If Christmas means anything, it is surely expressed in Matthew 4:16: “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light and, to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light has dawned.” How marvelous that divine light, encased in human flesh, has shone, shines now and will shine for endless days. It is good and right for us to gaze at the light feasting on him with awakened, ardent soul.
The Baby clothed in light has come; let the entire world explode in jubilation. But wait, surprise of surprises, the world did not shout a loud “Hosanna” 2,000 years ago, nor is she so inclined in our year of 2009. Who knew? Who would have guessed that darkness would fight against the light?
Christians, like sparks of the true light, are called to be light to the world. Logical people, as many of us tend to be, think that the dark places should be grateful for light. But logical people can be naïve and are sometimes short on scriptural knowledge. For biblically, we are on much surer ground to expect screams and curses for our light-bearing efforts. To be sure, the light falling on some provokes delight, hope and finally repentance. Meanwhile, others exposed to that same light react with scorn, hostility and rage, as though acid had been hurled on them.
Indeed, entire cultures arm themselves against the light of truth. High-minded and sophisticated arguments rise up to combat Jesus and the truths He shared. In Western culture, relativism likes to gaily trot out that, “The light you have may be true for you, but it’s not necessarily true for me. Don’t you know there is no such thing as truth and that all is relative?” But, at the bottom of it, is relativism not simply a fancy word to hide an idolatry that claims a million different truths for the idol-gods in its pantheon?
But perhaps the most effective light deflector of our day is the cult of political correctness. Its devotees are like fundamentalist Muslims who rule out all negative critiques of their prophet by shouting “blasphemy” and threatening death. Politically correct cultists adopt the same tactic when they pre-empt exposure of their dark “values.” Indeed, a negative critique of any of their pet “gods” brings the charge of “bigotry” and the threat of a human rights investigation. This is a cult of intellectual fascism, for it imposes its pet ideas by threat of force. Sadly, because believers think that all causing of offence is wrong, they have allowed political correctness to deflect the light of Christ.
Recently, while speaking to a group of evangelical pastors, I pointed out that political correctness is the reigning secular creed of our time. Its adherents cry out, “Don’t you dare say anything to offend me. I don’t want to hear about your light. I have my own, thank you. And if you offend me, beware, for I shall punish you with a human rights investigation.” It is a tragedy that even Christians have bought into this idea that we must never offend anyone. Believers have been tricked into thinking that we must always be nice, even in the face of vile evil. So, in many instances, instead of courageously holding high our light, we hide our lamps under the bushel basket of “niceness.”
What would Jesus do? Would political correctness stare him down? In Matthew 15, it is recorded that the disciples reported to Jesus that the Pharisees had been offended by some of Jesus’s teaching. Was he remorseful, apologetic and saddened that his words had given offence? Not in the slightest. He stated in response, “Every plant which my heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up. Let them alone, they are blind guides of the blind.” Let us observe carefully that Jesus blatantly gave offence and offered no apology. What would Jesus do in our present climate of coercion? He would see political correctness as darkness seeking to hide behind force – He would expose it with the light of truth.
May we Christians repent of ungodly “niceness.” May bushel baskets be broken off of light-bearers. True light, glorious light of the world has come. Let those of us who cherish this light, jubilantly, unapologetically and valiantly shine his truth into darkness.