I cannot get the Chick Fil A hoopla out of my mind. I know it’s only bothering me because I let it. I know that I am only responsible for my own actions and reactions. But there are so many things going through my head right now. Many of which can be read on this blog. You really should read this. But on to my own ramble……
I keep seeing what happened at Chick Fil A through the eyes of someone who wasn’t raised to love Jesus the way I was. Someone who struggles with faith or religion or feeling accepted. Someone who needs proof that Christianity is worthwhile, and that proof comes from the way Christians act. The way we treat each other. Whether people lined up at Chick Fil A to show support for the traditional family, or whether they lined up to protect their right to free speech, they were not doing the work of Jesus. Jesus wouldn’t have been standing in that line, and he wouldn’t have been holding a protest sign. He would have been feeding the hungry, dining with known sinners and showing them what a cool accepting guy he is, sitting in conversation with someone who needs their spirits lifted, visiting the sick and praying with them.
A quote I read this morning said, “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 agree, but Chick Fil A Day still bothers me. I do not think those people went there out of fear or hate. I agree that you can love the sinner and hate the sin, blah blah blah. I also can handle the idea that people have strong beliefs about what is right and wrong. But Christians are called to more than convictions and compassion. John 13:34 uses very plain language to say what is expected of us. It does not say that we treat each other according to what our convictions allow; it says we love the way God has loved us.
So. This has me thinking about the way God loves us. It’s a big love that is difficult to understand, but there are a few things I am confident of where God’s love is concerned.
- There is nothing I have done to make me worthy of God’s love. He just gives it. I cannot act as if I am deserving of it or have more of it than anyone else. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- He loves me even though I am a sinner. He isn’t proud of my sins, but he is far from mad at me for them. (Romans 5:8)
- There is absolutely nothing I can do or say that will stop God’s love for me. Nothing is too big. (Romans 8:38-39)
And two verses really stuck out as the way I am to respond and show God’s love to others:
- People are looking at the way I treat others and the way I interact with others as evidence of whether or not I love God. They are to see his love through me. (John 13:35)
- The way I treat people who society looks down upon is the way I show my love for God. What I do to them–the way I make them feel–I do to Him. (Matthew 25:40)
To me this isn’t about political correctness or sensitive feelings. It isn’t about controversial issues, traditional families, gay rights, freedom of speech. It has been a lesson to me about how I treat others. How struggling believers might look at me and evaluate Christianity. How I’m a representative of my faith. I cannot stand the thought that a person would walk away from me and think I did not treat them in a humane way. *Reality check: I know I am harsh, sarcastic, and brutally honest. I will be quick to let you know if I disagree with you, your opinions, your taste in music. I will not make a big deal of your aches and pains, your runny nose, your social drama. But when it comes down to real stuff–I mean REAL stuff– I love you. And I will treat you with respect.* Even more, the thought that a non-Christian would see me as the type of person who makes them not embrace Christianity is a thought that terrifies me. When people see me, with all my quirks and flaws, I want them to see a loving and accepting person.
Many of you who know me know that my husband and I disagree on a lot of issues. And yesterday as we were discussing Chick Fil A, he got my heart-felt sermon on the subject. It ended with the following thought:
When I die and my survivors are left to talk about the kind of person I was, I know a few things that will certainly be said. For example, it will for sure be said that I was a smart aleck (although it will not be said in such kind words, I’m sure) who really didn’t hold much back when telling people what I really think. People will remember stupid things I did at parties, angry fits I threw in high school, my laid back approach to parenting. My students will remember me as awkward, clumsy, dry, willing to laugh at myself. But I insist on all people remembering one thing about me. I wasn’t perfect, but I loved. I treated others well, and no one walked away from me feeling like less than a person.
And that is why I didn’t go to Chick Fil A.