2007-05-29 - A Foreigner's Look On the Folly of Flags and Football
1 Peter 2:11-12 (NASB) Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Even though I am firmly convinced that my opinions are correct on this matter, I will still love those who disagree with me. Undoubtedly this may even cause a social media firestorm for me, because some will agree and others will disagree. But I am directing this statement chiefly to those who I agree with the most, most of the time - my fellow followers of Christ.
I wish we all proudly proclaimed support of our Savior's word and His church as fervently as we proclaim patriotic support over this nation's anthem and one of its pastimes. If we spoke into the lives of those around us, proclaimed the gospel, and defended His word with the same zeal that we share our political and social opinions I can't help but think this world would be a very different place.
I am proud to be an American, but the freedom of speech I am thankful to have on Sunday morning must extend to others on Sunday afternoon, even when I completely disagree with them. The NFL as a whole did not say players must take a knee or not. They simply said they're not going to let this divide them. Ironic that what doesn't divide them, divides their fans. Some players exercise their freedom with a bent knee as protest and some will protest their right to protest while exercising the same right they are protesting. I do not agree with the initial premises of those that began taking a knee last year but that is not really what I wish to discuss.
I saw two Atlanta Falcons players take a knee, but I saw the rest stand. And among those are many Christian players, as I'm sure team chaplains or others could attest. Some Christians even took a knee; Colin did. Remember this: Christians are on both sides of the issue. Satan wants to distract and divide us and like Jesus, he knows that only by our love for one another will the world see Jesus. Satan doesn't want this, so he brings on yet another round of divisive chatter. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8) If Satan can't keep you he'll keep you busy, so he can keep others.
An early church father, Augustine of Hippo commented, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." We would do well to remember his words in these times. Red yellow black or white, politically left or right - we're all precious in His sight. Disagree with your brothers and sisters over this or any other issue but do so respectfully and, more importantly, lovingly.
First and foremost, I am not an American. First and foremost, I am a Christian. Being an American is secondary. I am proud of my earthly country but I am prouder of my eternal kingdom.
Proclaim what you're proud of. Declare what you delight in.
I. LOVE. JESUS!
And if you read this, whether you agree with me or not, I love you too.
All scripture references from KJV (King James Version) unless otherwise noted