. Ultimately, we block truth and suggest a new morality.
Churches are suffering greatly from this phenomenon. Many churches feel the need to either omit or sugar-coat truth from Scripture, in order to avoid offending anyone in the congregation.
Churches may end up hiding doctrinal and Godly truth in order to make everyone feel good about themselves and the choices they make, when in fact churches are the ones who need to be speaking the truth—for example, the truth about homosexuality, wealth and riches, sexual impurity, or submission to husbands.
Yet, churches avoid these Biblical topics or skip them altogether to avoid 'losing' people from the congregation.
How did Jesus deal with truth?
Jesus handled the truth, revelations about Himself and the Gospel in love and humility. What did Jesus do when He was confronted with peopled who sinned openly? He did not sugar-coat truth or bend the truth to win their favour.
In fact, through love, gentleness and humility, He brought people to repentance. We can do this too; we can tell the truth in love, gentleness and humility. Jesus did not come to condemn; He came to love those who others see as sinners.
Truth may be hard to hear at times, especially in an over-sensitive society. But let us love first, and let the truth set us free. Jesus did not force anyone to give up their sinful ways. He spoke truth through parables, with wisdom and humility, with an open hand led by love to bring us to a point of forgiveness and redemption.
Jesus is our truth
Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. It is this love which helps us recognise our errors. God chose to send His one and only Son down to earth, not to judge but to save. He sacrificed His Son to die on the cross, so that we may distinguish light from darkness, so that we may turn away from evil and sin and lead a life led by Christ.
We live in a fallen world; we have all fallen short of the glory of God. But God has an ultimate plan for us. His plan is to save us, if only we follow truth and allow truth to lead us, rather than succumbing to a society that will go to any length to avoid hurt feelings.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa is a mum to one, runs a home-based cake business, Lollicakes and is also currently studying towards an Early Childhood Teaching qualification. www.lollicakes.com.au
Clarissa Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html