“POLITICALLY CORRECT” By Pastor YAU
Text: 2 Timothy 4:1-5 September 18, 2005
1) On the news: It was reported on FOXNEWS on August 25, 2005, a woman filed a complaint with the Medical Board of Examiners in New Hampshire that she was offended by her doctor when he told her that she needs to lose some weight. It was also reported that the woman was 5’ 7” and was over 250 pounds. The Medical Board of Examiners recommended that the doctor needs to be “re-educated” on how to tell patients in ways that won’t hurt their feelings. The doctor rejected the recommendation and many of his patients had rushed to his support.
2) The issue: The issue is do doctors need to have sweet tongues by not saying things that may hurt patients’ feeling. The doctor in the dispute is Dr. Terry Bennett. His’ argument is that he is in profession to tell patients the truth on medical terms and is not responsible to make patients feeling good when there is something wrong in their medical condition. Others also rushed to support the woman saying that the doctor could have said, “Hey, honey, you are a pretty woman. You will look much better if you could trim say 100 pounds.” What will you say?
3) Politically correct: It is a big issue today that we all need to be politically correct—don’t say anything that may offend or hurt people’s feelings even when you are telling the truth and is necessary. This is a big issue in politics, in social interaction, in schools, in business, at home and even now in churches. The society has adopted the belief that not hurting people’s feeling is more important than telling the truth. There are preachers who will only say things people love to hear. There are also Christians who will go to churches where their feelings will never get hurt. What is wrong here?
WHAT IS IN THE BIBLE ON THIS ISSUE? If we truly uphold the Bible as the supreme authority in our lives, both in belief and in deeds, we need to go back to it to see what is there on this issue: never say things that may hurt people’s feeling. If being politically correct is so important, then:
1) God would be guilty: In the whole Bible God never practiced sweet tongue—by not saying things that may hurt people’s feeling. God has been straight forward and up to the point in dealing with people, especially in those things they are wrong and have sinned. God will not say or do things on purpose to hurt any body’s feeling. But God has no business in making people feel good when there are wrongs and sins in their lives. God never used sweet tongues. He tries hard to correct people when they are wrong and have sinned.
Moses would be
guilty: In the first five books of the Bible, Moses
served as the mouth piece of God in proclaiming and delivering the Laws of God
to the people of
prophets must be guilty: God sent
prophets to condemn the sins of many nations including
Jesus could certainly
be guilty: While Jesus presented the
gospel of the love of God, he critically and openly pointed out the hypocrisy
of the Pharisees, the sin of
5) Peter must be guilty: When Ananias and his wife Sapphira cheated God and the church, Peter confronted them on their sin in front of all the people and they paid the price for lying by death. (Acts 5:1-11) Certainly there would be people who might say Peter was too harsh and politically incorrect.
6) Paul must also be guilty: In his messages by words and letters, the Apostle was never shy in telling his audients or readers the truth. He pointed out the sins of the false teachers, the wrong practices in the early churches, the false doctrines that had plagued the early believers and the wavering faith they had in the Lord Jesus. Paul never tried to be politically correct by avoiding the issues or by white washing the wrong to make people feel good.
7) All the giants of faith must be guilty: Men of God in Christian history such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Carey, Charles Wesley, Moody, Billy Sanders, John Sung, Watchman Nee, Billy Graham, just to list a few, are men who never shy away to tell people of their wrongs and sins and their need of repentance. They all knew their mission was to bring men back to God through their confession of sins and repentance in the blood of Jesus. They never let worries of people’s feeling hindered what they were called to say and do.
WHY IS POLITICALLY CORRECT SO WRONG? While not hurting people’s feeling on purpose is good, the demand, promotion and practice of politically correct at all costs are not just bad and wrong, it is harmful and dangerous. Let us examine the issue one by one.
1) PC is grounded on dishonesty: Even though people who advocate PC may not be purposely dishonest, the practice is. In order to be PC, you have to hide the truth and say something either water down or the opposite of or completely ignore the facts and that is dishonesty. Promoting PC to avoid hurting people’s feeling at the expense of honesty is more than just wrong, it is ethically degrading.
2) PC is selfish oriented: By avoiding telling the truth or facts that may offend others in order to gain friendship, benefits or support is all selfish. If the doctor in the case mentioned above did not tell the women the truth, he will retain business and good relationship but it will hurt the well being of the woman. Too often people who practice PC do so for selfish gain at the cost of hurting others.
