To begin, I am changing the details of this situation to protect identities.
I have a professional contact that is known to make "off color" jokes. I recently was around them while they did this. I smiled politely as they told a group jokes. I do not think I encouraged it but I also did not try to stop it.
Later when I was around a female co-worker, she basically reminded me that she will not be around this person because he is inappropriate. She was not at the meeting in which inappropriate comments were made, she just knows from past history. I said something along the lines of, "I am glad I did not bring a female with me for our recent meeting".
I feel guilty in a few regards. My questions:
1. As a Christian, is it my responsibility to try and stop inappropriate jokes in a social setting or just try not to be around those that consistently tell them?
2. I feel that I did not need to volunteer that I am glad I did not bring a female to the meeting. I feel that this was speaking bad about the customer behind their back without any need, though it was a true statement. Was I wrong to do this?
3. What can I do to fix or rectify this situation now?
Thanks in advance for any insight.
Given that I'm not up to speed with workplace protocols, I'll present a similar situation I was just involved in and see if this makes any sense to you. I moved from California to Florida a few years ago. It was just a fluke, in that I was helping someone move here. Given that I'd lived in California most of my life, he told me that it would be a culture shock in that is was the bible belt and it was the deep south. He related to me a story of a job he had contracted to do, but couldn't find good laborers. He went north and found three people in the trades he needed. These laborers were all black, and after he had gotten them situated in a motel, they inquired as to where a good place would be to go and hang out. He warned them in no uncertain terms that it was imperative that they remain in their motel rooms for the duration of the job. He then pointed to a large oak tree across the street and told them that this large oak is where they would be hanging out if the locals were to see them wandering around the neighborhood. This was quite a while in the past, but not that all that long ago.
I was sitting with some of my neighbors this afternoon shooting the breeze and one began talking about how one black family can move into a neighborhood and there won't be any problems, but if two or three move in, "there goes the neighborhood". This came from a snowbird from up north. One of my other neighbors from the same northern state nodded in agreement, and added that they all seem to have this entitlement mentality because of slavery. They both are quite liberal in their usage of terminology that is nowadays considered politically incorrect, and coming from a northern state which we are all told was instrumental in freeing slaves and establishing equality for the races, this may seem a bit strange to some people. One of the other neighbors also chimed in, but he's from the south. He grew up in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. He spent his youth picking cotton right along side black people. He also didn't seem to have any qualms about violating political correct usage or references to people of African American heritage. To someone looking in on this discussion, they might assume that this was a group of nasty racists, and I'm not sure that I wouldn't disagree to a certain extent. However, even in California I found people who were hard core racists that despised black people with quite a fervor. This wasn't like that especially from the guy who grew up in the south working with black people. People think usage of these unappealing terms designates some sort of racism, or scorn for black people, it really doesn't necessarily have that connotation at all. It's a convention, but it does seem to be used that way more by people from the north though, and people from the south don't seem to mind it, but I pointed out to this group that the war of the states was not about slavery, and that when a freed slave was discovered in the north, they were immediately sent back home. The civil war was a war over secession because of economics. Tariffs imposed by the north were putting a serious burden on southern farmers, even with slave labor, but these terms were conventional back then. Later terms like 'colored', or "black" were eventually replaced with "African American". Perhaps in the not too distant future we may find that this too will be looked at as a term of derision or contempt used only by rabidly hateful racists.
My point here is not to condone their behavior, but to also point out that we all have to get along as best we can. I don't have to use that terminology to do this, but I don't have to make a scene either and start pointing fingers at people calling them racists when it may not be the case at all. Jesus dined with sinners of the worst kind, and I don't doubt that they probably had some bad habits that Jesus put up with because he didn't come to condemn, but to save.
What I have found is that it's usually those who are a bit too fervent in their protestations that this is blatant racism that are attempting to hide their own shameful secrets, or a simple case of profound ignorance. There's this mentality that it is okay to make fun of oneself even to the point of crossing politically correct lines. A Jew can make jokes about Judaism, A Catholic can crack jokes about the pope, etc. Jesus can get away with pointing out that the Samaritan is a heretic to her face because he can also out that Samaritans are blessed because they can love their enemies better than the orthodox believers. When the politically correct start bending over backwards to atone for the sins of their fathers by making fervent pleas for reparations, they usually don't take into consideration those who grew up working right along side their black neighbors, or those who risked their lives to free slaves on the underground railroad. Correcting someone's off color behavior isn't going to change their heart, nor will removing oneself from the equation. Turning the other cheek, and speaking truth in love may go significantly farther though.
The fact that your conscience is functioning properly is a good sign, and one that indicates you're on the right track. There's an inertia to sin that can be irritating when we change tracks. Our brains just don't function quite as fast as our new outlook on life, and we say or do things that are holdovers from our old life of sin. We need not beat ourselves up over this. The fact that we see it shows us that we're on the right track. We can forgive those who are still on the wrong track while we forgive ourselves for what we're still doing unintentionally. Christ has forgiven both.
I don't know if the customer would like it if you apologized to him for your statements about his off color jokes; best to leave dead dogs lie. I think the same would apply for the coworker as well. I wouldn't apologize to either one as it only spotlights their own sin as well. I can also remember a time when someone told an off color joke to a group of us, and most of us all thought the joke was in bad taste, but I also noticed that it was the kind of joke that I probably would have laughed at in my youth. This was something that was embarrassing to me. I wasn't attempting to stifle a laugh, but almost immediately knew that this even though it was a bit revolting to me, I had to admit that I once would have found this funny in some sick way. I also knew that there was a time when I would have laughed AT the guy who told this joke rather than WITH him, as well as a time when I would have been judging him rather than judging myself.
Jesus is the model. He see's Himself in us. We need to see Him in our neighbors.