(Advance notice: This post is NOT about homosexuality or free speech.)
The whole Chik-fil-A thing last week has had me asking myself some hard questions, as well as asking some questions of God that I’ve never asked before.
I didn’t get involved in it. The nearest restaurant is over an hour away, and…well, I just stayed out of it.
But I did read some news articles, blog posts, and comments… enough to realize that that there was a vast difference between the reason many people went to Chik-fil-A on August 1st and the message that went out to certain parts of that world we’re supposed to love.
And that sent me on my knees (figuratively) before God.
Lord? How much responsibility should we take for how our message is received…regardless of how it’s meant? How do You view this thing that’s going on?
I don’t know that I got any answers, but I did find Him reminding me of a few things that we, American Christians, like to forget.
I found a question echoing through my spirit. Why did tens of thousands of Christians go to Chik-Fil-A on the 1st? Not what reason did people think they have, or accuse them of having, or even what reason they really had. But simply, when they were asked, what reason did they say they had? Taking it at face value.
The answer was almost universal… even for those who weren’t Christians but went anyway.
People said they are tired of being discriminated against because they say they believe the Bible. Whether we are discriminated against or not has nothing to do with my point. That’s what they say they are feeling.
And immediately after that came the words of Jesus:
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Is that what we Christians (as a whole) were doing that day?
Is that what we do here in America when we are persecuted oh-so-mildly?
Does the Christian church know how to rejoice while we’re in the midst of persecution?
2 thoughts on “Hard questions…”
Katie, I like your approach and the passage you quoted is timely. That said, I read a different emphasis in that passage. I don't think Christians are supposed to get excited about persecution itself. We're supposed to rejoice because of what that persecution implies: that we have been identifying ourselves with Christ and preaching His Word. The world naturally reacts to that with persecution because it undermines their teachings: that all gods are equal, truth is all relative and no one is really a sinner (so no salvation needed).
So while I'm glad to be in good company when people insult me or lie about my motivations, I don't enjoy the persecution itself, however mild. The thought that my children will likely someday suffer worse definitely doesn't thrill me. I know that someday Christians will not be free to buy or sell (Rev. 13:17) at all. As a Christian, I trust God to keep us strong and I give glory to Him for making us salt and light.
But my reaction as an American is that I have the right and responsibility to support our constitutional freedoms within my means. So as I read stories about Catholic business owners being told they can either go against their beliefs about buying health insurance with birth control coverage, or lose their business…I wish I had a way to support these Catholic business owners. Personally, I'm not against most forms of birth control just as I'm not opposed to the idea of granting rights to civil unions. I don't think I have to agree with their doctrine to support their freedom of conscience. But Americans are losing this freedom faster than most of us realize. And I don't see any reason not to fight for it for as long as we're able. My two cents. =)
Thanks for commenting!
I don't think it means to get excited about persecution either.
It does say "rejoice" though. It's a command. That is to be our reaction when we are persecuted, to rejoice and know we are blessed by a God whose blessing is not dependent upon what anyone on earth could say or do.
I'm just wondering how many of us were doing any rejoicing in anything at all when we read newscasts about the issue. I know I wasn't.
I agree that Americans are losing their freedoms in many walks of life and many ways. I believe the only way to truly fight it is through prayer, humility, and repentance, though. God said His people had to humble themselves and repent if they wanted their nation healed.
Are we Christians going to take Him at His word on that? Or are we going to keep acting like God doesn't know what He's talking about and we can get our nation healed by forcing the world to repent?
It's just not going to work.
I know I'm being hard on us… but that's what I see in this nation I love.
I have no power to force anyone else to repent. All I can do is ask and be willing to allow God to open my eyes to what I need to repent of.