As I read twitter posts from Christians it becomes apparent that we “Christ-followers” have lost the ability to win graciously. I rarely write about current events. I don’t intentionally avoid being topical and, even though I usually start my posts with a verse from the Bible, I certainly don’t consider my writing expository. But the current twitter debate concerning same sex marriages distresses me.
Many of the posts by those over 40 years old ring with “nana nana, boo boo.” They make sure to point out that a majority of states either ban or remain tacit on the subject of same sex marriages. Others brag about “being right” along with undertones of “God loves us better than He loves you.” Really? If a vote goes against my position does that mean that God loves me less? The Bible describes God’s love for me, and you, as infinite. My limited understanding of math is that you can neither add to nor take away from infinite.
This whole thing reminds me of the Buffalo Bills during their Superbowl years. The Bills of the late Eighties and early Nineties did very little celebrating in the end zone. Their philosophy under coach Marv Levy was that end zone celebrations were for teams that didn’t score often.
If you haven’t read all the way to the end of the Bible, or at least skipped ahead, I’m about to ruin the climax for you (*spoiler alert). Not only has the touchdown already been scored, the game has already been won. Jesus great lesson for us is to be gracious winners. He certainly was. If anyone had the privilege of an end zone dance it was Jesus. He could have jigged it up and spiked a fish…er, football, on the shore when He told Peter to cast his nets on the other side. Over and over Jesus had opportunity to say “I told you so,” but instead recognized that His Kingdom is not about being right, it’s about being reconciled. In fact, the only time that I find Him coming close to saying “I told you so” is when He describes Heaven that is being prepared for us, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you…” (John 4:2). That hardly seems like a victory dance.
It is true that we Christians are known mostly by what we are against. I believe that’s because we celebrate more about temporal victories than we do about the Ultimate Victory. We’ve already won. Rubbing people’s noses in it just reveals us to be petty.
But there’s another distressing aspect to the twitter posts that I’ve been reading. Many of these come from those under 40 and they concern “winning a battle, but losing the war.” Really? Loosing the war? Again, spoiler alert. The war is over. While it is correct that we didn’t win the war, it is also correct that Jesus did. At the point that we start lamenting losing the war we begin to give Satan a foothold to convince others that the outcome is still in question.
I believe that much of this thought process comes from the culture that surrounds us depicting life as a battle between good and evil. It’s a Star Wars mentality. Concerning ourselves with whether we need to concede ground in order to win the war is what lead to ten out of twelve spies convincing the rest of Israel not to taking the land God already had promised them. My fear is that many Christians love their friends, but don’t love them enough to confront sin. God wants everyone to be saved (I Timothy 2:4). The aversion to confronting sin is denying the power of God to see everyone saved. Do I think that everyone will go to heaven? Hardly. But if it’s God’s desire, then I want it to be my desire.
It is true that Christians have lost the culture war (please read “Stop Shooting the Prisoners”). However, I’m afraid that we’re in danger of not rescuing the prisoners. I’m afraid that when we don’t build relationships that are strong enough to withstand confrontation, and then actually confront, then we’re simply helping someone feel good about themselves until the inevitable happens.
My fear is that we’ve lost either the ability to love in confrontation or the ability to confront in love. And this is a dilemma that will perplex Christians until we no longer see “through a glass, darkly.” Funny, that phrase is in the “Love Chapter.” Hmm…