Have you ever met someone that thinks everyone is just weak now-a-days? They believe that we’ve lost our backbone and are just too emotionally weak as a society; that we’re too soft and sensitive and can’t handle conflict as a product of our moral decay and obsession with political correctness. Maybe you’ve met some people that think the previous group of people are just “archaic” and insensitive, rude and dangerous people to our forward progress as a species. Maybe you are in one of these camps or just maybe stand somewhere in the middle of the war zone, wondering how to balance the extreme opinions dividing communities, friends and families all across the western world. What if I told you, in a way, both are true; That we are all weak, but that we have always been that way; although, let’s reframe the conversation. Let’s use a more true word in place of weak; we are all fragile.
There is no doubt that political correctness has been taken to an extreme in our society. We’ve reached a point that even a fact shared in the right environment, full of empathy and compassion, can be labeled as “bigoted” or “hate speech” and that these people must be canceled indefinitely. The issue with this type of name calling is that it uses extreme or unfair words that are by definition much weightier and complex than how they’re used (like the ones I have placed in quotations above). In turn, any possibility of positive conversation and mutual understanding is squelched by buzz words and closed minds. Whether or not there is any agreement, we miss out on the conversations full of potential for growth, compassion, healthy compromise and change.
On the other hand, the sensitivity was birthed out of centuries of oppression of the weak and glorification of the strong. The sensitivity is a wake up call to a society to recognize the injustice of shame-based division of those less fortunate or mis-valued. The irony is that this position now overvalues intellect and demonizes ignorance, using clever catchphrases and chants, wit and aggressive name calling to try to silence those in opposition to their ideals. This type of pushback to a position, not yet addressed in such a manner in a socioeconomic playing field, gave whiplash to the common conservative with simple, straight forward values.
Their values were based mostly off of their own practical experiences, what they’ve been taught in their circles of influence, and what has worked for their families for multiple generations. These people generally are hard working middle to lower-class people who haven’t lived privilaged lives in most definitions of the word. These are people who generally try to do the right thing and help raise their families in the best way they know how. You will see in their response to conflict a lot of call back response that mimics defensive recall. In contrast, the opposition believes creativity is equivalent to truth. As an example, one child might say to another, “you’re stupid” to which the confronted child would say, “no, you’re stupid.” A hot take example would be, “Black lives matter” in which those feeling attached would respond, “ALL lives matter”, using similar phrasing to try to protect their separate agenda or opinion.
What we see happening on both sides are people with separate experiences and view points. Some views are totally contradictory to each other, but there are commonalities between the two at their core. They both feel an attach on what they believe to be true and that the opposing worldview is the enemy to progress. They both feel misunderstood. They both generally want themselves to be comfortable and live the way they believe is a thriving life and would love if everyone else would live the way they believe is good. They all love the people that agree with them.
But as people, and specifically me as a Christian, I wonder how I am supposed to respond in this climate. I find myself as a political nomad. In some ways I think that’s okay, because Jesus identifies himself as a nomad to this world and the ways of it in passages like Mark 12:17, Matthew 8:20, Matthew 19:21 and other places as well. I suggest you check out all these and any scriptures in context, but Jesus didn’t have a conventional view on life. These examples don’t fit into a mold, because we’re not called to be comfortable, we’re called to love.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Micah 6:8 and it says, “He has told you, mortal one, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” I love talking about the order and intentionality of the wording in this passage. Almost every translation agrees on the phrase “do justice” or “do justly” and some even say “act justly” but they all get across this image of justice being a duty and a command, something we must actively pursue. The part of this that always wakes me up is that the command to do justice is followed by the imperative to “love kindness” or “love mercy” as many translations state. Mercy or kindness isn’t supposed to just be done out of obligation, but must be proceeded by love. That means, even in justice, mercy and kindness must be cherished. Lastly, we see the call to walk humbly with our God; not in arrogance, seeing ourself as more worthy or good than another, but to walk in humility with our God who himself alone is good and just and merciful, who humbly chooses to walk with his second most rebellious creation besides the angels that rejected him and fell with the satan.
It’s almost as if the act of justice is to be done out of duty and the kindness must overflow from our love, and all decisions should be made in partnership and submission to God himself, but don’t we mostly see the opposite in our society? We see people on both sides pridefully waving their banners in view, hanging them outside their homes and across their social media pages. We hear screaming and name calling, belittling and arguing. We see people so in love with the results of justice, happy with the misfortunes of others, regardless if their punishment is equal or higher than they deserve. We see people being kind out of obligation, and mostly so it will bring them “good karma” (another misused buzz word) or when it will put someone in a sort of kindness debt to themselves.
With that being a common image we get though, I’m so happy to know people who are by no means perfect, but are living lives in pursuit of this verse. They’re fighting fort the justice of widows, orphans, women, the poor, and people of color. They are loving and showing kindness to those with opposing world views and walks of lives, not to encroach on their human rights but not avoiding the conversations of justice and truth within their world view. They fight to inform, but also listen and hear the other people’s side. They desire to walk humbly with God, knowing it’s nothing that they do that makes them worthy of God’s affection; that it’s only by God’s grace and through our weak and simple yes to him that we are counted as His children.
Are you a person who does justice, loves kindness and walks humbly with God? I hope you are! If you’re not, ask God to walk with you, ask for forgiveness and turn away from your selfishness, for any selfishness is a rejection of God’s control and an attempt to be ones own God of that area. You must also accept the grace of Jesus, then go ahead and ask him to transform and guide your life so that you might be bold to do justice, be secure in His love for you to share that love through mercy and kindness, and the foresight to walk in humility with God.
You are fragile on your own, so am I. Let’s rely on a strength that calls from beyond ourselves so that we might be a people that stand out as we make our way through this incredibly challenging and amazing life.