I’m so tired of the term “safe”. We’ve been inundated with it for over two years now, maybe more. Safe spaces where no one can possibly be offended. Safe words and properly used pronouns and people who only possess emotions or convictions that are acceptable to the powers that be. Medical safety is demanded at the expense of personal liberties and freedom. Unquestioned compliance for safety’s sake. I have a truth bomb for y’all (am I allowed to say bomb?). In this fallen world, there is no safe. And if there is no safe, we might as well be honest.
Safe doesn’t exist. There is an amount of risk built into every single thing that we do. Driving isn’t safe. Flying isn’t safe (masked or unmasked). Walking across a street isn’t safe (especially if you’re looking at a cell phone). Speaking of cell phones, they aren’t safe. Eating certain foods isn’t safe (give me ALL the cookie dough). In some places, drinking the water and breathing air isn’t safe. In others, walking out the front door isn’t safe. For those suffering abuse, staying in their homes isn’t safe. Sending your kids to school certainly isn’t safe. In the cancel culture society in which we find ourselves, there isn’t any safety in our usage of certain words or ideas. There is no freedom of conscience when vocabulary tyranny reigns; the definition of words is changed indiscriminately and immediately by our betters in order to increase their own power and influence regardless of ours. However, our strict adherence and uncompromising compliance to their demands are expected. Our skin color binds us to unmovable labels and expectations. Increasingly, even our thoughts are deemed unsafe.
When I think of the word, “safe”, The Chronicles of Narnia immediately leaps to my mind. In a seminal moment, the heroines of the novel ask about Aslan, the King of Narnia (who also happens to be a lion), to their friends Mr. & Mrs. Beaver.
Susan: "Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
Mrs. Beaver: "If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
Lucy: "Then he isn't safe?"
Mr. Beaver: "Safe? ... Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King I tell you."
Though many people identify Aslan as Jesus, C.S. Lewis, was insistent that his novels were not allegorical. Instead, as Rowan Williams described it, Lewis “is trying to evoke what it feels like to believe in the God of Christian revelation”.
God isn’t a lion. However, if you were raised in the church (preferably a decidedly unsafe one), you understand that God IS love. But we are also taught that God is a God of justice. So, which is He? Depending on our perspective (or perhaps our level of understanding of our own sinfulness) we dismiss that He is a lion but believe that He is a judge lying in wait to give us punishment for failing to live up to His example at the first opportunity. Or, conversely, that He is the trusted friend conveyed in our childhood VBS songs whom we could always count on to understand and comfort us. We don’t know anyone else who can hold those two qualities together simultaneously so we assume that He is one or the other when, in fact, He is both. Jesus punishes sin and yet stops at nothing to save us from the sin that binds us. He is simultaneously loving and unwilling to ignore evil. That too should be our goal.
Nothing is safe and no one’s motives are completely pure in this world; not Fauci, not Harris, not Musk, not Ivey, not DeSantis, and certainly not Trump or Biden. There is only one Savior and none of those people are Him. But, perhaps we can catch a glimpse of what God is really like and what it feels like to truly believe in Him if we embrace the truthful rather than what is deemed by experts as safe. Perhaps, as we are striving to be like Jesus, we should be simultaneously loving and unyielding. Perhaps a renewed allegiance to truth and adherence to faith will give us each the courage to accept the personal risk to speak up for the truth regardless of the worldly consequences. Perhaps gaining the understanding that God is simultaneously loving and just will give us the courage to look past what we deem to be safe so we can boldly declare objective truth without hesitation. Be truthful and refuse to accept lies as though they are true. Stop looking to politicians and experts as saviors. Refuse to ignore evil and engage in the battle instead of choosing to sit on the sidelines in order to “stay safe”. Stop searching for safe. It doesn’t exist. Start looking for truth and act upon it. Then repeat.
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