I woke up later than usual this morning, which always makes me cranky because I feel like I’m having to catch up all day. And it didn’t help that the first things which greeted me when I checked my Twitter feed and email was more “tolerance” about Chik-fil-a and the notions of religious freedom, free speech, and tolerance.
Here’s the bottom line for me today: I am tired – to the BONE tired – of Christians being called bigots, or haters, or intolerant because we believe the word of God. Tired. Of. It.
And I am especially tired of otherwise intelligent people who embrace (and disseminate) the most simplistic and offensive Christian stereotypes going completely silent when they are respectfully asked for clarification. It is seems to me the height of intellectual laziness to toss those sorts of rhetoric-bombs into the public square and then hide when they go off. Tolerance works both ways – or it should.
I probably handled some of that frustration poorly today. Lord, please forgive me.
Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
I do not believe that same-gender marriage is a “right” or that I should be forced to endorse it. I believe those things because of what the Bible says about marriage and homosexuality, not because I got up one morning and decided them on my own. I believe strongly in the right to free speech in this country, even if it’s speech with which I personally disagree. I think the use of government power to silence speech or to limit opportunities for businesses because of an owner’s personal beliefs is appalling and any politician who attempts it should be removed from office.
None of those things make me a hater. Or a bigot. Or ignorant.
So I’m taking a big breath, and asking God to change my attitude today – because I need it.
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Eph 3:14-20 (The Message)
Father God, help me to be patient with the people who disagree with me on these issues, and to lovingly withstand those opinions and comments which not only wound me personally but reflect a misunderstanding of your extraordinary love, and power, and grace. Help me to be a better reflection of you in the world, and not to let my frustration stand in the way of people coming to know you better. Help me to submit to the power and leading of your Spirit in everything I say and do. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.