Written by Dr. David L. Goetsch
America is an increasingly divided nation. We divide ourselves according to race, gender, sexual identity, vaccination status, and other factors that force us to focus on how we are different. The concept is known as “identity politics” or “tribalism.” Politicians make matters worse by encouraging tribalism and portraying themselves as the champions of various identity groups. To say or do anything disapproved of by a given identity group is considered politically incorrect.
Politicians believe being politically correct is the way to keep tensions between tribes from escalating into conflict. When this, not surprisingly, doesn’t work politicians wring their hands and wonder what went wrong. What went wrong is that the answer to people in a diverse society living together in harmony is Biblical correctness not political correctness. Pointing Americans of all stripes to Jesus Christ is the only real and lasting solution to tribalism. The only identity that can bring diverse Americans together is to identify as children of the living God.
When God created the earth, he created just one race—the human race. All members of that race are equal in his eyes. This is the message in Acts 17:26 where we read:
“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…”
Further, in the Greatest Commandment He admonished all of his children—people of all races, genders, ages, and socio-economic status—to love Him, and to love each other. Herein lies the only lasting solution to tribalism. We won’t be brought together by defunding the police, tearing down statues, or changing the National Anthem to “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers (although it’s a great song). This is because we don’t have an identity problem in America; we have a heart problem. Too many Americans have locked Christ out of their hearts and God’s children of all races, genders, and political persuasions are all suffering as a result.
As has already been stated, when Christ said we should love our neighbors as ourselves, He made no exceptions for color of skin or any of the other factors that divide Americans. He said love your neighbor—period. Showing other people the kind of love Christ spoke of in Matthew 22:39 may be the most difficult thing we, as Christians, are called on to do. After all, by “love” Christ meant putting the needs of others ahead of our own. For many of us, this is not something that comes naturally.
Christian love is not just an emotion; it requires action. It is the acting out in our daily lives of Christ’s admonition in the Greatest Commandment. When we display Christian love, we act in ways that show genuine obedience to Christ’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves. In showing Biblical love to our neighbors, we do not ask whether they can satisfy our needs or if they look, talk, dress, eat, or think like we do.
One of the hardest things to grasp as believers is this: we have not really given Christian love until we have given it to the unlovable; those who do not reciprocate in-kind. Biblical love requires that we love our neighbors because, regardless of their race, gender, socio-economic status, or national origin, Christ commands us to love them. There is a vast difference between tolerating other people because it is the politically-correct thing to do and loving them because it is the Christ-like thing to do.
Obeying Christ’s admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves can be a difficult challenge, even for the most committed Christians. It becomes even more difficult when the people we are called to love express their pent-up anger and frustration in destructive ways. However, loving the unlovable will help you make greater- inroads with diverse people than political correctness ever will. In Ephesians 4: 1-3 we are told to walk in a manner worthy of a follower of Christ and to treat others “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love…” Obeying the words of these verses will be more effective in promoting positive human relations than will the artificial, legalistic, ever-changing dictates of political correctness.
Even the angriest, most militant people will appreciate Christians who are genuinely compassionate, kind, and caring. They will also appreciate those who set positive examples of sincere acceptance between and among diverse people because they are part of God’s creation. People whose human interactions are guided by sincere Christian love can make diversity an asset for our country rather than a liability. It will take time and it won’t be easy, but Christ’s Word is the truth, and the truth eventually finds its way through the fog of human emotions.
John 16:33 reminds us that we should take courage because Christ has overcome the world. Because of Christ’s victory, His love applied consistently can heal the identity divide that is splitting our country. Political correctness seeks to do this through artifice, pressure, and coercion. Christian love, on the other hand, does this by changing hearts. Christians who exemplify the heart of Christ in their human relations will be better able to influence their neighbors of all races for good. Showing your neighbors true Christian love will do more to pull down the walls of suspicion and hate that divide the tribes in America than politically-correctness ever will. If you want to help heal the identity divide that is splitting our country, pray this simple prayer: “Lord, please heal our divided nation and let the healing begin with me.”
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019. This article was originally published at david-goetsch.com.