It is true that we live in a day of “Political Correctness.” As a result we’ve become a most thin-skinned people. Almost anything and everything offends someone somehow. It seems virtually impossible to avoid it. Being thin-skinned and easily offended is a topic for another day. It is its own problem.
That said, there is something of truth about this present trend. Our text strikes accurately at what the culture is addressing instinctively but errantly due to sin. The “belittling” of others is a serious problem. Not just in the culture, but also in the Church.
Treating others with disrespect, in a belittling fashion, so as to treat them with scorn and as though they have little worth isn’t Godly. It is sin. This, does not mean that our freedom in Christ to live in respect for others converts instantly into an inability to disagree or determine that some things really are wrong, while others are correct. Scripture indicates nothing of the kind. Open dialog where truth is upheld and untruth exposed, is a necessary facet of God-given society. As Christians, we are to be heralds of the truth. We are to be speaking truth to our generation and as stewards of it, passing it on to the generations which follow.
What it does mean is – that Christians are not to be so lacking either in intellectual acuity, as to be unable to dialog sensibly on issues, nor so devoid of an informing awareness of others having been made in the image of God, that we retreat to invective, scorn, ridicule and disrespect in our dialog.
This is one thing in the public sector, but it is altogether worse in the Church and in the home. How often it is done when parents belittle their children, or one another. When they make fun of them, or make them look foolish or worthless in the eyes of others. Instructors need to be especially careful here with students. Wives when speaking to one another about their husbands, and husbands when speaking to others about their wives. Children not exposing their parents to scorn among their friends and parents not ripping dignity from their children either privately or publicly.
And perhaps we need to be reminded that our politicians are not be treated this way either. Peter helps us remember that even in defending the Gospel, are to do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15) Or that Paul admonishes us to “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” ( 2 Timothy 2:23–25)
Lord, give us wisdom and grace – so that we do not fail to speak the truth – but to do so in love.