Rainbow display not reason to “unfriend”
Some Christian friends of mine have begun “unfriending” anyone they know who superimposes a rainbow flag over their Facebook photo. Please let me urge you not to do that.
Those displaying the rainbow flag fall into three categories. The motives and rationale are difference in each group.
1) Many people in the U.S. believe that the triumph of Same-Sex Marriage advocates is a civil rights issue analogous to the historic movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for voting, housing, and service in businesses to be colorblind. They are celebrating Same-Sex Marriage, not as an affront to biblical morality but as a victory for justice. We all want justice to prevail in our country—Christians as much as everyone else, if not more.
2) Others have friends and/or relatives who are gay, and they sympathize with them and join them in celebrating this victory for their cause.
3) For a third group this victory is really personal because it is not just a struggle of someone with whom they empathize; it is their own struggle. What they have longed to do for many years is now legal, and they feel vindicated by the Supreme Court decision.
Why we should not “unfriend”
I would urge my fellow believers not to unfriend anyone in these three groups, thus cutting yourself off from the possibility of having communication with them. We should stay connected, even if we can’t agree that Gay Marriage is a good idea.
We should continue to interact, continue to dialogue, and maintain our relationships as an expression of the Second Great Command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, in which Jesus is quoting Leviticus 19:18).
Want to go deeper?
1. Consider these words by Jesus and Paul:
Jesus – “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (Matthew 5:13).
“Losing its saltiness” seems to mean becoming conformed to the standards of the world, becoming so worldly that there is no difference between Christians and non-Christians. Obviously we should avoid doing that.
But isn’t there also an opposite danger? Some would describe it as “staying in the salt-shaker,” or becoming “cloistered,” or turning ourselves into a “Christian enclave”—aloof from any contact with people with whom we disagree and therefore isolated from any possibility that we could have a positive effect on them.
Paul – “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6).
Paul assumes that we do not break off contact. He challenges us to engage in conversation, and with such a good attitude that our dialogue partner finds the incident “tasty.”
Part of what it takes to do this is to lower your expectations for such an interchange. Don’t think the occasion is a failure if you don’t persuade the other person to become committed to following God and His Word.
2. Seek to understand where the other person is coming from, what their interests are, and their reasoning on this or any other issue. Then try to communicate in a clear and loving way your understanding. Find things you can agree on; build common ground. Try to encourage them as a person.
3. Take a look at this blog entitled, “Cloistered Christianity” by Carl Ruby. Dr. Ruby is saying the same thing as I am.
Now it’s your turn.
Am I wrong-headed about this? What do you think?
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