Is it offensive to refer to an Asian carp as Asian?
“Government officials in the Canadian suburb of Minnesota have decided that Asian carp — the invasive freshwater fish that threatens ecosystems across the Midwest — should no longer be called Asian because it might reflect negatively on the Asian community.” Even though these carp are from Asia, they have decided to call them “invasive” carp.
I think the Chilean sea bass is next up for a name change. Just kidding…
But seriously, have we become a culture that is so sensitive to words, names, and references that we can no longer refer to a fish without being offensive?
Over the past 10 years, political correctness seems to have taken on a life of its own. What used to be appropriate to say has now become inappropriate and what used to be acceptable is now unacceptable. Why? What is happening? How can a word that was good become bad? It seems this isn’t about the words themselves but more about the filter through which the words are flowing.
I find it interesting that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, offended a lot of people during His ministry by what He said. I also find it interesting that Paul the Apostle did the same, yet was used by God in tremendous ways. What then does all the political correctness mean for Christians today? Is it something we need to be concerned about and adapt to?
1. Recognize You Can’t Please Everybody
John 15:18-20 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’
Jesus warned His disciples they would probably be rejected by non-Christians because of their association with Him. On a political correctness scale of 1 to 10, Jesus was probably about a four. For some groups, he was a wonderful miracle worker and for others, he was offensive and insulting. This means that when people are offended it isn’t always a bad thing.
Certainly, we see in Scripture that Christians are called to treat people with respect and to be gracious with our words (c.f. James 3:6-9), but it doesn’t mean it should prevent us from speaking truth. It is critical that we don’t change, alter, or redefine the truth of God’s word in order to make it politically correct or prevent someone from being offended. If something is good, it needs to be called good and if something is sin then it needs to be called sin. In this way, you will never be able to please everybody and also please God.
2. Always Speak the Truth in Love
Ephesians 4:15 – … speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
When it comes to speaking God’s truth, as offensive as it may be, it is very important we do it in a loving and caring way. Speaking the truth is not a license to demean others. It should always be delivered in a way that is sensitive and humble.
For example, if you are talking to someone about being sinful, you need to include yourself in the conversation as also being sinful, so they are confronted with the truth of sin rather than a condemning attitude. If this still comes across as being offensive, then there is nothing you can do short of changing the truth, which is not an option before God.
Political correctness can be a complicated topic, requiring varying levels of compromise even if it means accepting “invasive” carp. For a Christian, the only area you don’t want to compromise is being biblically correct.
I would love to hear your views on our politically correct culture. Feel free to weigh in with your comments.
 The Associated Press Posted: Mar 28, 2014 8:50 AM ET
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