If you are reading this column expecting a warm and fuzzy feeling, thinking we’ll be standing around holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” by the end of it ***Spoiler Alert*** you might as well stop reading, because I can tell you that’s probably not going to happen. You see, I’m not feeling particularly warm and fuzzy right now; in fact, I’m feeling a little frustrated and moseying my way towards miffed. Further, some of you who are reading this may want to drag out your steel-toed shoes, because as I’m moseying, I may step on a few toes.
What’s got me a little riled up? Well, here it is, plain and simple: I’m a little tired of Christians being expected to check their beliefs at the door, and of Christians being so quick to comply. Certainly not all Christians, but many. Since when did being a Christian mean you should be subjected to a double standard by society; one set of rules for Christians and another set of rules for everybody else? Since when are religious leaders not allowed to be, well, religious leaders?
If you follow current events, you know that Christians are being beaten over the head with the bully club of “Love your neighbor” in order to silence us. If you dare to stand up for what you believe and thereby possibly offend someone, you are accused of being (gasp!) intolerant, the Holy Grail of political correctness.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we are supposed to love others, but since when did loving others mean you are not allowed to have any boundaries? If you are a parent, does loving your child mean that you give them everything they want, that you kowtow and capitulate to them on everything? Of course not! That’s not love, that’s taking the easy way out. Likewise, you love your spouse, but does that mean that anything goes and there’s no accountability, no guidelines? Of course not! That’s not love, that’s abuse and martyrdom. So why should loving your neighbor mean caving in and forfeiting your strongly held religious beliefs? I certainly am not suggesting we beat others into submission with our beliefs, but I do, at the very least, expect tolerance to be a two-way street, and respect for each other to be the signpost.
Yes, “love your neighbor as yourself” is one part of the greatest commandment, but don’t forget what precedes that phrase: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.” I would assert to you, if we obey that, we would not be so quick to acquiesce our beliefs and allow ourselves to be silenced.
So I was thinking…
I mentioned at the beginning that I was frustrated and getting a little miffed, but there’s one thing I’m not, and that is surprised. This is nothing new; in fact, Jesus said, “They hated me, they’ll hate you.” What is new, however, is the open hostility of the haters and the apparent acceptance by the masses. Unfortunately, we often care far more about pleasing others than we do about pleasing God.
The Declaration of Independence states we have unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, and one of those rights is defined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as free expression of religion. A heavy price has been paid by many patriots who have died to protect that freedom, including my father-in-law, so is it asking too much to claim it and live it? But even more important, Jesus died for us, and His words to us, as Believers (which I’ve included below) supersede even the Constitution. Remember what He said in Revelation 3:16, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” In the words of Paul, “May it never be!”
As many of you know, I maintain a Facebook “Author” page where I post my column and other devotional thoughts. I had one person write on my page, “Don’t post religious crap on Facebook!” Really? On my own page? My response: The Word of God is like broccoli – it’s good for you, but you don’t have to eat it…even if someone puts it on your plate. And, yes, I will continue to “serve” Him.
“What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:27-39 (NASB)
©2015 Phyllis Knight