Yesterday I posted about our family's involvement in Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. I was thrilled at all the reports I saw about the event...the kindness, politeness, and patience of those participating, Chick-Fil-A's excellent service in the midst of the overwhelming turn-out, and the care and concern for the protesters involved.
Last night I came home and discovered various social media posts by Christian friends/acquaintances indicating that in their opinion, yesterday's event was unloving and a stumbling block to non-Christians/gays. I was surprised and saddened by this, as nothing I had seen or heard reflected this at all.
I started to comment on a particular post and then realized that perhaps the blog was a more appropriate venue for my comments, given their length. :) This is what I wrote last night:
Maybe I'm missing something major somewhere, but I haven't seen anyone say that gay people aren't welcome anywhere. Chick-Fil-A hires and serves gay people. From what I have read today, there are gay franchise owners. I don't know of anyone personally who participated in today's appreciation day who wouldn't welcome a gay person to their church. Most of the people I know who participated today are actively involved in building relationships with and ministering to all kinds of people. From what I saw in person and from what my friends saw in person (all over the country), the CFA supporters today were overwhelmingly kind and polite and friendly...to each other, to the CFA staff, and to the protesters. (I did hear of protesters at some locations being unkind, however.)
Dan Cathy said nothing about hating homosexuals. He said, "We are very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family unit." He has taken a great deal of criticism from those who oppose that, many of whom began calling for a boycott. For my family, and for everyone else that *I* know of who participated in today's appreciation day, today had NOTHING to do with being against anyone, and everything to do with supporting someone who had the courage to publicly state, when asked, an opinion based on the Bible rather than on what is politically correct. That has absolutely nothing to do with my loving or not loving anyone. There are people I love dearly who do not support the Biblical definition of marriage, including some who are gay. I think it is sad that so many are unable to understand that people can love each other while disagreeing, even about very important issues.
Are there people who are going to see this as "hate"? Yes, obviously. They see it as hate because they are deceived by the master deceiver and the father of lies. Satan can and will twist *anything* to suit his purposes. He can also deceive us as Christians into not calling sin "sin" in the name of "love"...when actually, that can often be the most unloving thing we can do. The point is that just because someone may misunderstand me doesn't mean that I can't or shouldn't share my beliefs. I shouldn't do it in a hateful way, with hurtful words or physical violence. But speaking the truth in love is not unloving just because the one to whom I am speaking chooses to misunderstand (or is deceived into misunderstanding).
I've seen reference to the account of the woman at the well from John 4, stating that Jesus reached the woman by building a relationship with her, not by pointing out her sin. And yet, Jesus *did* point out the Samaritan woman's sin to her. (I just recently heard an excellent sermon on those very verses.) He knew when He asked that she had had five husbands and was living with a man to whom she wasn't married. And He did not at that point say, "That's okay, I understand." He pointed out her need for salvation. He talked to her about worship, which always involves obedience. We can't worship until we have been broken in repentance.
I've been reminded today to pray for the protesters. My heart breaks for anyone who hasn't experienced God's grace. My deepest heart's desire is to follow God with all my heart, mind, and strength, and to be a conduit of His love and grace to others. And I firmly believe that within that, I can say, "I support traditional marriage, and I support those who support traditional marriage", all the while still loving those around me and reaching out to them.
While I was searching for Dan Cathy's original comments about marriage and family last night, I came across this article. I encourage anyone who has any question about the Cathy family's love for people and heart for the lost to read it. He not only addresses the marriage issue, but also speaks about building relationships and seeing one's work as a mission field and an act of worship.
(Watch for part 2 of this post...in which I lose much-needed sleep over "free speech". Want to make sure you don't miss it? Subscribe via the box in the sidebar!)