The famous children’s book author Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story entitled “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. It was first published in 1837. The Emperor had an obsession for clothing and continually sought more garments to wear. He spent much of his time standing before a mirror admiring himself and showing off his latest fashions to the people. The story builds when two swindlers saw an opportunity to become wealthy. They posed as weavers of fine fabrics and promised to make the Emperor a remarkable new suit of clothing that was invisible to a certain group of people. They made it perfectly clear that those who were not fit for the position they held, were imprudent or inept would not be able to see the emperor’s new clothes.
The weavers appeared to work diligently day and night perfecting the fabrics for the Emperor’s new garment. They bilked the kingdom treasuries of money and demanded more donations of expensive threads including gold and silver. They stored the money and threads with their belongings as they planned a quick exit out of town at the revealing of the clothing. Everyone in the kingdom was informed that only the ignorant and inept would not be able to see the Emperor’s clothes. The Emperor sent two of his highest officials to inspect the new garments while they were being woven. Although there was nothing on the looms, the officials applauded the beauty of the work in fear of losing their positions of authority in the kingdom.
When the swindlers presented the emperor with his new “suit” of clothing (the Emperor could not see) he praised their workmanship as they supposedly dressed him before a mirror. He then proudly proceeded to enter a procession before all the people in his kingdom. This was the most expensive garment he had ever bought. The people bowed before him and complemented his new garment because of the fear of being ridiculed or judged as stupid and incompetent. It took the innocence of a little child to speak the truth. He told the emperor he wasn’t wearing any clothes at all! His words astonished the people who had lied about seeing them because of fear and intimidation. The truth he spoke broke the power of the lie which had duped the emperor and the entire kingdom. They had all acted on a pretense which not only brought confusion and chaos to the kingdom, but embarrassment to the Emperor himself.
The story was a fun tale to read and it has been enjoyed by many since the day it was first published. It was hilarious to think of the Emperor proudly parading through the kingdom without any clothes on his body. It carried a poignant message of cowering under peer pressure and surrendering control to the fear of man. Pride was at the root of each person’s choice to lie. The pride of the Emperor seeped down into every level of the kingdom corrupting all but the innocent child who was the only one brave enough to speak the truth.
We are living in a time when being “politically correct” is the expected posture when interacting with others. According to Webster’s Dictionary politically correct means: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated. Currently taken to the extreme, it basically means one must not say or do anything to offend others. Its premise is that we must all be accepting of everyone’s actions and any contradiction of a belief or lifestyle is hateful, ignorant, or based upon antiquated ideals. Unfortunately, many in our society are full of offense because they have drifted far from God. They have rejected any truth spoken that conflicts with their own beliefs and lifestyle choices.
Just as the emperor’s new clothes posed a problem for the (imaginary) kingdom, the politically correct doctrine produces a dilemma for the church as well as our nation. The true church of Jesus Christ possess the only message of truth, hope and eternal security for the world. This dilemma places the church in America and the individual believer at a crossroad between God and man. How we deal with that one issue may well impact the future of America and our own eternity!
My husband and I led a Sunday school class of young married couples several years ago. We taught the Word of God including Paul’s instruction on Christian conduct. It caused one in our class to object to our teaching insisting we were to be “tolerant” of others. We began to realize that her definition of “tolerance” did not mean allowing each to live their own lives, but rather meant approval of other’s behaviors. She confused the Biblical command “judge not” with acceptance of wrong, sinful behavior. She misunderstood the message of the Gospel which calls believers to live righteously and hate evil (not people).
The Bible is very clear who will inherit the Kingdom of God and who will not. Both the Old and New Testaments contain passages listing those God will not accept into His Kingdom. They are the ones who reject God’s law by living unethical and immoral lifestyles. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators (sexual intercourse between unmarried people), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV. Emphasis mine. There are many more sins mentioned in both Old and New Testament passages but the above passage is a great example.
Only those who accept the blood sacrifice Jesus made for the sins of the world can be saved. They acknowledge their sin (many of the above mentioned sins) and repent (change their behaviors and mindset) before God asking for His help to live righteously. Christians are not perfect people but because they accepted the blood sacrifice Jesus made for their sins, they are a new creation and are considered righteous by God. The power of the grace of God enables them to begin practicing righteous living. Those who have not believed in Jesus’ blood sacrifice are still practicing sin and are not considered righteous in God’s eyes. The Bible declares the wages of sin is death. A sinful life can only produce death but a righteous lifestyle produces life.
Believers are called to love God, practice righteousness and hate evil as God does. We were never called to tolerate evil or make an excuse or exception for evil. Separating the value of the individual person before God and their sin is imperative when we try to minister God’s love toward others. Today, more than any other time, we face a new dilemma regarding ministry. The world is equating their sinful actions to their identity. If we speak against a sin, they receive it as an attack on their own identity. Our value and identity were never to be equated with our actions. It could only be determined through the value God placed upon us. We were so valued before God that he sent His only Son to be the pure sacrifice for the sins of the world. We are dearly loved and highly prized by God.
Historically, secular values fluctuate and the rules that govern secular societies change over time. Man’s opinion is constantly subject to change but God’s Word never changes. The Bible states that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Because His Word is eternal, His moral codes are truth. Our Creator established His moral codes, and His kingdom is not democratic. We cannot vote on the parts we like and neither can we change or select only the laws we personally approve. All believers are bound to embrace the whole Word of God.
Americans face a new battle in these turbulent times. Sin and immorality are not only rampant, they are flaunted in our streets with attitudes of pride and arrogance. God called His people to be a light in the darkness, not to agree with and succumb to the darkness. Only true believers have the words of life which the world needs. He calls us to speak truth, but with compassion, not condemnation. If the people living in sin do not hear the words of life they may not know God loves them and has provided a better way for them to live. We must not cower to the pressure to be silent because our silence is condoning. We are to live our lives before others, but it is also our duty to speak truth in love to those who are bound by sin. The greatest love of all sacrifices for the good of another.
Jesus was not politically correct in His time of ministry and yet the sinner loved Him. It was the religious establishment who hated Him and arranged for His crucifixion. He never judged the sinner, but He showed them a better way, God’s way. He never considered Himself better than the sinners, He sat with them, ate with them and ministered to them. Pointing a finger in judgement always drives a wedge between the sinner and God, but lovingly speaking the truth will woo them to the Savior.
We need not worry about being politically correct when we are clothed in the Love of God. They will see His heart when they look into our eyes. Love conquers all. Love will prevail. Truth spoken with love is the greatest gift a believer can give the broken hearted.