Well, Phil Robertson caused quite a splash with his remarks to GQ magazine, especially after A&E announced today that the network will be suspending him from Duck Dynasty until further notice. Christians have been absolutely rabid about the whole ordeal, and with good reason, I suppose. The world wants to reject the Bible. Our culture wants to hate it. And that scares us and messes with our sense of security and causes us to feel like we are being abused and rejected and walked on.
But, one good thing that has come from this is that hopefully it has gotten some Christians thinking. Hopefully some discussions are going on about truth telling. Hopefully we are considering the views of both sides and then filtering all of it through a Biblical lens.
One Thing to Remember: Phil Robertson is an extremely savvy bearded backwoods hillbilly millionaire. Yes, we love him. Yes, he makes for good television. And yes, we admire the way he does things his own way, which happens to be living his life according to the Bible as far as we can tell. This makes us happy because we feel we have some representation on television. It makes us feel like maybe things aren’t as bad as we fear they are in our culture, if A&E airs this show and if so many people love it and if WalMart is filled with Duck Dynasty merchandise.
But, Phil Robertson is only a man. He isn’t perfect. And he isn’t a savior. He’s one guy who has a funny way about him and who loves God. I know lots of guys like that. I seriously doubt that Phil has spent half as much time thinking about this today as most of us did. So, I would beg that we remember that there are still horrible atrocities happening all over the world, people who are our next door neighbors are still lost, and we are still personally so flawed in our thoughts, actions, and attitudes. All of these things rank higher than what good old Phil, as much as we love him, is saying or doing today.
One Thing to Learn: It is possible to speak truth and show love to others at the same time. Those two are not mutually exclusive, although when it comes to speaking Biblical truth, the world would love to have us think so. I doubt Phil Robertson hates anyone any more than Billy Graham or Mother Theresa or any other godly figure who believes the Bible. In Christianity, we don’t make the rules. However, there are righteous acts and there are sinful acts recorded for our benefit in Scripture. It shows real hate to read these truths and keep them to ourselves, as if only we deserve secret knowledge of how to please God. The loving thing is to share His word, to speak truth in a kind manner, with compassion, empathizing with the struggles that others face because we face our very own personal battles against sin.
So, Christians, don’t let the world convince you that speaking the truth of the Bible is evil. Calling sin by its name is the only way for us to point each other to Christ, to demonstrate our need for a Savior, and to build an authentic relationship with those around us. It shouldn’t be so shocking to us when the world hates what we say. Jesus told us this would happen. The Bible is full of hard truths, for stay-at-home moms, for grandpas, for prison inmates, for eight year old cuties, for pastors, and for prostitutes. God is holy. We are not.
The truth hurts.
Speak truth in love. It’s sharp enough without our added jabbing. But, don’t stop speaking truth. Even when television executives panic. Even when it would be easier to be quiet.
Even when it hurts.