Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 28, 2012

Of Chicken Sandwiches and Other Things

It is no news to anyone that Chick-fil-A is presently in the middle of a political controversy that involves much more than a chicken sandwich. The furor revolves around a statement made by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy to the Baptist Press where he is quoted as saying that the company was “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family.” In later comments he is also quoted as saying: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”

The statement has initiated an out-pouring of opposition from gay rights advocates and supporters, including a call for a boycott of Chick-fil-A, the withdrawal of Muppet toys from Chick-fil-A happy meals by the Jim Henson Company, and announcements by politicians in major cities that Chick-fil-A restaurants are not welcome there. Not to be outdone, however, supporters of Chick-fil-A have rallied and called for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn. Which side are you on?

As I thought about this controversy, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotations from C. S. Lewis. “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” As a Christian, what I think about this or any other controversy must be viewed through the eyes of my faith. It’s not what I think, but what God says. So instead of turning to news reports, listening to talk shows, or surveying public opinion, I turn to my Bible. What does the Bible have to say? I sincerely feel that the Bible teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman (see Matthew 19:4-6). Likewise, the Bible also teaches that as longsuffering as God is with our erring ways, we can exhaust His patience and receive judgment (see Genesis 6:3-8 and Genesis 18:16-33; Genesis 19:1-26 for just two examples). While others may not agree with Cathy’s comments, that is what the Bible says. Either we believe it or we don’t.

But I’ve learned, as in everything in this life, the Bible has a lot to say to me personally in the midst of this national controversy. How does God want me to respond? On the one hand I want to wave my Bible high in the air and scream, “Read this! It has the words of life!” On the other hand, I know that not everyone believes as I do, even within the Christian community, and that God loves them and Jesus died for them just as He did for me. Even Jesus Himself stated: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

Thus begins a few things that God is teaching me about my response – and it all goes back to Jesus.

  • First of all, I must keep on keeping on. Instead of becoming embroiled in bitter debate, I must recognize the urgency of reaching a lost world for Christ. If we’re saved, we have a job to do. We must keep on working for the Lord wherever He has called us to serve Him, doing the job He has given us to do. As Jesus stated during His earthly ministry: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).

 

  • Secondly, I must practice the love and acceptance that Jesus taught. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). True, sacrificial love is what will win a lost world to Christ. Jesus Christ, Himself, is the best example we have of such love. He loved the tax collector, the prostitute, the Pharisee, and the sinner. He loved the disciple who denied Him and the non-believers who persecuted Him. He loved the sick and afflicted, the children and the helpless. He loved the rich young ruler and the demon-possessed. He loved those who rejected Him and those who received Him. Jesus’ love was without prejudice or discrimination. And His love took Him to the cross to die for every last one of us, whether we love Him and seek Him or whether we reject Him and curse Him. He died in our place because He loves us. Can I do any less?

 

 

  • Thirdly, I must live a life that honors God. Jesus taught: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). If I claim to be a Christian, I have a responsibility to live a life that honors God and that points others to Him. It has been said that our lives are the only gospel that some people will ever read. How humbling is that? Does my life attract others and make them want to know my Savior, or does it cause them to turn away? Do I live in obedience to God’s Word even in the midst of controversy and division, or do I allow popular opinion or political correctness to sway my thinking? I’m failing both God and others when I know the truth, but keep it to myself and avoid taking a sometimes hard and unpopular stand.

 

  • Finally, I must recognize that we are all guilty in God’s eyes. It doesn’t matter whether we are conservative or liberal, straight or gay, rich or poor, we are all guilty before God. Jesus stated: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20). Simply stated, we have all sinned and we are all guilty! Even if I follow all kinds of rules and do countless good works (like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day), I am still guilty. Why? Because I have sinned. None of us are perfect and there are no little sins or big sins in God’s eyes. There is just sin and God hates all of it because it cost His dear Son His very life. Furthermore, we’re all responsible before God for our own sin. There is only one way to truly be righteous before God and that is by confessing our faith in Jesus Christ (see Romans 3:21-26). When we confess our sin, repent and turn from it, and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are in effect clothed with Christ. No longer does God see our filthiness, but He sees the righteousness of Christ covering us. Then as we surrender to Him, and allow Christ to work in and through us, we can become the people of God He created us to be.

As I consider all of these things, I realize that I have plenty I need to talk over with Jesus. There is a little verse tucked away in Proverbs 16:7: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Argument and debate generally will not bring people to Christ. But neither will we witness to others if we fail to stand up for Christ and be obedient to His Word. However, when we not only tell someone what the Bible teaches, but also live it out in our daily lives, Jesus is glorified and lives are changed through Him.

Years ago I remember an old pastor make a comment that has stuck with me through the years. “You don’t preach about hair, makeup, or clothes you wear. You just preach Jesus. When a person has Jesus, He will take care of the rest!” Perhaps that’s good advice for us today as well. What this world really needs are not battle lines being drawn and sides being chosen for a political showdown. What we all need is Jesus. He will take care of the rest.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”

 (2 Peter 3:9).

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