Love is not Rude

Monday 27th Feb 2023

Are you an easily offended snowflake? I know I am. I’m offended by injustice and abuse.
Spend any time on social media and you’ll find someone complaining about “cancel culture” and “the woke” and “snowflakes.” “We should have free speech” they will protest, and they are right, we should have free speech.

However, along with freedoms come responsibilities, the greater the freedoms, the greater the responsibilities. Those of us who are Christians would do well to remember that Jesus spent far more time talking about our responsibilities than he did fighting for his freedom, in fact, as we know, he didn’t fight for his freedom at all.

The things we say matter, of course we should forgive one another for insensitivity, nobody should be pilloried for accidentally getting the wrong pronoun or not realising something they said could be construed in a different way to how it was meant. People shouldn’t be taken out of context and vilified, like JK Rowling has been, for example. We do sometimes have a tendency to over-simplify complex issues and create caricatures of “baddies” when someone says something we may disagree with.
However, by the same token, we have a responsibility to try not to upset or offend others, far too often people will say “I have a right to offend you” and it makes me wonder “why would you want to?” As the apostle Paul said

“All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.”

(1 Corinthians 10:23)

It is not loving to be deliberately rude, or offensive to anyone. Love is not rude.

Being rude is not the same as being forthright or challenging. The bible tells us

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

(Ephesians 4:29)

There may be times when we need to be loud, forceful and outspoken in order to defend the vulnerable, in order to give a voice to the voiceless: Jesus wasn’t shy about telling the pharisees who had been preying on and cheating widows that they were “sons of snakes” and “whitewashed tombs”… in doing this he gave grace to the widows, he built up the oppressed.

When I was young I was taught “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” it’s not true. Our words are incredibly powerful, the bible says:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue”

(Proverbs 18:21)

Our voices are our superpower and we have the choice to use them for good or for evil.