Christians today hold firmly to the 11th Commandment, and the 11th Commandment is, “Thou Shalt Be Nice,” and we don’t hold to the other ten. (Dr. Voddie Baucham)
Dr. Voddie Baucham is my new go-to guy. He is the quintessential Man of God who speaks forthright and without fear, yet he speaks with clarity and Biblical compassion. In a word, Baucham speaks with Biblical wisdom and discernment. It is alarming Evangelicals cannot communicate in clear and concise Biblical terms without appeals to Cancel Culture from the Left. When the few Evangelicals do dare to register their voice into the public square to enter a Biblical voice into the conversation, they can be sure secular society will be ready to respond with allegations of them “being non-Christian or non-Christlike, of being intolerant or unloving.
Baucham shares my disdain for the radical feminization of our culture. Even individuals vaguely familiar with the truth claims of Jesus Christ are apt to be familiar with the Biblical citation of “a bruised reed He would not crush” (Matthew 12:20). But as is often the case, they quote the passage failing to demonstrate understanding of the passage’s proper grammatical-historical context.
The careful student of the Bible would similarly be familiar with passages like, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s and all uncleanness.” Or even better, how about this for those who love to quote a bruised He will not crush out of its full context, “But as for those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them in front of me” (Luke 19:27).
When you interject the false narrative that I must be nice because, well, Jesus was always nice and Q.E.D., the followers of Jesus Christ must be similarly nice, you clearly demonstrate your gross ignorance of the things of God. You are likely the same person who loves to quote “the Bible says you can’t judge” when the Bible never teaches any such thing.
Thus, Brother Voddie is spot-on in his analysis of the larger society believing the Eleventh Commandment must be Thy Shalt be Nice, all the while disobeying a whole slew of things the Bible does command. My chief alarm is when alleged followers of Jesus Christ employ this tactic. One should never expect people outside the Ark of Safety to handle the Word of God correctly. Yet, such should never be the case for those who claim fidelity to Jesus Christ.
I will submit much of the wrangling about niceties coincide with the aforementioned radical feminization of our culture. My parents raised me to look people squarely in the eye and speak with confidence, never in an ostentatious manner but in a way where I could stand on my own two feet. In a word, my parents raised me to be a Man.
The secular elites despise the concept of manhood today, especially Biblical manhood. The Left labels what I would regard as Biblical manhood as toxic masculinity. Speaking your mind on a matter, especially a controversial one is a sure recipe to be labeled as one who is oppressive or, even worse, misogynistic.
Sad, because many Evangelicals, especially those of XY chromosome, shrink into the background with nary a whimper. Tragically, Evangelicals continue to give up the high ground unnecessarily because all the while, Jesus Christ told us upfront the world would hate us due to His namesake, that we will be scorn and ridiculed.
I regret the Church will continue to fail miserably to live up to, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet (Matthew 5:13). You see, once we lost our saltiness given so graciously by the Holy Spirit, it will be gone, never to return.
So, what about it, you, the reader? How are you doing with speaking God’s Truth in your sphere of influence? Do you take the opportunity to speak God’s Truth when the opportunity arises? Do you speak for the unborn when the topic of abortion surfaces? Do you step into the dialogue when the question of what constitutes a Biblical marriage surface? Do you dare to uphold God’s divine and sovereign right to determine the gender of His creation?
Or are you one who Dr. Baucham describes when these conversations arise you spend the first fifteen minutes apologizing with a litany of qualifications so as to retain your status of nice? Well, in classic Ricky Verndale Kyles Sr. fashion, let me call a spade a spade. You are a coward, through and through! You are not nice; you are weak and tepid. You make it harder for the men and women who courageously step into it. You allow the enemy to state, “you are nothing like fill-in-the-blank.” They are right because we are nothing like you, and for that, I am most thankful. You see, we, by faith and not by sight, choose to live in “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7) [emphasis mine].
I chose the topic of niceness because of an encounter such just this past weekend. I shared on Facebook my perspective it was far safer to run in one particular area of the Southside of Chicago over another area. My perspective was grounded in the reality of my previous experience while in Chicago a few weeks prior. I chose to run in predominately African American neighborhoods during this trip to Chi-town.
During my Sunday evening run during this trip to Chi-town, the day after burying my baby brother, I headed East on 119th Street as I had done the entire time I was in Chicago during this trip. I believe that day, the plan was to run six miles, so I ran three miles out and then proceeded to retrace my route to run the planned six miles. On the leg out, no problem. On my return leg, the Chicago Southside confronted me with the ever-present danger of being out and about in the inner city. About a mile and a half from my destination, I ran into the Police roping off the street to record the scene of a recent shooting.
Of course, this reality gave me serious pause, and for good reasons. Who wants to be an innocent victim of a shooting while out running? Running is supposed to be an opportunity to get your endorphins firing and your metabolism flowing, not to place your life in danger.
My Aunt Minnie immediately cautioned me to no longer take this route and proceed West on 119th Street. I wisely took her counsel, and I admit I immediately felt more secure and experienced less anxiety taking this route.
