Friend of Sinners

It was pretty shocking and heartbreaking to watch all the Chick-fil-a controversy last week. While many companies have come out of their corporate closet in support of gay rights, I haven't heard of a single company doing the opposite until now.

Several US city mayors tried to ban Chick-fil-a for respectfully and kindly stating that while they respect homosexuals and gladly welcome them to their restaurants, they do not believe gay marriage should be listed the same as the Biblical definition of marriage. 

The response of some US officials was the closest to religious persecution I have seen in America. The people clamoring for tolerance are some of the most intolerant

Through all this backlash, former Presidential nominee Mike Huckabee started a "Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day" event on facebook. It ended up being the most successful day for a restaurant in the history of the world. People attended for numerous reasons: some to make a statement against gay marriage, and some simply out of frustration against the US politicians who threatened bans against Chick-fil-a for calmly standing for their religious beliefs. 

I heard many great stories: One gay person who said "While I don't agree with Chick-fil-a, I'm still a fan of their tasty chicken sandwhich, and will still continue to eat there." And a story of of one Chick-fil-a restaurant that brought out free, cold drinks to their restaurant protesters - now that is classy.

In the midst of all this, I'm sure many Christians are feeling a massive apprehension about all of this. While we want to stand for what we see to be Biblically correct laws (and of course, all of us want to eat Chick-fil-a's tasty chicken sandwhiches), we also don't want to alienate the very people we are called to reach. People that we love, respect and truly care about.

Pete Wilson said it best, when he said: I'd rather make a difference, than a point. We have to be really careful to not waste our influence with others on less important arguments we are trying to win. We don't want to major on the minors, and minor on the majors.

 

Bob Goff, author of the recent bestseller Love Does posted this week: "Jesus spent most of His life with people we spend most of ours trying to avoid." Wow, if this is true, we need a heart and lifestyle adjustment. 

When we look at Scripture, we see that Jesus was known for being a "friend of sinners." Do people know you as this? Or would they call you a hater of sinners? This would be the opposite of Jesus. In one Biblical account, there is a story of woman caught in the act of adultery, and dragged out in front of a crowd of people whom Jesus was speaking to ...

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-11, NLT)

 

Here's a few thoughts from this story:

1. People have always tried to throw Jesus in the middle of messy situations, and to use him to win arguments. But the truth is that Jesus didn't drag this woman out and expose her sin in front of the crowds. That would've been counter-productive to His mission.

2. When Jesus drew in the sand, he was probably writing down each individual's sins, right in front of everyone.  He recognized that every human needs to consider in the equation their own struggles with being bound over to sin, before judging and condemning others before God.

3. But lastly, also, Jesus didn't give sinners license to sin. He always told people to turn from their sins. Why would he do that? Sin is the terrorist of our soul. Sin is the cancer of our soul, that cunningly seperates man from God. God bans us from sin for our ultimate good, because He knows it destroys the pure joy and deep peace that comes through connection with God, and ultimately drags us to hell.

 

Do you remember WWJD bracelets? The idea that we could remind ourselves through the day, "What Would Jesus Do?" This is still a brilliant and all-important question. What would Jesus do in response to our current culture? He would befriend sinners, not alienate them. We should too.