By: Danny Wallace
A few years ago the Southern Cooking Queen, Paula Deen, was asked a question under oath, and she answered the question truthfully. That truthful answer made her the target of much hate. She was asked if she had ever uttered a particular “racist” slur, and she answered truthfully, saying that she was saddened to say that she had used the term long ago. Are you sure we’re not witnessing a similar scene inside the church today?
What was Paula Deen’s other option? She could have lied. As a matter of fact, after witnessing what has happened to her, I’m sure we would all be tempted to lie when asked difficult questions about things that happened long ago. Let me be the first to tell you that I would have lied like a dog. Ms. Deen wasn’t judged for what she said. She was judged for being truthful, and for apologizing. What the outrage against her says is, “Keep your mask on – lie – and we will not attack you.” We say this in the church everyday.
However, I did not write all of this to discuss the merits of Paula Deen, or to speak about the pain caused by hurtful words of racism. Paula, like every person, is the creation of God, and racism is always ugly.
In fact, this will be short, indeed. I’m just marveling at the public crucifixion of someone who was simply answering a question truthful, only to discover that she was judged as worthy of crucifixion for a hurtful word she spoke long ago. I marvel that the feeding frenzy unleashed on this lady is justified as good and holy, while her public crucifixion for answering truthfully stands as righteously justified. Is there any wonder why people who long to be free still tremble and hide behind their masks? We send this same message everyday. “Lie, from behind your mask, and we will love you – unmask yourself and tell the truth, and we will crucify you.”
Self-righteousness is best witnessed in its natural state. It is the justification of devouring others for their transgressions, while failing to see the “devouring” as any transgression at all. Self-righteousness is nothing more than the pot, calling the kettle, “black.”