Some of us are old enough to remember how our culture discriminated against the negro and gay community. All of us have seen how that has changed. We have now replaced the persecuted negro and gay guy. There is a new oppressed demographic.
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Last week a lady landed on my Facebook page and left this message: “I find this whole concept archaic and absurd. It is your Facebook page, and hey you can say what you want. But this whole concept is pure nonsense. Wow. Just wow.”
I’m not sure what concept she was referring to since she didn’t say. It could have been anything since all my content is consistent. Her comment was not necessarily discouraging because I’ve heard it before, and far worse. However, it did serve as a reminder: “I am an archaic, absurd person who pushes Christian nonsense around the web.”
Imagine if we turned the tables. Imagine if someone went on a black person’s page who was promoting Black Lives Matter or a gay person’s page who was demanding everyone accepted his gay agenda and said what they believed was archaic, absurd, and nonsense.
If she had said the same things on a black or gay page, it would be called cyber-bullying and hate-speech. There would be an outcry. There would be pressure to shut her up. People do not tolerate that kind of talk in our “love wins” culture unless you’re talking to or about Christians. We’re the 1960 discriminated negro. We’re the historically despised gay person.
The irony is that it has always been wrong to hate on the “negro” and the gay person. Christian biblicists do not hate people. We may disagree with people’s practices, but we don’t hate people. And just because there are some Christians who are bigoted, it does not represent or align with every Christian or our teaching.
For the record:
- I do not hate black people. It does not matter to me if any of my children choose to marry a black person. The thing that matters to me is that the person they want to marry loves God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.
- I do not hate gay people. I do not agree with the gay lifestyle, which is consistent with my disagreement about my sinful choices. Though sin can be different consequentially, I do not consider myself better than a gay person as though my sin requires smaller nails to crucify Christ.
We make discriminating choices every day. We have personal preferences. There is nothing wrong with that as long as we do not hate people. Hating a black or gay person is wrong. Disagreeing with a person’s choices is not.
You would think our culture learned from our hate-spewing past, but they have not. They are repeating it. The cultural love-promoters have a significant blind spot when it comes to accepting Christians. They do not know how to accept us while disagreeing with us.
This “new racism” will only get worse. Christian persecution is going to increase. There is no place in our world for people who believe the way we do. You can believe anything you want to believe and be accepted for it unless you are a Christian.
We have brought some of this on ourselves because of the hatred we have shown through the years for specific people groups like the black man and gay guy. Just like our culture, some Christians have refused to distinguish between the person and their beliefs, blending the two and hating the person and their views.
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. – James 3:9-10
The culture clumps all Christians together as though Christianity is a hate culture. It is not. True Christianity leads with love even when disagreeing with a person’s lifestyle choices. Mature Christianity does not denigrate people.
When we disagree with people’s practices, we’re not mean-spirited or condescending about the person. We should not defame our faith by downgrading our speech to petty name-calling. Sadly, the hateful Christian anomaly becomes the assumed normative by our culture. These hateful Christians play the historical narrative card by reminding everyone how Jesus talked to the Pharisees.
When I hear Christians being nasty to non-believers, Christ does not come to mind. Their speech does not have the same redemptive tones as Jesus’. It sounds more like hate-speech born out of angry frustration or immature ignorance. I do not expect our culture ever to change acting like this. I suppose Christian persecution will continue to increase.
But that does not mean we have to act like them. Learning the skill of disagreeing with someone while not being hateful to them is a gift from God. As I continue to be alienated from my culture by my culture, I want to learn how to suffer like Jesus. I will have plenty of opportunities.
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:19-25
Footnote: The connection I’m making with the black and gay people groups is their common persecution. I’m not making any other kind of connection. Also, I’m aware that persecution continues for both people groups. Even though the Christian demographic is ascending as the number one persecuted demographic, it does not mean other people groups are without persecution.
Also published on Medium.