Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday Morning Leadership Devo

(Originally published on April 6, 2009)

Straight Talk

We live in a very “politically correct” world today. This means that you have to be careful what you say for fear of offending someone. A football team can’t be the Indians because that is insensitive. If someone is caught in a lie, it is politically incorrect to say they “lied.” You must instead say they “mis-spoke” or they told an “untruth.” But to use the word “lie” is a no-no. When referring to someone of another race or skin color, there is proper terminology that must be used.

Sometimes we walk on egg shells because we don’t know exactly where the line of offense is. I recently ate lunch with a black brother in Christ. We were talking about race relations and he kept using the term “African-American.” I finally just asked him if he took offense to the term “black” when talking about “African-Americans.” He told me that he actually preferred it and that the only reason he had been using the term “African-American” during our conversation was for my benefit! He thought I might be offended for some reason.

I think that we have gone way too far with PC language in our culture. Now listen, I am in no way advocating being insensitive or purposefully offending someone. But I fear that all our PC talk keeps us focused on words and terminology and keeps us from focusing on the big issues that deserve and need our attention.

Leaders need to lead and that means we sometimes need to say it like it is. Straight talk is often not politically correct. This is one of the reasons I love the apostle Paul. The man was just a great leader, plain and simple. He said it like it was. He called people out and he even called people names if they deserved it. He was not politically correct, but he actually made a difference. His words stand out and cause us to take notice.

Passage for Reflection: Galatians 4:8-20

There are several politically incorrect aspects to Paul’s speech in this passage:

· He presumes to speak about their spiritual condition. This would never fly in today’s world. “Who are you to judge me?” is the cry of response.
· Paul is vulnerable. He speaks about a serious personal ailment or illness he suffered. Leaders today do not open up about personal weakness such as this. It’s seen as a sign of inner weakness. Paul leverages his personal weakness to lead.
· He uses coarse language. He talks about “gouging” out eyes. He uses the term “enemy” when questioning them. He calls them “children.” And truth be told, this is a mild passage for Paul. In other places in Galatians, he calls them “foolish” and “bewitched.” This would be seen as inflammatory today and I am sure it was then as well.

Take some time soon and peruse the writings of Paul as a whole and you will see politically incorrect speech all over the place. Paul was not being offensive just to be offensive, but he was calling a spade a spade. We live in serious times. It is almost seen as hate speech to speak negatively of Islam, or the homosexual lifestyle. The world most certainly wants to muzzle the voice of the Christian. Which is why it is more important than ever to seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit, to absorb ourselves in the Truth of God’s Word, and then to speak the voice of wisdom and truth…even if it’s politically incorrect.

Leadership talks straight.

“Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. Amen.”


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