John 8:9-11 9 At this, those who heard began to go away
one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman
still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman,
where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,”
she said. “Then neither do I condemn
you,” Jesus declared. “Go now
and leave your life of sin.”
Note: This is the longest and
quite possibly the most difficult article I have written.
I have been following the Phil
Robertson story over his comments he made in a recent magazine interview. As many know, Phil quoted the Bible when
answering a question about what he thought about homosexuality. He was removed from future episodes of Duck
Dynasty by the A & E Network where the show is aired. He was re-instated due to pressure from both
Christians and advocates of Freedom of Speech.
I have really wrestled with whether or not to blog over this topic or
not. In fact, I even have had dreams
around this issue over the last few days.
I took that as a prompt to write on the issue. I realize that with this topic, I will both
offend some readers and make other readers happy that the subject is being
talked about again. Do recognize, I have
views based on what I read in the scriptures, and I am trying to live my life
by those scriptures daily as I also attempt to give grace like Jesus did and
does. I fail miserably daily, yet I have
the blood of Jesus to cover me.
Let’s start with a brief summary of
how this controversy occurred. I read
the GQ article (you can read it here;
Beware! The writer is from a very
secular background; writing for a very worldly magazine…the language is strong
at times). GQ decides they want an
interview with Phil Robertson. These
days, many do. Now, this writer is admittedly
not a believer in Christ. And, he even
adds in some poking fun of Christianity in his article. Yet,
he is drawn in by Phil and in my opinion the Holy Spirit within Phil. He asks Phil a question around the sinfulness
of our country and Phil gives first some personal opinion about his beliefs
(and yes, it was somewhat crude and unfiltered). Then Phil begins to quote scripture. All throughout this exchange, Phil speaks of
grace, how it’s not his place to judge…but God’s, and how all can benefit from
a life in Christ. GLAAD, probably the
largest homosexual advocacy group takes much of the article out of context and
begins asking for Phil’s head on a platter.
This eventually leads to Phil’s dismissal from the show and subsequent
re-instatement. Both due to political pressure and I believe a fear of losing money.
So, here is where multiple thoughts come up for me. I hope that in some way this makes sense and
ultimately God’s truth comes forth. First
of all, Biblical truth does not make total sense to those who use it as just
part of their box of truths. Many in
this culture quote Jesus’ teaching alongside many other considered wise
sayings. There are many who choose to
use what they want out of Jesus’ teachings and discard the rest. This includes the churched and non-churched
both. Jesus preached, practiced, and/or
lived grace and truth…both. Over the
last few years there has been a great debate among believers and non-believers
alike on whether homosexuality is sinful.
As I read many opinions about this, I notice people quote part of the
above passage dealing with the woman caught in adultery leaving out the
rest. The quote is, “Then neither do I condemn you,”
(Grace) and the left out part is, “Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life
of sin.’” (Truth). Phil not only quoted truth from the Bible, he
also talked about grace and how important it is. In other articles, Phil has talked about
loving all (including gays) and letting scripture and Jesus do the rest. Many times throughout the Gospels, Jesus
would show grace and speak truth. He directed
on more than one occasion after healing someone to leave his/her sin.
This leads me to the second
point. We as Christians will rarely, if
ever, draw those in sin closer to Jesus without relationship. Quite honestly, Phil’s quotes only strengthen
those of faith and push further away those who argue against faith and Christianity. Until those who oppose my view of the Bible
walk alongside me and see me live out what I believe…and…I look into someone
else’s life and see where he/she is coming from, I will not be living the grace
of Jesus and therefore will not draw them closer to truth. We had a preacher who described how the
modern western Church has tried to convert people: We call them to behave, and then believe,
and then they can belong. This is actually pushing people away. Those who feel strong anger toward Phil’s
comments and with Christianity as a whole have likely experienced Church this
way. When you look at Jesus, he helped
them feel a sense of belonging, then
they believed, and out of that
belief, they began to behave
differently. I have strong opinions
about certain sins. When I just blast
those opinions as if I’m trying to win a debate without first considering the
relationship I have with those I am working with, I usually send them the other
way. A sometimes over used quote sums
this up well. “They don’t care how much
you know until they know how much you care.”
Jesus started with love and grace and spoke truth from there. We have to get away from a “Preach and they’ll
show up” mentality and move to a “Create a loving relationship first. Then preach.”
