Okay, before you comment, recognize that I am not being serious in the post title. I just really think that things have gotten out of hand this year. We can’t all be offended by everything. In fact, the more I look at protests, “outrage” and other things coming from the Christian community, I discover why so many people are anti-Christian. In doing these things, we aren’t doing the church any service at all. Here are things we can do as Christians to spread the gospel without being hateful, disruptive, and offensive ourselves.
When I checked social media this morning, the very first things I saw were people ranting that a certain company removed Christmas from their cups because they “Hate Jesus.” While it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and protest this, I have to ask two things:
- Is that really true?
- Why is this important?
Actually, I’m going to ask a third question: ARE YOU SERIOUS? Some corporation decides to change their cup design–to just a blank red design, mind you–and it’s now a hate issue? But I digress. This is really bothering me.
Is it true?
First, check with your sources. Did you ever see a cup from this company that had the word “Christmas” on it? The “Christmas” that was represented, was it Christian? Or was it snowflakes, snowmen, and something about being together? I remember the second, personally. It’s hard to find anything else in an image source that really indicates that they’re doing such a far departure from Christmas.
I honestly think that we have become lazy when it comes to viral media. We take everything as the Gospel when the true Gospel lies in scripture. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. This means we are here on earth, living. But we can’t be so drawn in by worldly things that such a commercial thing is now offensive–especially if what we perceive is not even the truth!
Why is this important?
Is the issue infringing on our collective right and ability to worship our God? Does it impose a threat of life of those involved? Are people dying for not using the cups? Is this issue keeping people from seeing the true Gospel? <<<Uh oh. This one can be answered with a “yes.”
You see, Jesus said that there were two great commandments–that if we followed these, all commandments would be fulfilled:
- You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
- Love your neighbor as yourself
I honestly think that if we are leading people AWAY from the Gospel, we are breaking these two commandments. I have friends who refuse to even listen because of how the Church has reacted over issues like politics (your opposing party does not have a mental disorder..), marriage, flags, cups, and whatever the flavor of the month is. Why don’t we look at what really is important?
Are you serious?
This is where my true frustration comes in. As Christians, we are called to Love. We are not demonstrating love by protesting and pranking people and corporations that we think are against us. And so what if they don’t believe what we believe? We don’t convince them of the truth by behaving in this way!
While there is a fine line of acceptance and condoning, we are meant to try to behave as close to how Christ behaved. He dined with, hung out with, and even forgave sinners–the lowest of the low. If he can do that, we can allow a company to use whatever cup they want to use.
That last sentence sounds ridiculous. I never thought this would be an issue, but it doesn’t surprise me this year. The more we speak out against things that really don’t matter, the more ridiculous we look as a collective body. Sure, what goes viral isn’t what the majority of Christians think (at least not the ones I know). It just takes one church to act as a model for non-believers to base their opinion of the Bible on propranolol pills. Even knowing this, we get openly offended by the little things. This truly is the year that the US was offended by absolutely everything.
What should you do now?
First, since it is the issue right now, find a picture of a Starbucks cup that says “Christmas” or “Christ” on it and post it in the comments below. Just find one for me! Second, pray and remove yourself from any hateful action today. And continue to do this day after day. You will find yourself getting away from this entitlement and feeling of “religious persecution” many are expressing. Once you can do that daily, turn that avoidance of hate into acts of love.
Love is a verb. It is also the very verb we as Christians need to focus on now more than ever. Love like you mean it, love when it’s not expected, and continue to be the light of the world.