Chick-Fil-A And Deflection

By now I suspect most people have moved on from the Chick-Fil-A uproar. I’m sure I could add my voice to the cacophony, but undoubtedly whatever I say would garner more groans than Tweets.

It’s the way of our culture. An issue is hot, hot, hot, until everyone is sick to death of it, and then it is buried, at least for a time. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t allow for much thoughtful, researched consideration. But I digress.

One thing I learned from this flap: the issues aren’t always the issues.

I’ve heard this before in connection with an encounter Jesus had, but I don’t think I ever saw it played out in contemporary society so clearly as I did during an number of verbal exchanges over Chick-Fil-A.

The situation in which Jesus found Himself, put Him face to face with a Samaritan woman looking to draw water. In their exchange, Jesus ended up declaring to her that He could give her living water. When she realized that He was no ordinary man, however, she deflected His offer and tried to pursue a side issue.

You’re a prophet, I can tell, she said. So what do you say about this debate the Jews and Samaritans have over where to worship God? Are we right or are you?

Jesus refused to get sidetracked. There actually was a right answer. God had given clear instructions in the Law of Moses, and Jesus could easily have set her straight. But He did not follow the rabbit trail she tried to lay out for him.

Clearly her bringing up the matter could have deflected the conversation from her personal need to what would be the religious thing to do. Jesus skillfully sidestepped her attempt and brought her attention back to Himself.

[Finally] the woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (John 4:25-26)

No debate about the Law or the history that led to Samaria’s worship practice. Not even any recrimination for the woman’s own sinful lifestyle. He didn’t tell her to clean up her act or to move out of her “common-law” husband’s house. Instead, He invited her to drink of Living Water so that she would never thirst again.

As I see it, the Chick-Fil-A incident can be a deflection. In fact the whole same-sex “marriage” issue can be a deflection.

God does not ask anyone to clean up his act before coming to Christ. Instead, Christ died precisely because none of us is able to clean up our act. But listening to some of the chatter surrounding Chick-Fil-A, you’d think that Christians actually cared more that people didn’t engage in same-sex “marriage” than that they came to Christ for forgiveness of their sins.

Did the woman at the well continue to live in sin? The Bible doesn’t tell us. We do know that the Samaritans who believed the woman’s testimony that Jesus was the Christ asked Him to stay, so He spent two days with them. Then this:

Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:41-42)

The Savior of the world! All because Jesus ignored the woman’s attempt to deflect the conversation from her personal need to religious practice.

We know from other Scripture such as James 2 that if the woman’s faith in Christ had substance, it would show itself in actions. We also know that Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). All that to say, it’s a safe bet that the Samaritan woman turned from her immoral ways–not as a condition for coming to Christ, but as a result.

If Christians really want to stand for Biblical marriage, I suggest we stop getting sidetracked and start preaching Christ. He’s the One who can cleanse the vilest heart. And that’s what sinners, gay or straight, need.

Published in: on August 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm  Comments (10)  
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10 Comments

  1. Yes, I agree.

    I like that the woman at the well, who was afraid to go out and get water at the same time as the other women, left her water jug and went to tell the people of the town. That seems to be a turn-around for her. And it’s the kind of thing a newly saved person does. I was a sinful woman and when Jesus saved me, I was so happy I told everyone.

    I agree that we preach Christ, but I think since we live in country where many who claim to be Christians say that homosexuality is not a sin, it’s also important for us to say that homosexuality is a sin. Paul preached Christ but he also preached against homosexuality and against slander and gluttony and drunkenness, among others.

    Do we just tell people in the church that homosexuality is sinful and not tell those outside the church? John told Herod to stop the sexual sin. But Herod was Jewish. I don’t see them telling others to stop sexual sin, but they did tell them stop as they joined the church. (Acts 15:20)

    I think because we live in a country where we’re given a vote, it’s a little different. They didn’t fight for laws that would keep people from exposing their infants. They did save the infants when they could. We are required to vote against abortion and gay marriage, I think, simply because we have the vote.

    Very interesting post. Thanks for making me think about about this. I’ts important.

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    • Great point about the woman’s changed behavior, Sally.

      I also think Christians in a democracy have a unique responsibility. I think we should stand for Biblical principles and vote for people who, as near as we can tell, adhere to Biblical principles. I even think it’s right to give money for their campaigns and I don’t think it’s wrong to work for their election, or for the passage of anti-abortion laws or for pro-marriage laws.

      However, I don’t believe those things will change the direction our country is going. Only Christ, changing the hearts of people, will make a true difference. Look at the 1950s–a period of time many view as idyllic in America. That’s when the seeds of the sexual revolution were planted because the hearts of the people were unaffected. They gave lip service to God but their hearts were far from Him.

      So I guess I’m saying, I think our role is tricky. We need to stand against killing unborn babies and against what Scripture calls “degrading passions,” unnatural, indecent, depraved.

      But here’s the point–we are in the predicament of God turning people over to “the lusts of their hearts” because people reject God.

      For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Rom. 1:18)

      Then in verse 21:

      For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

      Their heart wasn’t darkened about their lusts. Their heart was darkened about God.

      My point is, I don’t think telling people their lusts are wrong is the answer. As long as their thinking about God is wrong, their lusts will be wrong.

