"Did he just say that?"
In America (in the World for that matter), we are completely too sensitive. The media, I believe, is a major culprit in making us this way. But on top of the media, they even teach us in school as children that we can\’t tell the truth. Imagine having to say someone is "vertically challenged" instead of "short." Or that a person is "African American" instead of "black," even though white people are still just "white."
Now, we have to call "The War on Terror", "Overseas Contingency Program." And the President is meeting with a marketing firm now to find out new names to call "Global Warming" and "Cap & Trade" because these terms are too politically charged.
The problem is not just with the left wing, either. We now have to call waterboarding "enhanced interrogation technique." Gun advocates are calling assault weapons "sport utility rifles."
The problem is not just that people can\’t now say what they really think. The problem is we are even more allergic to the truth than we’ve ever been. This has implications for the spiritual landscape of our culture.
The clearest example of this I can think of is when I was sitting in church and the pastor said in an altar call: "If you don\’t believe in Jesus, you’re ON your way to hell. If you\’d like to accept Christ, please stand." I was appalled, even though I know what he said was exactly true! The fact that he hadn’t handled the topic with kid gloves offended me. I used to be drawn to people who spoke frankly about the gospel, and somehow even I had become conditioned to be afraid of the truth. I struggled for weeks after that about whether I should continue visiting the church or admiring the pastor.
Recently Miss California stated in a pageant that she believed gay marriage was wrong. She has yet to cease to be attacked. Even though everyone knows many people still disagree with gay marriage, the fact the opinion was voiced in a public way outraged people. Speaking of Miss California, I stated in my blog that I agreed with her stance, but that she was not a good role model for young girls, and churches shouldn’t be embracing her as an example of good Christian womanhood. The sensitivity is such that, instead of being angry that I agreed with her stance, people were even more irked that I would be "judgmental" enough to fault the church for exalting her.
In another blog, I wrote about the Christian’s need to consider whether or not drinking alcohol is helpful for running their Christian race. I stated that athletes will shun even having a social life just to win a meaningless trophy in the big game (the bible makes the same claim, stating that Christians should be even more dedicated). Such is the sensitivity of people, that one reader was upset that I would "stereotype" athletes as being driven only to win the ring or the trophy.
Whether or not any of these instances of offense is valid or not, the point is, today you can’t say ANYTHING weighty without drawing criticism. And if you take any stance, not only will you draw criticism for that stance, everything else you say or do will be watched with a very critical eye.
The reason this is a problem, especially for believers in Christ, is because the world is teaching us to be afraid of the truth. If the news is afraid to even acknowledge that terrorists are, in fact, "Islamic" or "Muslim" because they’re afraid of offending Muslims, how do we expect to be able to tell a sinner they were born in sin, and are condemned already because they have not believed in Jesus Christ? That so-called "belief" is not enough, unless it is accompanied by a devotion and love for God and adherence to God’s word? That a life not wholly dedicated to Christ is destined for eternity in hell? On top of being afraid to confront unbelievers, we will be wholly unequipped to confront fellow believers (or make-believe Christians) whose practice is not anywhere close to what they preach.
I’m appealing to Christians, that we shed the influence of an oversensitive culture, and become people who are more frank. The bible instructs us to "speak the truth in all things." I am no bible scholar, but that sounds like a pretty self-explanatory command to me. And no, it’s not an easy thing to do. I work as a car salesman, and with used cars, speaking the truth in all things can be inconvenient, especially when you are describing a vehicle over the phone to a prospect who\’s never seen it. Those scratches? That busted mirror? You have to tell, even if it makes the car sound like a lump of metal and risks the customer never coming to see it. But I’m convinced that if you balance the hard to accept truth with the more appealing truth, you will be fine in any situation. Yes, the car has these flaws, but the car is also severely underpriced for the market, and with the money saved, the customer can fix any flaw he wants on it.
It’s the same way with spiritual truths. "Open rebuke is better than secret love." Speaking the truth in all things will not only make you feel better, as you’re speaking your mind and not bottling up the truth…but the hard truth will benefit the hearers.
…And God forbid people respect your honesty.