Wokeness and Christian Elitism
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
Most of us, unless we’re on the extreme far left on the political spectrum, have probably experienced a sense of condescension coming from those who consider themselves to be the socially enlightened. Convinced that they’re right and that the rest of us are ignorant flat-earthers, they exude an arrogance that looks down on the ignorant. Insulating themselves with others of like mind, they find themselves to be better than anyone who disagrees. There’s little room for civil debate. Everyone else is stupid and they have no qualms with letting others know how wrong they are.
As annoying as this intellectual snobbery can be, I’ve known a lot of Christians whom I could describe with the same words. In fact, I can be guilty of this myself. I know I’m right because my convictions come from my faith. So, if you disagree with me, you’re not just opposing me, but God. Everyone else in the world is stupid, and, because of my faith, I feel justified in saying so – even though it really annoys me when others do this.
In today’s passage, Paul warned of this kind of elite Christian arrogance. He said that he would never boast, except in the transforming power of the cross. In knowing Christ, he’d been given a new life and that was the only thing about which he could brag. I was lost, but Christ saved me. Some of the Christians in Galatia felt they were better than others because they were circumcised. They looked down on those who weren’t and used this snobbery to control other’s behavior. Paul reprimanded the elites, reminding them that they were nothing without Christ and that his transforming power was the only good thing about them. In bragging about their own accomplishments, they proved that they’d not yet really allowed God to transform them.
We don’t like it when others treat us with elitist condescension, and so, we shouldn’t do it in return. But we know we’re right, we say – as if being right makes it OK to be hateful, arrogant, and judgmental. It’s not wrong to believe we’re right. Our faith would be worthless without conviction. It is, however, possible to believe rightly while acting wrongly. God doesn’t ask us to be prideful, hateful jerks for him. If we do boast, it should only be to tell others what God has done for us. I was lost, but Christ saved me.