This past week or so, i've been doing a lot of thinking and some 'soul searching', if you will, about the whole Chick fil A thing, my Christian faith, homosexuality and its growing influence upon our society, the Bible's definition of marriage vs the world's definition, the recent debates (discussions?) on fb in which i've engaged, and the big blinking neon question that overarches it all: Am I living out my life as a Stench to the Gospel Cause or, as the Word commands me to be, 'the sweet fragrance of Christ'?
I want to continue praying about this, but feel like the Lord is teaching me what it means to love on people right where they are at. To reach out to people different than myself (and by that, i mean WAY different - it's good for me), to befriend people He brings across my path who may not be my 'first choice' if i were to handpick my friends, and to really allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through me.
Yes, sharing the truth of God's Word and standing up for truth is good, right, holy, and commanded by God. But I sense He is wanting to teach me that it's all about in how we go about it. People are going to get offended when confronted with Scripture, it's a no brainer. but when we talk about it and about the character of God like it's somehow 'our' truth or 'our' great revelation that we feel compelled to 'enlighten' others with, that just seems like it would be a turn-off for anyone. it seems as though that's what Jesus was talking about when he fiercely rebuked the Pharisees: adding to the law, putting it on people's backs as a burden, looking down on others, etc. when, all the while, they themselves needed their hearts broken through repentance and humbly accepting Jesus as KING.
Why go in circles with friends (or strangers!) about how WRONG a particular sin is when perhaps that friend or stranger first needs to meet Jesus in a saving, radically transforming way? It's like two people arguing over the proper structure of an atom before actually seeing it through a microscope. If someone doesn't 'see' the real issue at hand (their current state of sin and their need for a Savior), how can they have a conviction about its implications? And I'm certainly not referring strictly to those individuals within the LGBT community. I'm talkin' about everybody - from the ax murderer on death row to the sweet old lady down the street. everybody.
While I'm all for demonstrating your Constitutional Rights such as peaceful assembly and freedom of speech (although the Constitution is NOT the Gospel), I guess I just don't see how picketing anti-abortion signs or anti-gay marriage signs on a street corner really woo people unto the beauty of the Risen Christ. Doesn't it kinda (or really!) have the opposite effect??
I'm not saying I'm for abortion or gay marriage, but I'm also not saying that walking around with signs is what Jesus would have done. I think he probably would have invited 'those people' who thought differently from Him into his home for a meal (in fact, I know He broke bread with them since it says so in the Bible). I think he would have engaged them, taken an interest in their lives, prayed for and with them, laughed with them, cried with them, loved on them. Yes, He would have shared with them who He was, who they were (sinners in need of salvation), and what He was preparing to do. But i don't think He robotically marched back and forth, picketing. He got into their worlds and showed them how He genuinely wanted to be in their life. From what I see in the Word, it would appear that's how God primarily draws people - through relationship, not demonstrations, rhetoric, or debates. God is a big God. I'm sure some babies have been saved from one of those signs. perhaps. but i think it's safe to say many more were able to take their first breath upon birth due to another woman lovingly reaching out and sharing hope with their mother.
One article floating around on fb last week was about how the Chick fil A issue was 'all about Jesus'. While everything is indeed under Christ's sovereign reign, I had to disagree with the main premise of this article. Sure, the Chick fil A issue certainly had to do with Biblical values being at stake and the Constitutional right to stand for those values. But I don't see how eating at the establishment* was a massive effort (much less a successful massive effort) to share the hope of the Gospel with others 'out there'. The way I see it, if a company who supported values of a different mindset or faith came under fire for doing so, I would sincerely hope to see many supporters of those values peacefully demonstrating their support, in a likewise manner. While I may not agree with their stance on a particular issue, I respect their right to peacefully demonstrate their personal support of it. Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said, "I [may] disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
I also recently watched one video about a Christian organization who pickets street corners, defending the traditional (Biblical) view of marriage. While it was quite revealing to watch them get repeatedly flipped off, pelted at with rocks, beat up, spit upon, signs ripped in two, yelled at with obscenities, and even sprayed down with mace and pesticide by the very people who tout 'tolerance' and 'acceptance' for all, I felt like saying, 'Soooo. This is totally Constitutional - you are exercising your rights. That's all fine and well. but exactly how is this sharing the Gospel??' They kept referring to the attackers as 'the homosexuals'. While I do believe that homosexuality (like many other things!) is a sin, since it says so in Scripture, I think that's honestly disrespectful to reference another human being in such a degrading manner, as though our sexual orientation is the sum and substance of our being & identity. It's not. Ironically enough, however, the homosexual community self-imposes this as being their primary identity marker and are 'Proud' of it. The truth is, we are all made in His image. We are all humans with a soul, an eternal soul. We are all sinners (not my truth -God's truth found in His word). We are all in need of a Savior.
He is to be our ultimate identity.
Again, i'm not condoning compromise or people-pleasing. I just want to be more like Jesus in loving people unconditionally while humbly sharing the Truth of His Word. If they listen, great. I'll share more. It's not my truth anyway, it's His. If they choose not to listen, then that's between them and God. I can still serve, reach out to, and love that person.
Are we willing to step out of our comfort zones and purposefully seek out people who are 'different' from us? i think if we did, we'd realize how not-so-different he or she may really be. Both made in God's image, both sinners in need of radical salvation, both brimming with a unique personality/ gifts/talents, etc. Just a thought.
*yes, i ate at Chick fil A that day. I did it to peacefully demonstrate my Constitutional rights and to support the right for free enterprise corporations to be able to take a stand for things they believe in. The issue just happened to be something I heartily agree with, but I didn't go to 'make a point' for God.