3) PC usually focuses on the wrong side of the issue: In order not to hurt people’s feeling to be PC, you have to ignore what is truly good and right for that person and that is ethically wrong. We cater to the needs of feeling at the expense of other important issues such as health condition of the woman on the news. We all agree that to be healthy is far more important than not getting feelings hurt by a doctor who told you the truth of your problems.
4) PC could be harmful and dangerous: When we are so much caught up in being PC, we tend to avoid saying anything that may hurt people’s feeling even things we know that are important to their well being: reckless life style, bad habits, bad/wrong attitude, harmful relationship, bad company or friends, engaging in wrong or immoral or criminal activities, etc. You are not a good friend to allow your friend to continue in his harmful and dangerous life style by not telling him what he really needs to hear.
5) PC is not true love: While those who advocate PC may believe that it is love that motivates them not to hurt people’s feeling, they don’t know what true love is. True love focuses on the benefits and well being of others higher than soothing feelings. God rebukes sin of man not because He hates us. Jesus condemned sins but He loves sinners to the point even to die for them.
6) PC is superficial: Most people who practice PC do not have a true and deep relationship with the other person. They don’t really care about that person. They don’t have the best interest of that person in their hearts. That is why there is NO such thing as PC in the family or real good friendship.
7) PC is against the Bible: When it comes to human relationships, the Bible has so much to say about being honest and truthful, love and self giving, care for one another and share each other’s burden, bring back the lost and speaking the truth in love. All the examples in the Bible we listed are not people who put PC up front as the maxim of life. We are to follow God and godly people and not follow the world and its dangerous trend.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ON CORRECTNESS? Christians should follow what is biblically correct instead of politically correct. When Paul advised Timothy, he placed the Bible as the supreme guide on human behavior. He told Timothy that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is beneficial for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all men of God may be equipped for all kinds of good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Let us read today’s text, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, and see what is there for us:
1) Biblically correct is superior: (4:1)When Apostle Paul began to admonish his beloved fellow servant of God on what is the correctness of his gospel ministry, he drew the highest and most trustworthy witnesses into his teaching: God and His Son Jesus Christ. By asking God and Jesus to be his witnesses, Paul intended that Timothy and all readers of his letter will respect and follow what he has to say following. When people ignore the principles of God as set in the Bible, there can be no ground for correctness. God in His Word is the only standard of correctness. It was in the presence of God and the Lord Jesus Paul gave his teaching on the correctness of life. Nothing could be more right than this.
2) B C endures all time: (4:2a) The world is moving to a grey area where there is no absolute right or wrong, good or bad. Many people believe that each person is given the responsibility and ability to judge his/her own action and no one else is to say anything about that. The absolute right and wrong is considered out of date or old fashion. Many people including some so called Christians don’t like to listen to the word of God preached from pulpits of churches. Some pastors are afraid to say what is right, fearing they might be labeled politically incorrect or offensive or hurting someone’s feeling and therefore losing people and hurting their church. Christians are avoiding their responsibility in correcting wrongs of their brothers/sisters because they may be labeled as lacking love. Tolerance and acceptance of wrong are seen as forgiving and encompassing.
3) B C is comprehensive: (4:2b) Paul instructed Timothy in using the word of God to a) correct wrongs: pointing out the right way to go; b) rebuke those who sin against God and man, using the authority of God in condemning sin and demand repentance, and c) encourage those who are weak and feeble in their Christian pursuit. Pastors and true Christians should not shy away from their duties of helping fellow brothers and sisters to grow. Trying to be PC is being unfaithful to the trust of God.
4) B C will always face challenges: (4:3-4) Just as those people in Paul’s days who refused to listen to the truth of God but turned away to follow false teachings, there will be many like that woman patient of Dr. Bennett in our time who will feel offended and turn away from true teaching of God to other places where all they hear are PC messages.
5) B C demands faithfulness (4:5) Shying away from doing and saying what is biblically correct may be easy and popular and will not hurt anyone’s feeling, but it is not what God has called us to do. Paul encouraged Timothy to continue discharging his duties: correcting, rebuking and encouraging, in all situations, to endure hardship and to keep his head up in doing so. The church Jesus has paid for with His blood should not surrender to the demand of the world in doing what is PC but continue to do what is BC.
PC is from the
world while BC is from God: The
2) We are to be humble to heed correction: The word of God spoken from the pulpit or the lips of our brothers/sister, are to be taken serious with respect and humility. We need to submit ourselves to the authority of God and to examine our lives for correction. Getting upset or angry can only lead us into more trouble and grief.
3) PC never saves anyone: Facing the reality: your need for salvation. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) If you have never asked Jesus to forgive your sins the time to do that is now. This is not about PC, this is about salvation and eternal life with God.