      There’s tension we have to maintain, I think–stand against sinful behavior and preach Christ. I think too many Christians have abandoned the “preach Christ” part and have substituted “stand against and preach against sinful behavior.”

      Becky

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      • Hey! I got some thumbs up and thumbs down. That’s interesting. I don’t know if I’ve had anyone react to my comments before.

        I was reading this morning where Paul says: Who are we to judge those outside the church. I’m talking about people who claim to be brothers but who …well, I should get an exact quote. Hang on.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        English Standard Version 1 Corinthians 5:

        9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Paul makes it clear that we aren’t to judge those outside the church.

        And yet…

        I must vote against infanticide or genocide. If I fail to speak, I’m not loving my neighbors who were being killed.

        If I fail to speak out against homosexuality, I’m not loving my neighbors who are being recruited in the schools.

        If I fail to speak out against slander, I’m not loving my neighbor who is being slandered.

        So I agree that we are to preach Christ and to stand against sin.

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  2. One thing I have learned from Jesus’s example is that there’s a time and a place to give the Truth and the place is always surrounded by love, because that is why God calls things sins, in the first place–He doesn’t want people to have to experience things that hurt them and can ultimately kill them!

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    • Peggy, you’re right about the place and time issue, and the fact that we are always to speak that truth in love. If we lose sight of that, and speak the truth for selfish reasons, then it’s meaningless. Paul said in Colossians that our speech is always to be with grace as though seasoned with salt so that we will know how to respond to each person. We should cultivate a habit of speaking with grace, and I think that’s a lot easier to do if we ask ourselves why we want to say want we’re about to say. If our motive is to prove a point or win an argument or give tit for tat or whatever other than love for the other person, I think we need to refrain from speaking. Our “truth” will not be effectual, I don’t think.

      Thanks for helping me to dig into this a little deeper!

      Becky

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  3. Becky,

    Ever since I found this blog I have enjoyed reading through your posts to see your insights and unique perspective on things. On this issue, I absolutely agree with you.

    Homosexual behavior is a sin in the Bible, just like lying and stealing. Like those other two, the true answer is in salvation and not in simply trying to get people to stop the act of sinning. However, I do believe that the Chic-fil-a issue has become just as much about freedom of speech as much as it is about same-sex marriage. When it comes to peacefully demonstrating and sticking up for that right, I certainly hope this uproar doesn’t end soon.

    Great post!

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  4. I’ve held of blogging about this and will for a few more days because I do want to wait until the novelty passes. I appreciate everything you said here Becky but also want to emphasize this doesn’t have to an either/or proposition. I supported Chick-fil-A last Wed. because we do have the unique privilege in this country to free speech and enterprise. I also shopped at Target later in the day and ordered something from Amazon yesterday even though both support same-sex marriage. And Thursday I will meet with my local writers group and be peaceable and kind to the two homosexuals that are usually there. And, if God presents the opportunity I will present Christ to whomever He leads me to share.

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    • Tim, I agree that this is not, ought not, be an either/or situation, but unfortunately, I think a lot of Christians are treating it as such. We’ve allowed the gay community in concert with the media define the parameters of the issue. I think we need, as Christians and as Americans, to look at the situation in light of the absolutes–the Bible and the Constitution. The Bible tells us what our mission is and the standard of holiness God wants for us. The Constitution protects our rights to believe that Word and in fact to express our beliefs. So the issue isn’t at all us telling non-Christians how they are to live. It is about us telling government officials they can’t use their governmental authority to intimidate and inhibit someone’s free exercise of religious expression. It is also about doing so in a way that contradicts the “hate” image put forth by the media and the gay community. It’s in this latter area I’d like to see us improve.

      Christ told us to love our neighbors, love our enemies, love one another. That pretty much covers everyone! So I don’t think we ought take it lightly that the world sees us as hateful. If they hate us, that’s to be expected, but then we should be able to turn the other cheek and show our love.

      I don’t think it’s loving or Biblical to stay quiet about the subject, though.

      OK, looking forward to your post, Tim.

      Becky

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  5. Lauren, I don’t disagree. I think the issue is actually about free speech, and we have let gay rights groups redefine it to be a “hate” issue when clearly it is not. I actually heard that view expressed by a news anchor on a local station, which was quite surprising–pleasantly so.

    But when the “Christians are hateful and their support of Chick-Fil-A proves it” statements come out, I think it’s important that we are clear about both the free speech issue and the “rejecting Christ, not a particular sin, separates you from God” issue.

    It seems quite clear if we substitute “gossip” for homosexual. Do Christians think gossip keeps us from coming to God? Must we forsake gossip before we can embrace the work of Christ? Or do we believe that while we were yet gossips, Christ died for us?

    Hmmm. 😉

    Becky

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    • From the scripture I quoted above, it seems pretty clear that once you are in the church you must stop doing living in these sins.

      I think it’s terrible that people in the church live like people outside the church. We have as many divorces and as many abortions, I hear. We also lie, cheat, steal, are greedy, and are drunkards. It’s not OK. The Bible clearly says that such people don’t inherit the kingdom of heaven.

      ~~~~~~~~~~

      9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      So I think there must be a turning away from these things and a turning to Christ for cleansing by the Spirit.

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