WOKENESS: A GOOD IDEA GONE BAD (Truth #3)
Evangelical Christians tend to reject every new idea the world comes up with, and often before we really understand them. Wokeness is a good example of this.
The term “wokeness” derives from the African American vernacular which means to “stay woke.” It refers to a continuing awareness of the issues around us. The term first appeared in the 1940’s but has become more common today.
What’s interesting, is that wokeness is based on Bible truth. In ancient civilizations, the strong had every right to dominate the weak. Cruelty, rape, torture and slaughter were ordinary means of enforcing power. Neither the gods they worshipped nor the moral codes they wrote opposed domination. The strong had all the rights, the week had none. It’s still that way in places like India, Africa, Asia, China. Nazi Germany operated on that same basis. These cultures were not based on the truth of God’s Word.
As the truth of the Bible spread, man came to realize that everyone is made in the image of God and had intrinsic worth and dignity. No matter their race, ethnicity, gender or income, all have equal worth. Oppression of the poor and weak was condemned. Neither might nor wealth made oppression right.
Christianity also emphasized the spiritual and moral equality of all people. We all suffer from the same problem, sin. We all need the same solution, salvation through Jesus. Because of these ideas, Christianity is the soul historical source of concepts now taken for granted such as human dignity, human equality and universal human rights.
We don’t see that outside Christianity. Hinduism has its caste system which brings great oppression to millions. In Islam, females are inferior to males, and Muslims are superior to other nationalities. Buddhism, Confucianism and other world religions teach the importance of being kind to others, but they do not take a strong stand against slavery and oppression.
History proves God’s truth ‘woke’ man’s conscience. In ancient Rome, unwanted children were left outside to die of exposure, but Christians would take them in. In Europe during the Middle Ages, when plagues would kill thousands, people fled from the cities. Only Christians stayed and took care of the sick. Hospitals, schools, churches, education and a better level of society came to third world countries when missionaries brought them in. In most of the world, where Christian values are not accepted, slavery is still the norm. There are 42 million people in slavery today. It is Christian countries that have removed It.
So, if wokeness is built on Bible absolutes, why don’t Christians support it? That’s because there is a failure in wokeness. It sees the problem, but not the solution.
Those who promote wokeness see the solution as forced external conformity. Any who do not agree with their truth are to be punished. Political correctness must be adhered to. There is a prescribed way to speak and act and any deviation is to be canceled. We see many companies and organizations becoming woke today. Company logos change to rainbows during gay pride month. LGBTQ+ affirming toys and children’s books are created.
To them, everyone is either an oppressor or oppressed. Everyone is in one category or the other. White Evangelical Christians are not oppressed, so we are seen as part of the oppressors. There is no room for working together in unity to bring change. There is no seeking forgiveness or restoration. Their only solution is to destroy and remove what they don’t approve of. To them, the oppressors are guilty and the oppressed are innocent. So, remove the oppressors and lift up the oppressed. That’s why so much of the focus is on tearing down and destroying and not building up.
John Tillman sums it up well: “Our culture has become anti-mercy, going past skepticism and walking into the wilderness of hatred and retributive violence. In recent years, when people have offered public forgiveness to individuals that everyone agreed did not deserve it, our world wouldn’t tolerate it. We are opposed to forgiveness. We go beyond refusing to forgive—we label forgiveness and mercy, not just foolish, but evil.
“A culture that is invested in and glorifies hatred, retribution, payback, and vengeance cannot allow an act of mercy to stand as a simple act of mercy. It must be critiqued and spun. Media and pundits immediately will attempt to twist it, politicize it and discount it.
“Our world is desperate to explain away Christian forgiveness as something else. It must be enabling evil. It must be the result of racism. It must be a naive and foolish gesture. It must be anything other than Christian forgiveness. Never that.”
Because they see the problem but offer no real solution, wokeness just replaces one hatred with another. They claim we hate them, so that justifies their deeper hatred of us. The Bible worldview says we are not to just destroy wrong, but to replace it with right. We are to use forgiveness, mercy and working together for unity as our goal, not destruction.
Proverbs 24:29 “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.’” Matthew 18:21-35 “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” When we follow God’s truth, we take the path of forgiveness.
As Christians, we reject wokeness. But before we are too quick to criticize them, we need to make sure that we ourselves aren’t guilty of unforgiveness.
Is there anybody you need to forgive and haven’t? Ask God to show you if there’s somebody that you hold something against. When He does, don’t try to make excuses or justify your unforgiveness. Forgive, apologize if necessary, and restore the relationship.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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