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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