My reaction of fear and anxiety is grounded in clear and irrefutable data. Depending on the source you trust and believe, anywhere from 7.5 to 8K African Americans were murdered last year by those of the black and brown hue. Yet, the ubitiquous narrative of The Left is African Americans must live in fear of the dreaded Police. Lebron James lamented how he is afraid of literally leaving his front porch for Pete’s sake! By the way, for people like me who seek to write about contemporary affairs, Lebron James is the gift that just keeps on giving. I will never suffer for want of pertinent material to ponder and write with Mr. James opining about current affairs.
Providentially, I ran across a YouTube video of Michelle Obama lamenting how she feared for the safety of her two daughters. Mind you, Mrs. Obama was not expressing fear of her daughters being harmed by someone of the black or brown hue but, wait for it! Mrs. Obama’s fear was of the Police. You know the big, bad Police who, according to the Left, are hunting down and slaughtering African Americans with impunity.
It was in this context I shared my perspective of the lunacy of such a worldview. Please keep in mind the vast unlikelihood either of the two Obama daughters would ever be in a scenario where their lives would ever be in danger from law officials. I am sorry if I need to elaborate on this premise; you are not worth the time of day.
Anything is, of course, in the realm of possibility, but I will just state as forceful and direct as I can; this is fearmongering of the most heinous nature. For someone who lives in Martha’s Vineyard, as the Obamas do, to postulate they genuinely fear for their offspring is to appropriate the words of Brandon Tatum is to classify them as stupid, evil, or both?
I know, I know, this is a prime evidence of me not being nice. Well, being nice is overrated, and there is no Biblical command for me to be nice in the first place. My Biblical warrant is to speak the Truth in Love, period, end of story, full stop!
I close by sharing a Facebook response to my post concerning my decision to no longer run Eastward on 119th Street:
How bout all 3 of y’all got some truth in what you’re saying. Quiet as it’s kept, I’m a little afraid of being west of Western Ave after dark. And because of being stopped in the past and asked” “Why are you in the area?” I am careful of traveling near 103rd through 119th and Western when I’m home visiting. Not because of crime per say, but because of being stopped and harrased by the police. My nephew has been forbidden from driving through the area by us because our family don’t want him”accidentally” shot. Crime is not the only fear for a lot of us. I would dare to say you bet not turn left or right in other neighborhoods as well.
I replied with the following:
Totally irrational! You and xxxxx xxx are not living in the real world.
For you to interject your nephew’s greatest fear is being harassed by the police is preposterous and without any empirical merit. You keep instillin irrationality in your nephew. I am not a math major, but I know enough your nephew’s greatest danger is not the police; it is not the white man. It is someone black or brown. For the last time with you, 8k AAs were killed last year, killed by fellow AAs!
The banter went on back and forth (for the record, I did attempt to call the person, but they chose not to pick up) for several more posts. I share the last and most pertinent reply which buttresses the thesis of my blog post:
I have no idea what you’re talking about me in instructing you what you can and cannot do. I, in no way, was attempting to be your surrogate mom…. sorry your mom is no longer with us here on earth. You are very harsh with anything I have to say and you go on the attack, ruthlessly, with any comment that I express. Whether my thoughts are out of line or not in your opinion, a little more tact could be used in your approach. No, I’mnot saying water down the Truth, I’m saying just use more tact and don’t assume the person is insinuating the worst (emphasis mine).
In conclusion, I did indeed categorize my objector’s thoughts as irrational. Yet, please note I never I attacked the objector on a personal basis. You see, when you enter the public fray, your words and ideas are fair game for public scrutiny. Please note I made the point African Americans kill one another at a rate THREE TIMES the rate of Caucasians & Hispanics combined!
Hence, you now have both the context of my rejection of Michelle Obama’s groundless claim and my decision to go West, not East, when I came to 119th Street. Remember the opening salvo of my objector, “How bout all 3 of y’all got some truth in what you’re saying.” Word to the wise: never a good way to enter a conversation and expect the outcome to be pleasant.
Yet, when I respond forcefully and directly to the groundless retort to my perspective, I am classified as being harsh, in a word, as not being nice.
Well, my departing salvo is it is never my aim to be nice. Nor do I want to be a butthole either, but my pursuit will never be for secular society to regard me as nice. I have no aspirations whatsoever of someone attending my homegoing and spouting; Ricky was such a nice person.
No, my hope, my most profound and most earnest hope would be there be a whole plethora of Brothers and Sisters in Christ who would be most anxious to say on that day, Ricky delighted to speak without apology or fear to speak God’s Truth, all day, errday and twice on Sundays. He did it not so he could look smart; he did it because his chief aim, he only aim really, was to hear His Savior say, “Ricky, well done! Well done, Ricky!”
Right, word or indifferent, this is my worldview. Jesus Christ does not call nor charge Evangelicals to be nice; He calls Evangelicals to be truth-tellers. The truth can and does hurt sometimes. But if received, the truth can and will set one free.
As always, let me know what you think. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One!