Waffling over Waffle Fries?

Not to jump on the bandwagon of controversy, but someone I love very much was struggling today over the issues I discuss below. This is for her…and you!

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I don’t know about you guys, but after a week of news stories, blog posts and Facebook statuses about Chick-fil-A, I’m a wee bit tuckered out.

Not physically, as most of them have been read as I sit on my bum, staring stupidly at a computer screen, with a cup of coffee or some M&M’s or a giant canister of sugary cereal by my side…

But emotionally.

And yes, spiritually.

I’ve been (through generalization, not directly) outraged, I’ve been confused, I’ve been labeled a hypocrite, I’ve been convicted, I’ve been humbled, I’ve been happy, I’ve been saddened, and I’ve been hungry (seeing references to Chick-fil-A nonstop for a week will make a girl positively pine for some waffle fries).

And as my fellow believers have also grown tired of all the controversy and all the opinions and all the nervous chatter, many have expressed their frustration with all this noise in beautifully written and passionate articles beseeching the Christian community to pipe down and, in a sense, remove the log from their own eye before hypocritically pointing out the speck of sin they see in our culture.

I agree with what these brothers and sisters are saying, and I adore their hearts. These needed articles resonated with me, and I know that, when read correctly, they can absolutely spur us on to love and good works. I also understand that they are speaking to a specific audience, i.e. the professing believers who make a bunch of racket, who rail at those who have different sin than they do, and who seem more concerned about the sin that the world is in love with (namely, homosexuality) rather than the sin that they hide in their own lives between church services (namely, gluttony, gossip, bitterness, pornography, etc. etc. etc.). I get it. They are making generalizations about a group of people who actually do exist and who are a major problem in our churches and in our culture.

That said, when people like me (I’ll explain in a second) read these articles, regardless of the authors’ intent, we can sometimes begin to feel guilty for being politically active. We can begin to feel ashamed for spending our lunch money on a chicken sandwich on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. And worst of all, we can even begin to feel afraid to speak the truth – at all! – to a lost and dying world. And so I want to encourage those of you who are in my boat with a few more thoughts on the subject, hopefully tempering the blog messages I alluded to above for those who need a little boost…

What if you do meticulously see to your own marriage and seek to honor God in your family life?

What if your church disagrees with divorce as much as it does homosexuality?

What if you are not rude or hateful to homosexuals?

What if you take your own sin so seriously that it causes you to weep?

What if you do examine your own heart before pointing out the sin of another?

What if you’ve never resorted to ‘boycotting’ even when it was the popular thing to do?

What if you, by buying a chicken sandwich last Wednesday, were simply trying to encourage a Christian brother who had been unfairly criticized in the media and by elected United States officials?

What if your prime concern in political activeness is to defend the God who made this world and all the people in it?

What if you, too, are trying to live like Jesus did and to represent Him well?

What if you are loving your neighbor by pointing out his/her sin, and go about it in a Biblical manner?

What if you do care as much about the poor and the orphaned as you do about the Cathy family?

Of course, we fail in all of the above just as we fail in every area of godliness this side of heaven, but many of us who are concerned by the current political vibe in America and by what has taken place in the media these past couple of weeks are not necessarily the people who are mentioned in the articles I read this week.

We are sinners, saved by grace, and we know it.

We are concerned for our culture, because we love it.

We love and abide by the law of God, because He has miraculously changed our hearts and caused us to walk in truth.

We are stepping heavenward and striving to glorify God through each passing day, sharing the gospel on Monday, giving to the needy on Tuesday, buying a chicken sandwich on Wednesday, spending time with our family on Thursday, praying and fasting on Friday, engaging in discussions of truth concerning abortion and homosexuality on Saturday, and engaging in discussions of truth on gossip and divorce and bitterness and gluttony on Sunday.

My point is, Chick-fil-A Day was just another day in the believer’s life, and however you chose to spend that day was your prerogative, so long as you were honoring God in your heart and in your thoughts and are continually striving to be a good steward of what He has given you.

{The funny thing is, I did not go to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday! Too far away…}

I’ve heard a story from the Bible mentioned several times this week in reference to the Chick-fil-A debacle, in which the scribes and Pharisees brought the adulterous woman to Jesus to test Him that they might accuse Him, and He told them “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” As usual, He deflated and defeated these so-called beacons of righteousness in a sentence, bringing to obvious light their ridiculous hypocrisy. But do you know the last words that Jesus told the adulterous woman once the room had emptied of her accusers? “Go and sin no more.”

These are the same words that Jesus has said to us, are they not? These are words of life, words that save, words that inspire repentance.

Likewise, Jesus ate with tax collectors and harlots, but He never glazed over their sin so that He might win an audience with them. He loved them, He loved them well, and He did so by caring enough about them to tell them the truth, even as He met their needs…and guess what? Only a few followed Him; the rest hated Him and later killed Him.

And so I just want to encourage you. The world may not be hating you because you’ve done something wrong or sinful or hypocritical or because you support Chick-fil-A; they may be hating you because they hated the One you follow (John 15:18).

So, please, do not be afraid or embarrassed to share the words of life to those around you. Do not feel stupid for supporting your friends at Chick-fil-A last Wednesday. Do not stop actively engaging in this present struggle if the Lord puts it on your heart to do so. And do not feel like you have to become a silent doormat in a culture that needs to hear what you have to say; after all, “they” are not the problem and “you” (and your supposedly sinless life) are their solution. Rather, sin (in you and in me AND in them) is the problem and Jesus Christ is the answer. If that’s your obvious message, dear friend, you’re not saying anything wrong.

We can do it all, you know…

We can be as concerned about “gay marriage” as we are about divorce in the church.

We can be as outraged about our own sin as we are the sin of the world.

We can admonish those in the church while evangelizing those outside the church.

We can love the poor and needy and our brother, Dan Cathy.

We can be compassionate and passionate.

We can be strong and brave disciples without being hypocrites.

All that to say, chin up, brothers and sisters. This week has been rough, the messages and opinions confusing and varying and tumultuous and heart-wrenching…

but we’re not facing anything new here; our current struggle is as ancient as its solution.

It is for this solution – Jesus Christ and the life abundant that is found in following Him – that we continue to engage our culture with kindness, boldness, and most importantly, truth.

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After writing this, I came across this outstanding and succinct post from Kevin DeYoung. I highly recommend reading it!

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As ever, I read all comments, but I do not publish those that might lead to controversy or lengthy discussions in this section of my blog. I would love to respond to you privately, but I do not have that option. Thank you for understanding, and for taking the time to share your opinion!