We live in an age which idolises the concept of equality, at least as far as the Western world is concerned. But in practice some “animals are more equal than others.” Those who are articulate in voicing their opinions get listened to, appear on chat shows, or become experts on 24 hour news channels. The rest of us are left out in the cold because we can only think of the witty reply five minutes after the conversation has moved on. This has left many with a feeling of disenfranchisement. We find that traditionally held Christian views are ridiculed by the main stream media. We moan about political correctness and can easily quote some ridiculous example (calling short people vertically challenged, etc.) But when people are able to “say it as it is” all too soon the tone and language descends to the gutter. It is very easy to say something which may not be wrong in itself but can be taken out of context by critics and distorted out of all proportion. One sometime suspect that those who apologise for remarks made in the social media do so, as much as, from embarrassment from those who agree with their original comments as from their hostile critics. Christians are caught in the cross-fire. On the one hand secularists and their allies want us to tone down our beliefs, or at least keep them private so Christians when they argue for more freedom to preach the Gospel find themselves accused of peddling hate that all too soon seems to rise to the surface when restrictions are removed. We get lumped together with White Supremacist groups that use (or should that be abuse) the term “Christian” to espouse some very un-Christian views. But secularists are blind to their own hatred of the God they claim not to believe in. James had a lot to say about the tongue, including “No man has tamed the tongue.” But Proverbs has many verses in which the virtue of wise words are extolled as opposed to folly. This feeling of disenfranchisement does not only affect true Christians but many others leading to a general suspicion of the political establishment in many countries. In Britain this has led to the Brexit vote and in America the rise of Donald Trump. One of Churchill’s famous quotes is about democracy being “the least worst system of government.” It now looks as if the American electorate will be choosing the one whom they consider to be the least worst candidate for their next president, and I do not envy their choice.
Of course, we Christians are not perfect and most of us do not pretend to be so. We are all works in progress in our spiritual journeys and its is all too easy for the old nature to surface if we are caught off-guard. We have to careful that other people use our words as a pretext and hijack them for their own agenda. Immigration is a sensitive issue on both sides of the Atlantic but just because overt racism has largely been done away with, it does not mean that there is not a lot of closet racism out there, even in Christian circles. So there is a need to be circumspect with our words just in case they cause somebody to violently react in some way. The last thing a Christian should do is add fuel to the fire.
David Rose, 2016.