One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.
In this Scripture, Paul cites one of the famous poets from Crete saying that his fellow Cretians are lying, knuckle dragging, lazy brutes. Rather than rebuking this politically incorrect stereotype of this small, island region brutally “colonized” by the Roman Empire, Paul affirms it.
How contrary is the wisdom of God to the wisdom of this age. In our day, we are virtually forbidden from making generalizations about any people group or culture (unless of course we are talking about white people of European descent). Such a thing is considered to be “racist” but the Scriptures are far more nuanced.
As we see in God’s word, God doesn’t think like the world. Through Paul, he affirms the negative stereotype of the Cretians. Not only that, his prescription for addressing this in the church in Crete is to “rebuke them sharply.” This may sound harsh but the stereotype was TRUE and love rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6).
The command to rebuke them was not to shame and defeat them, but “that they may be sound in the faith.” The rebuke brought the societal sins which typified this people into the light. For the lover of God, sin is made manifest by the light that it may be mortified.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
It is for this reason that preaching the gospel in the streets during the recent protests was declared to be inappropriate under the guise that “this is not the time for that.” Some do not believe the Bible is relevant to the social, political and life issues of today because they reject that “Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies” and the implications of Paul’s affirmation of that message.
To put it another way, people do not see the gospel as relevant because they do not acknowledge how their own sins factor into the equation. It doesn’t help that many Christian leaders and pastors are pandering to this mindset. In light of this prevailing deception, is it any wonder why people do not see the gospel as relevant to the struggles of our times?