[NOTE: Please see my new post above for additional thoughts on this.]
Yesterday millions of conservative Christians went to Chick-Fil-A in support of the company’s stand against gay marriage. Now, if you got a chicken sandwich or three yesterday, this post isn’t to condemn in any way. But, I think it’s really important that we think about how our actions reflect upon the gospel. So think out loud with me.
I didn’t eat at Chick-Fil-A yesterday. Yes, I believe the Bible teaches that marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a sin. But yesterday’s mass show of support for Chick-Fil-A didn’t bring the gospel of grace and repentance to homosexuals. It simply erected another barrier. It didn’t display the glory of Christ, it simply demonstrated that we don’t like it when someone attacks our faith. It didn’t glorify the life-changing, sin-destroying power of Christ, it simply said, “We won’t stand for this.”
My biggest concern is that we may win the culture war on gay marriage and yet drive homosexuals away from Christ.
Instead of voicing our disapproval of homosexuality by buying chicken sandwiches, what if we followed Jesus’ example instead, and made friends with homosexuals? Hung out with them, ate with them, listened to them, heard their stories, and then shared the life-changing gospel with them? What if we asked them to tell us about their experiences with homosexuality, then showed them how the gospel meets them at every point in their lives? What if we told them about how Jesus has completely changed our lives?
Consider how Jesus led people to repentance. He hung out with the wino’s so much that people called him a drunkard! He asked the Samaritan woman (an “us” vs. “them” situation if there ever was one) at the well for a drink of water. He ate dinner with Zacchaeus. Jesus demonstrated a beautiful boldness and gentleness.
The cause of the gospel will lose if we ban gay marriage and yet at the same time create an “us” vs. “them” battle. Our ultimate goal should be to win homosexuals for Christ, not win a culture war.
If a homosexual comes into my church I want him to feel welcome. If everyone came into the church carrying Chick-Fil-A bags, I think that would create the opposite effect. It would make him feel very unwelcome. Excluded. Hated. Like no one wanted him around.
I don’t believe homosexuality is right, but if we’re going to effectively reach those in the gay community, we’ve got to find better ways to do it. The only people Jesus boycotted were the religious leaders. With everyone else, he entered into their world. Yes, he called them to repentance, and we need to do that. We can’t back down from what the Bible says about homosexuality. But we need to do it with the love, gentleness, and affection of Christ Jesus. Not with snarky Facebook comments and loud demonstrations.
Jesus was called a friend of sinners. I don’t think that buying chicken sandwiches puts us into that category.