A third thought may be a little out
there…bear with me. Basically, we are
Gentiles. The children of Israel had
thousands of years of history with God as His chosen people. The woman caught in adultery knew she was in sin
if not for any other reason than a nation’s history with God. The Pharisees, although misguided, knew God’s
law. Yes, we are a nation founded on
Christian principles, yet we as Gentiles basically only have a 2000 year
history with God. We are only God’s
chosen through Jesus. What does this
mean? For many in our society, there
still is not a history with God like the people of Israel. The Bible does not make sense to many and
even becomes a book of do’s and don’ts.
A challenge for us, for me, is how do I take the Gospel of truth to a
group who are skeptical of the Bible or don’t even think the Bible to be
truth? I noticed one of the comments to
the GQ article saying: “Personally, I don't understand how anyone can believe in the Bible or God.
It's all a made-up fairytale, and if you can't see that, then you need to do
some serious research into the subject. The Bible was written by mere mortals
who really didn't know very much about the world. And there is not one shred of
proof that God even exists. After all, if you were born in a different country,
there's a good chance you would be worshiping another God altogether. God is just
something man created to try to make sense of where he came from and where he
will go when he dies. It's just incredibly sad that in these United States, we
are still so backwards and can't see the truth. And it's very sad that we are
still using quotes from the Bible as an excuse to ruin the lives of good and decent
people based on who they love.” To reach someone
in this mindset is a difficult task. It
is a daunting task to break through barriers to truth. Next week, I will touch on those barriers to
truth. I don’t want to give excuse, but
reaching those who believe there is no God and is backed by a history of no
personal God in their lives is something I as a Christian have to consider as I
approach them with grace and truth.
Fourth, what about
the sin of homosexuality? As I read the
whole of the Bible, it is one of many sins that God inspired His writers to
list. What is worth noting is that it is
a sin like many other sins. Sin is
missing the mark of God’s holiness. There
is no sin in God. He did not create sin;
humankind chose sin when we decided we knew better than God how to live. God allows us to have choice so that our love
and worship of Him is real and not forced.
Homosexuality is listed with several sins. In God’s eyes, sin is sin. Phil noted this in the article. The leaders of GLAAD took offense upon
reading that Phil had placed the sin amongst terrorism and the like. Sin is sin.
I know there are those that say that one can continue in his/her sin due
to grace. Like Phil, only God can
judge. However, I choose to try and eradicate
as much sin from my life as I can based on the Apostle Paul’s quote in Romans
6:1-3: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on
sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means!
We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
3 Or don’t you know that
all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” I struggle with those who continue to live in
a sin claiming grace and/or that God created me this way. It’s my opinion. It’s an opinion based on my limited knowledge
of the Word. Yet, that is where I
stand. I hold myself to that standard as
I attempt to lead others under that same standard. Does this mean that I condemn those in my
life who choose to live in their homosexuality claiming God’s grace? No, I am not able to condemn. Only God can judge the heart. I must continue to love them even if I
disagree with them and hopefully, out of that love, they will see the Holy
Spirit of God and find the love of Jesus.
At this point, those of my readers who do not have a relationship with
me may be offended by my belief and opinion.
Those who do know me; know I speak from love and years of study. And, these are not years of study in order to
point out sin in others. These are years
of study in order to be convicted of my own sin and in some way better my
relationship with God through Jesus.
As far as the
Robertsons and Duck Dynasty is concerned.
I struggle between hoping they would leave A & E and hoping they
stay. I hope they leave because of so
much of what the network stands for is so ungodly and to have a group of
believers be associated with that is difficult for me. However, I also realize that the Robertsons
are using what God has opened them up to as a platform to further the Gospel
and the love of Jesus. All along Phil
has used this avenue to preach the good news of Jesus. And for those who have developed a
relationship with Phil and his family due to the show have not regretted what
Jesus has done for them through this family.
God’s plan will prevail whether or not Phil, or I, or anyone else joins
1. Write down what has come up for you emotionally around the above article?
2. How do you personally categorize sin?
3. What did you think of Phil’s stance?
4. What changes do you need to make in your life to live a belong, believe, behave style of drawing people to Jesus?
5. Over the next few days and months, pay attention to how you handle others sinfulness. How are you going to improve your relationship in order to live out the Gospel before their eyes?
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