Published in the Holland Sentinel on February 18, 2008 -
People have a bad habit of taking things to the extreme. Case in point: We pick words or phrases that we don't like and make them out to be completely bad, or even evil.
Take the word "discrimination." Many in our society would have you believe that any and all discrimination is wrong. I have to disagree. I don't believe that girls should be allowed in the Boy Scouts anymore than I believe boys should be allowed in the Girl Scouts. I don't believe male reporters should be allowed in the women's locker room anymore than women should be allowed in the men's locker room. Non-veterans should not be allowed to join clubs such as the VFW. Yet, to deny such access is technically "discrimination".
I do believe that a store should be allowed to decide which organizations may solicit contributions on its property without the threat of being sued for discrimination. I do believe that the emotionally unstable should not be allowed to be police officers. And I do believe that God discriminates against those who have refused to repent of their sins.
Anyone who says, "All discrimination is wrong and should not be tolerated," is an extremist. Although there are many types of inappropriate discrimination, there are also appropriate types. Extremist thinking and behavior of any sort should be challenged, so that common sense may prevail.
What does it mean to discriminate? According to my dictionary, it means to differentiate, to distinguish by discerning or exposing differences. Is all discrimination bad? I think not. Can discrimination be used in a godly way? I believe so.
I'm not talking about treating people badly because they're different. I am talking about understanding the difference between right and wrong. I am talking about distinguishing between what is acceptable to God and what is not. I am talking about identifying sin and what God says we should do about it.
It is not because of hatred that the Christian calls on others to identify and turn away from their sins. It is because of love for their fellow man and their love of God that they say such things. It is not discrimination against the person, but discrimination against the sin. Anyone who discriminates against sin is acting according to God's word. Anyone who hates others because of their sin is in direct violation of God's greatest commandment.
If those who understand what is right never correct me, how am I to know when I'm doing wrong? There is a huge difference between correction and condemnation. Just because someone points out my sins, that doesn't mean he is judging or condemning me. There is also a huge difference between earthly discrimination and biblical discernment. Directing me away from my sins should not be confused with discrimination.
The good news is that God's love for people and hatred of sin both come from the same heart. God's grace and judgment come from the same heart. We cannot have one without the other. We cannot stand in the comfort of God's mercy without first being convicted of our sins.
There can be no salvation until there is forgiveness; there can be no forgiveness until there is repentance; and there can be no repentance until there is confession. How can there be confession, if we don't know what to confess?
There are many forms of appropriate discrimination taking place every day across this great country. You have to be of minimum age to get a job. You have to be able to see in order to get a driver's license. You have to pass a physical to join the armed forces. You have to pass all your classes in order to graduate from school, etc.
Unfortunately, there are still way too many cases of inappropriate discrimination occurring daily as well. Racial discrimination is still one of this country's worst character flaws. Labeling Christians as hateful because they try to lead people to repentance is also wrong. What we all need to do is learn to discern right from wrong and help each other get on the right path.