Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
- James 3:1-12
As many may know, who read this blog often, I do not adhere to political correctness as much as other people might. And I am beginning to realize that Satan is hard at work in the area of lexicons.
What words are offensive and what are not? If I knew and listed all the offensive words as of this moment, while I am writing this, the list would change by the time that the post gets scheduled. And for us old folks, it makes our heads spin.
When I grew up, there were two “N” words that applied to black people. When I used a video in a post recently with Wintley Phipps at a Gaither Homecoming Video, he used the phrase “Negro Spirituals.” I was unsure if I could use the term for a sub-genre within Christian Spirituals (Music). The other “N” word was a slur when I was growing up, but then again, there was a slur for just about every ethnic group back in those days, and tons of jokes about each stereotype. Other than black people using the “N” word for each other, I do not hear those slurs anymore.
But what is the proper word to use? I have heard African-American, Black, and people of color (but that includes other ethnic groups). There are probably more. Which is the correct one, at this moment? Is the correct one the same correct one in the next town? I mean no offense, but with the correct name changing as fast as the wind changes direction, or seemingly so, I have no idea, and I have less inclination of chasing the wind.
I was referring to some people in Central and South America in Sunday school a year or two ago. Someone in class said, “Oh, they do not like those terms.” But I was reading the terms off a brochure from a well-known evangelist. The evangelist meant no offense, and I certainly do not know whether I should use Latin, Latino, or Hispanic or whatever it may be. I think that I have seen all three on employment applications, not they those were up to date.
I had a visitor staying at my home for a couple of days from Scotland. I took him on the Pittsburgh area tour. At a couple of stops, one at Fort Necessity, he was referred to as English by a total stranger. His face turned to stone. He quietly told the other person that he was Scottish, trying to use slow breathing and soft speech to calm down. He would accept British, but English was a good reason for a fight, here and now.
I have not gotten in any fights about calling someone a name, even using the wrong nationality or ethnic group, but I have been criticized and corrected.
Then the other day, I heard someone tell someone else about a third party. The third party had announced their selected gender change, so the other person quickly replied, “You may not use that pronoun. If you refer to them at all, it must be they, them, or their.”
Since I was only eavesdropping, I decided that the only safe thing to do was choose the “out” that the person gave, “if you refer to them at all.” That solves that one, just never even say “Hi!” Ever!!
But then, I wondered, is that not what Satan wants? Satan wants to silence Christians. Satan wants division. Satan wants those who are weak and vulnerable to be isolated. Regardless of which humans are behind the constant changing of acceptable PC pronouns of names of ethnic groups, Satan is enjoying Christians chasing their tales trying to keep up with the changes.
So, what I am about to say might sound radical, but I am saying it anyway. I might even offend some people.
Do not let the constant name changes stop you from sharing the Gospel with someone.
You say that you might offend them, but I say that if the Holy Spirit has not been working in their hearts, the offense would probably be inevitable regardless of what you tried to do. BUT, if the Holy Spirit is working in them, the message will penetrate their defenses. They will know that you don’t know the right word, but you are trying to show them respect. If the Holy Spirit is working on their hearts, making them receptive to the message, you can, in love, talk to them without fear. The Holy Spirit has done the heavy lifting. In fact, if you start off with a question soon into the conversation about what they wished to be called, they will not bristle, if the Holy Spirit is at work within them.
So, boldly go forth. Do not water down the message. Do not evade the subject. Do not alter the Gospel. If they hear the Gospel, and do not walk away, it means that they might have been hearing from the Holy Spirit already. They may not be ready to accept Jesus as their Savior, but they won’t berate you for using a word that was okay last week and not okay this week. And that applies if all you wish to do for the moment is make a new friend.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.