I’m not a fan of Duck Dynasty. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t really aware of what it was until recently when Terry Bradshaw spoke of it on Jay Leno. I had not even seen an advertisement about it. I guess I don’t watch much A & E. So out of curiosity, my husband and I watched a show not too long ago. Since we aren’t much into reality shows, this show didn’t scream “I gotta watch this show!”
That is neither here nor there; however, there’s been a lot of talk in the air this week concerning the patriarch of Duck Dynasty. Apparently, Mr. Robertson made an “anti-gay” remark in an interview with GQ. And now has been suspended from the Duck Dynasty show.
I have no desire to get into a discussion about what should or should not have been said. or whether his rights are being infringed upon. I am more interested in how a Christian should defend his faith in an anti-christian world. It was Billy Graham who said, Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone—except God. So what’s a Christian to say? How do we respond to so many issues of the day that go against our Biblical beliefs?
Our family had a “round table” discussion about the subject the other night. And while we were in agreement with what Mr. Robertson said, we wondered if it was said in the right way. We discussed the idea that whatever a Christian says it should be said in love. We also discussed whether there might be times to “plead the 5th” and remain silent. We agreed that maybe our citizenship of heaven may at times trump our freedom of speech rights as a citizen of the U.S. In other words, there is a time to keep our thoughts to ourselves. Proverbs 17:8 says, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
The following day, during my Bible reading, our discussion was verified as I read from 1 Peter 3. Verses 7 & 8 say,
” Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”
We do not live by the same set of rules as unbelievers. These instructions are for the Christian, not unbelievers. We cannot expect unbelievers to live by these rules because they do not have the advantage of having the Holy Spirit to guide them. They are lost and our hearts should be tender to that fact.
Then in verses 13-17, we read …
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
I want to hone in on the INSTEAD part of this scripture because it gives us the protocol for our lives.
1. Worship Christ as Lord of your life.
This is our number one priority in this life .. to worship Christ and to make Him Lord of our lives. So let’s first examine our own lives. What percentage of our day are we reading scripture, studying scripture, and praying? How often do we pull away from the business of life and just draw close to God? Even Jesus, himself, drew away from the crowds to pray. I’m speaking to myself here. How long has it been since we really spent some quality time with the Lord?
Yes, evangelizing the unbelievers is important, but first we must be at one with Christ (and each other as Christians). In order for Christianity to be desirable, we must be set apart from the world. There needs to be a difference in the way we live our lives from an unbeliever’s life. Consider, the believers in Acts 2:42 and following
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
Souls were being saved daily and all they did was draw close to God. What I don’t see here is any lashing out or finger-pointing. I do see Christians coming together to hear the Word of God. I see meeting together daily; sharing with one another; taking care of each others needs; fellow-shipping together and praising God.
Unbelievers were then attracted to the community and being saved. They came out of curiosity to see what was going on. Sadly, I haven’t seen too much of that lately. D.L. Moody said ” Out of 100 men, 1 will read a Bible. The other 99 will read our lives.” So what do our lives say to others? Does our life back up what we are saying?
2. When asked about your faith be ready to answer.
Our lives should be like a magnet to unbelievers. It should make them so curious that they just have to ask what is so different. They will want what we have. They will wonder how we are able to get through the tough times in our life. That is when we will be given the opportunity to share our hope in Christ. Then, because we are steeped in the Word, we will have the right words to say and with the right attitude.
Note that the scripture says to answer gently and with respect. We should always remember to continue in love as we share our hope. We should not be condescending or “holier than though”. We should be kind and considerate sharing the Gospel; how Jesus Christ came to save sinners. We can leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit. That’s how it was when Jesus was on earth. His love and compassion brought the throngs of people to Him. You might notice that the only times that Jesus became angry or used hard language was with ‘religious leaders” who were not living appropriately as a follower of God. (But that is a sermon for another day.)
3. Return good for evil when spoken out against.
Not everyone is going to respond to you in kindness and fall to their knees in repentance. As a matter of fact, your very life will be a thorn to them and they may lash out with cruelty and hatred. We should actually expect this kind of reaction. After all, how did they react to Jesus? They killed Him, so why should we expect anything less?
But don’t take this personally. It is Christ they are rejecting, not you. Remember when the Israelites wanted a king, like the pagan nations? Samuel was heart-broken, but God reminded him that the people were rejecting Him not Samuel. We must continue in love. Continue to pray for them. Treat them with kindness. And God will bless us for this.
In Conclusion, let us have the attitude of Christ put forth in Philippians 2 which will one day lead to everyone bowing down before Christ.