Rambling & musings of an Orthodox Deacon

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Forget Being Politically Correct

23rd November 2016

I wish I could claim originality in my inspiration for this, but I can’t. An author and blogger I follow Angela Doll Carlson shared a thought on a Facebook group we’re both a part of that caused me to pause and think - “Stop talking about whether or not something is politically correct. Ask instead whether if is kind. Let's aim for kindness.” For some reason, this struck me - if we could just focus on showing kindness, how much better would things be?

Love is Kind

We're all familiar with what Christ taught in Matthew 22:36-40:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

What is love? Among other things, it is kind, as St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13. It's something we as Christians are called to, kindness. Political correctness, in theory, centers around the idea that all people deserve respect and honor. We don’t use terms to describe people that they consider offensive, we don’t marginalize or demean someone based on their ethnicity, gender, age, intelligence, disability or other traits. And yet I count the number of times I’ve heard statements like, “I know this isn’t politically correct, but…” from Christians and non-Christians alike.

Angela’s post left me thinking about kindness in our everyday lives. Is it kind to discriminate, make sexist or sexual comments, to demean another person, to use terms that would offend someone? No, it most certainly isn’t. If it isn’t kind, then it isn’t love. If it isn’t love we are showing others, our neighbors, then it's probably a safe bet to assume we are not living up to the call of Christ, we are not being strong ambassadors of Christ. I'm sure there are exceptions, but as a good rule of thumb, they go hand-in-hand.

It’s sad that in today’s society, I see so many people espousing hateful rhetoric, racism, sexism, and childish name-calling - Christians and non-Christians alike. There is no regard for political correctness, much less kindness. As a matter of fact, the word “political” is so divisive and polarizing. This election has, in my opinion, brought out the worst in people, on both sides of the aisle, and our society has taken a step back, or perhaps opened a door that had been shut for awhile. People say hateful things; others return in kind (I have had to repent for my words over the last few months). I found encouragement in reading the words of the Elder Thaddeus who taught:

It is not good when we return the love of those who love us, yet hate those who hate us. We are not on the right path if we do this. We are the sons of light and love, the sons of God, his children. As such we must have His qualities and His attributes of love, peace, and kindness towards all.

In any case, we as Christians are called to a higher standard, to be more than that which is around us and now is a great time to work together to forget political correctness and focus on what we as Christians are called to do, and that’s to show love as Christ commanded. We can be a light in the world because, as St. John of Kronstadt tells us, ”Evil and faults are corrected by good, by love, kindness, meekness, humility, and patience.” St. Paul lays out what love is very clearly for us:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

May we all look to all of our neighbors and find kindness in our hearts, offering prayers for those we agree with and those we don’t and answering the call Christ has set before us, to walk in love.

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