I ate chicken today. I stood in a long line that took a half an hour to get through in order to eat a chicken sandwich.
Many people are saying today was a day promoting hate.
I say that today was a day to celebrate love. Love for a company that stands firm in what it believes – despite the fact that what they believe may be unpopular. Love for the staff at our local establishment who know us and love on my kids – even when we come in for free activities and don’t buy any food. Love for a community that united together to stand up for American’s rights. Love for a country that allows us the freedom of speech. Love for my neighbor and the right for them to have their own opinion. And love for my God who loves each one of us individually and created each of us in His image.
I have seen many bloggers say to stay away from Chick-fil-A today because Christians are supposed to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39). But it wasn’t about that. It wasn’t even supposed to be a Christians vs. the World kind of thing. It was about our freedom as Americans being stripped away by a society who isn’t as interested in tolerance as they might claim. It was about standing up for one man’s right to speech. But for Christians, everything should be about standing up for the Gospel.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the Gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you” – Phil. 1:27-28.
What should our response be when we know that wrong is being done to someone? Especially in a country that prides itself on the “freedom” of its citizens. Do we turn the other cheek, or do we stand together for what’s right?
If you say that Jesus would have turned the other cheek, then you and I must not know the same Jesus. My Jesus came to worship in the temple and found some money changers selling there. Did He just turn the other cheek?
“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves” – Matt. 21:12.
Can you just imagine the looks on the people’s faces when this Jesus, who had a reputation of healing the sick and calling the little children to come to Him, threw the money changers out of the temple? Does that sound like a passive Jesus to you?
And how about when Jesus was attacked by the Pharisees for His teachings and beliefs?
“And they watched Jesus,to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come here.’ 4 And He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. 5 And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against Him, how to destroy Him” – Mark 3:2-7.
So I am wondering what a modern-day American Jesus would do if a person’s rights were being stripped away? I wonder if He would have turned the other cheek or if He would have stood for the man’s rights. I wonder if He would have been standing in the middle of the masses who flocked to Chick-fil-A today.
This same Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus condone hating another person. In fact, the Bible even says that if we hate that we are not of God. I John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
But as I stood in line today, I didn’t sense an air of hostility. In fact, everyone was quite cheerful – despite having to stand outside in the heat for half an hour to get their meal. And despite the abundance of people, the Chick-fil-A staff were still smiling and friendly. They still seemed to feel it was “my pleasure” to serve each individual today. I didn’t sense any hatred in the air. And I didn’t hear anyone asking anyone else about their sexual orientation. Every. Single. Person. was served until the restaurants ran out of food.
So what are we supposed to do? Was it right to stand in line today to make a statement for what we believe to be right?
Well, first of all, we are supposed to hate the sin. Anything that God says is sin should be hated.
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” – Prov. 6:16-19.
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” – I Cor. 6:9-10.
I don’t know about you; but between these two verses, I can assure you that I have done some things that are abominable to God! And I hope you hate my sin. I know I do.
But second, and most importantly, we need to promote love. But not man’s definition of love – God’s love. Let’s not forget something when we strive to stand up for what’s right:
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” – I Cor. 6:11.
Now that’s love! That He would take a worthless sinner like me and wash me clean so that I am no longer an abomination!
So I hope you enjoyed your chicken today. I know that I did. But let’s remember that the people who are offended by our stand for one man’s rights are sinners just like we are! They were created in God’s image, too. And He loves them – just as He loves you.
Let’s not lose sight of that – even when we are standing for what we know is right.