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Mar 28, 2013

Right Idea, Wrong Approach

3:30am came quickly this morning. My wife and I went shopping for an Easter outfit yesterday evening. Looked in 6 different stores for a pair of yellow jeans to match my son Liam on Easter Sunday. Didn’t find any. Went home, defeated, exhausted, frustrated. Thankfully, Liam went to sleep by 8:30, and we were in bed by 10.


At 3:30am, as he has been doing routinely for the past week or so, Liam woke me up with a series soft cries that eventually turned to loud cries. The night shift belongs to me, so I stumbled out of bed, threw on some sweat pants, got a bottle ready and went to feed the little booger.


After he finished his bottle, I laid him down and much to my delight he went right back to sleep. I walked back downstairs to my room, and as I usually do following the 3:30am feeding, I jumped on Facebook from my phone. I have no idea why I do this. Reading the several statuses of my friends and some people who I’m quite sure I’ve never met always seems to wake me up more than it relaxes me. Yet, rather than go back to sleep, I continue to do this night after night.


Last night though, I came across a status that I kept reviewing in my mind over and over, and I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this:


“Marriage was designed for one woman, and one man. It’s time that we, as Christians, take a stand for what we believe in!”


I’ve seen several statuses similar to this one over the course of the last few days. While I’ve never really thought much about it before, I found myself pondering over this one. It wasn’t that this particular status was any more radical or out of the ordinary than any of the others that I’ve read, it’s that this particular time as all of my general distractions were removed and my household was asleep, I thought deeply about those two sentences.


I broke it into two parts – “Marriage was designed for one woman, and one man.”

The first part I knew that I completely agreed with. I know that God made man, and then he made woman. God knew that one was incomplete without the other, so he made them complete. Marriage amongst one man and one woman is Biblical. It’s hard to argue any other way.


Then I examined the second half of that status: It’s time that we, as Christians, take a stand for what we believe in!”

I found myself pondering over this sentence. What exactly does it look like for Christians to take a stand against gay marriage, or for that matter anything that goes against our beliefs and principles? I can say I’ve seen this done the wrong way often, and very rarely done the right way.


Christians (and really all people) like to use Facebook and Twitter as a platform to voice their opinions, and rightfully so. After all, it is your personal Facebook profile, your Twitter profile, you are free to post whatever, whenever, to whoever you would like. The problem is that it’s probably safe to say that most Facebook users have at least 2 or 3 non-Christians friends on Facebook who see their updates. As Christians, one of our main missions on Earth should be to share Christ with others who do not know him, to show his love through our actions. If that’s not one of your missions as a follower of Christ, I think that you should review your priorities.


Let me ask you this – when was the last time your Facebook status changed someone’s personal outlook about anything at all? In fact, it always helps to put yourself on the opposite end of the spectrum. What happens when you see a status that belittles, diminishes or denies the name of God or the things that you believe in? I can tell you how I feel. I feel offended, upset, and I often become defensive. This is natural if someone trashes on something you are passionate about. Almost like it sets a fire inside of you. Yet, rarely (in my case I can say never) does it ever sway your belief or opinion.


Now go back to the gay marriage supporter, or atheist, or whoever it may be that sees your radical status, or “Tweet”. Do you feel that you have a great chance to change their outlook, especially after you put yourself in that position? The answer is ultimately no. This brings me back to the reason we put these kinds of things on the internet for all to see. If our mission on Earth is to love Jesus and tell and show others of his great love, how does posting things like this, or saying things like this from whatever platform you have, work toward that mission? In my opinion, it actually goes against it.


So the only logical reason people post these kinds of things is for personal gratification, to which I say this: gratify yourself offline. The gay and lesbian community, they already know that Christians don’t support their lifestyles. They don’t need us to repeatedly tell them over social media.


What is the right way to do it? Obviously, I don’t believe we should be silent. A common misconception amongst many Christians is that Jesus simply dwelt among the sinners without ever discouraging their sins, and this is not the case. In John 8, Jesus stands up for a woman caught in the act of adultery. You probably know the story:


John 8:6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.


We remember this story, yet we often never examine the end of the story:


10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”


 Jesus stood in the gap first, and confronted last. This is the model that we should live by, yet often times we do things in the opposite order. We condemn first, wait and hope that person accepts our words and turns from their ways. Then we decide we can have a relationship with them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often.

When you show the love of Christ by loving someone even though you disagree with their views or lifestyles, you build a level of trust and respect with that person, thus opening the door for you to reach them with the message of Christ. This is what Jesus did, and this is what we should do.

Thanks to all for reading!

- Devin