A recent article described a phenomenon called “microaggressions” which is the latest threat to good order in US culture. Microaggressions are bad acts by unthinking people against people sensitized to aggression by their marginalized positions in the culture. In other words, in plainer language, microaggessions are things people do and say that hurt other people without knowing that they have offended anyone.
Everybody is guilty. Anybody can commit aggression on a micro scale simply by using the pronoun he generically, or by saying something simple like, “I believe there are more Asian students in the chemistry department this year.” Microaggression can be microassault, microinsult, microinvalidation, or even microrape. There are lots of ways to hurt lots of people, and anybody can do it.
Secular thinkers appear to have discovered that human beings are born flawed and must live with eternal guilt, because there is no way they can ever be sure of doing the right thing. (Actually, it only feels like eternity, because secular thinkers are limited to time and space.) Human beings inherently hurt other people in a thousand different ways, and they should be ashamed of themselves.
This concept sounds just like sinful human nature. The apostle Paul wrote about it when he said, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV) In response to that problem, Christians teach that sinful human beings “are justified by [God’s] grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24 ESV). This same Christ Jesus lives to save people from the enslavement to Satan that was their fate due to sinful human nature, as manifested by microaggressions and other sins.
Secular thinking does not offer any help for the problem of microaggression, or sinful human nature. The offender is simply doomed. The offender has no defense against the person who alleges that offense was given, because by definition, the offender did not know about the offense. Yet the offender in secular thinking must always pay for the offense. There must be a fine or a jail sentence or re-education, or all these things. This is exactly what goes on in starkly secular countries such as VietNam or Kazakhstan or North Korea. Those governments deal with people who disobey the secular government’s moral guidelines with heavy judgments administered by courts. This sort of outcome is the natural result of progressively more assertive secular government.
Christian teaching offers what people really need if they want to recover from the blight of sinful human nature, or microaggressions. Christ himself. Even though people can sin with or without giving it a lot of prior thought and planning, they can be forgiven because Christ died for everyone. Even those who are guilty of microaggressions. Secularists pretend that punishments can be tailored to fit the crimes, but the truth is that the punishment of an offender provides no healing for the offended The beautiful truth is that Christ died for the person who was offended by microaggression also. Christ himself forgives the sins and heals the wounds. Christ leads people to forgive each other. Instead of the offender on one side of thick walls and the offended on the other, both suffering, Christ breaks down those walls and leads both parties to forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.
Secularists have discovered sinful human nature, but they don’t know what to do with it. Christians must demonstrate what Christ has done to cleanse, forgive and heal human beings trapped by their sinful human nature and doomed both to offend and to be offended at the drop of a microaggression. It is very hard to be a Christian in a secular world, but Christians have good news to share with secular thinkers, now that they understand what sinful human nature can do to people.
Jesus taught us how to deal with the problems caused by microaggressions and all sorts of other manifestations of sinful human nature. When he taught us to pray, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In other words, Jesus knew all about aggressions, macro and micro, and he taught the right way to handle them. He also sent the Holy Spirit to live within humans and empower people to do what was hardest of all–to forgive.
Christians must live the gospel so brightly that the Light of the World shines on offenders and offended alike. Christians must carry the good news on their sleeves and in their hearts to all the people suffering from the fear and the destruction of aggressions both macro and micro. God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son to bring healing and reconciliation to all who suffer because of microaggresssion—sinful human nature. Even though all people are born that way, God’s good news is that all can be cleansed of the motivations for microaggression and all can be healed of the wounds inflicted by microaggressions.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. —Romans 5:8-10 ESV
by Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com
image source: http://eph.tuckdb.org/ licensed under cc by-sa