The world murdered Christ to shut him up. It should not surprise us that the world would want to silence one of his followers.
Yet as Christ was reviled, he did not lash out.
When Peter fumbled to defend him by cutting off the soldier's ear, Jesus picked up the ear and put it back on, as if to say, “This isn't the way my kingdom will advance. It's not us against them.”
After a few days of processing this whole Duck Dynasty fiasco, I've had time to watch Christians respond via social media.
We are angry little elves. It is hard not to get the sense that we are drawing battle lines to take the kingdom by force.
I can almost hear Jesus saying, “No one will come to saving faith by reading your angry Facebook rant. This isn't the way my kingdom will advance. It's not us against them.”
Jesus loved self-righteously rich rulers, helpless beggars, legalistic lawyers, crooked tax collectors, adulterous prostitutes, loud-mouthed insurgents, and traitorous thieves. He looked on them with compassion, as helpless sheep without a shepherd.
Shepherdless sheep don't need armies of Christians bombing them over censorship in a fallen world. They need our love to be bigger. Our light to be brighter. Our words to be gentler. Our ways to be kinder.
You may have grown up singing, “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery . . . but I'm in the Lord's army!” And certainly there is a war to be fought. But it's not against people who are helplessly dead in sin. This is not a holy war against those Jesus died to save. They are not the enemy.
No Slanderous Groaning
Free speech is certainly worthy of defending in a country that was founded in order to give that inalienable right to all. I don't believe in silencing those whose opinions differ from ours. But this conversation should be conducted respectfully, not through slanderous groaning coming from both sides.
If we are going to be hated, it should be for the sake of Christ, not because we are obnoxiously insisting on our freedom. Our freedom is not of this world. We have a greater liberty than any nation or legislation could give us.
Each of us has the right and freedom to share the gospel with anyone and everyone. We do not need a celebrity mouthpiece. We can declare the good news courageously and compassionately to our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. We should each proclaim it with wisdom and passion, without shame, for it is the power of God to save from the eternal agony of being separated from himself. Some will be offended at us.
Some will try to silence us as they have done for more than 2,000 years, just as Jesus said they would. But we can take the example of the apostles in Acts 4 who prayed, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them . . . look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.”
They were filled with the power of the Spirit to boldly proclaim the gospel. They endured suffering far worse than anything we'll see. The church has endured all these years and will continue, for even the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.
We don't need to defend ourselves. We have the Defender who will never be defeated.
We don't need celebrities with national media attention to give us a voice. We have the Voice that all of eternity will not silence.
We have Jesus. He is our unshakeable hope, and he will never disappoint us.
Let's look to him as we strive to love well through this latest controversy.