Thursday, December 19, 2013
Stand Firm!...But Don't Be An Idiot
As most of you reading this are aware, Phil Robertson of nationally acclaimed "Duck Dynasty," has gotten into some trouble. In an interview with GQ magazine, Robertson expressed his beliefs about homosexual behavior. In a nutshell, Robertson quoted Scripture about homosexual practice being sinful, and without repentance, something that will keep individuals from inheriting the kingdom of God. He also goes on to list other sins besides homosexuality, and he expresses that he too was a sinner who needed Jesus Christ as his Savior.
The outrage from the LGBT community and organizations like GLADD led A&E to suspend Robertson indefinitely from the television show. Which - on a side note - I'm not sure how that is going to work considering the show is filmed at Robertson's house, business, and among his family. A&E immediately rushed to separate themselves from Robertson's comments by expressing that his words are an expression of his personal beliefs, not their beliefs.
A&E's decision yesterday went viral. Every other post and comment on Facebook and Twitter is talking about this decision. Many people are writing articles and blog posts, like this one, to give their opinion on the matter. Most of the people I follow, and are friends with, are outraged. Of course, there is a large segment of people in the country who are happy to see this decision made because the comments from Robertson were offensive to them. So once again we have a nation divided over morality, particularly over homosexuality. This issue is simply not going to go away or die down.
A Piece of Advice
There are many good things written today about this topic (here and here). What I want to offer is a piece of advice for Christians on how to handle this and other situations that are sure to arise over this topic.
1. Stand Firm. Christians may not be in the moral majority on this topic, but we must continue to stand firm on Scripture's teachings, not the culture's ebbs and flows. We do not take our cue from the opinions of man, but we lean in to what God has to say, through His Word, and allow that to form our worldview.
2. Don't Be An Idiot. There is not a gentler way for me to say it. Yes, as Christians, we think Phil Robertson got hosed. We see this as an attack not on just his family, but us. We feel attacked. We feel ostracized. We feel muzzled. However, "how" we stand up in this world to represent Scripture's teachings is just as important as "what" we are standing up for.
I have already witnessed Christians on Facebook and Twitter ranting and raving about how the culture just wants to make us all love homosexuality. I have seen people ready to boycott A&E. I have seen people quoting Scripture about homosexuality's sinfulness. I'm not saying that any of these people are wrong in their response to Robertson's suspension/firing, but I am saying we could easily cross over into sin in our response if we are not careful.
Consider Jesus' Example
Did Jesus affirm sin or wink at it from a distance? No. He stood firm on the truths of God's Word. But we do not see Jesus protesting in order to be heard. We do not see Jesus demonizing the sinners he was trying to rescue from bondage. Think about the woman caught in adultery in John 8. She was thrown at Jesus' feet, apparently caught in the act of adultery. The religious leaders want Jesus to condemn her according to the law. But instead of grab stones to hurl at her, Jesus confronts the religious leaders about their own sin. He gives them permission to stone her, if they are able to say they are without sin. When they are unable to lift a rock, they leave. However, Jesus, before parting with the woman, says to her, "Go and sin no more."
Jesus showed compassion to the woman. He did not demonize her as "one of those people." He did not excuse her actions or say that it was okay. He gave her a strong command to go and sin no more. He called her to repent and leave her sin behind. He called her to a new way. But he also demonstrated a humble compassion for her. He showed gentleness.
The Pharisees were outraged at her. Jesus was calm and kind. The Pharisees wanted blood, to prove they were right and to stand up for God's Word. Jesus, stood up for God's Word, but did it in such a way that is was less about being proven right, and more about the person.
I give this example as a guide for us believers. Do I believe homosexuality is a sin? Yes. Do I believe Scripture teaches very clearly about this topic? Yes. Do I believe Phil Robertson is getting a raw deal? Yes. Do I believe Christians are being increasingly muzzled in our culture about our beliefs? Yes. So let's stand firm in our support of Phil. Let's stand firm in our beliefs about what the Bible teaches. Let's stand firm on our rights to voice our opinions and exercise free speech. But let's not act like idiots in the process.
Not every gay person or non-believer is out to get you. Believers, not everyone in the world has a bone to pick with us. In the aftermath of the "Duck Dynasty" controversy, let's not respond sinfully in our responses. Let's fight for our responses to honor God, show compassion, and exercise wisdom. People in the LGBT community are fighting for what they believe is right. They do not believe the way we believe. They do not have the eyes to see the truth. To them, the gospel way is foolishness.
However, gay people are not our enemies...and even if they were, we serve a Master who commands us to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). Let's remember this in our social media and water cooler conversations.
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