Sticks and Stones

Yesterday I had a lengthy debate with someone from the tolerance movement, he said he identified as “mostly conservative” but also had the capacity (as if conservatives don’t) to recognize that we shouldn’t discriminate against anyone based on their age, sex, orientation, gender identity, political affiliations, religion and so on, you get the point.
He is a self professed person of perfection who doesn’t discriminate against anyone because he feels it’s wrong.
That said he openly called me an ignorant bigot, he told me my beliefs were wrong, my take on the Bible was wrong and is apparently not only perfect when it comes social issues like homosexuallity but is a world renowned biblical scholar. Yes of course I’m being sarcastic, this man didn’t actually say he was perfect or a scholar, but he did want to school me on my theology, doctrine and the definition of discrimination.

I ended the debate/argument on a high note with a “have a nice day” and I left.
What was interesting was that this whole thing started when I commented on a news feed about Kim Davis (the Kentucky clerk who refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses) and I knew what would happen, but I didn’t expect it to happen quite so quickly.
I said I disagreed with the decision to send her to jail and then… the vultures pounced, I was called everything from hate monger to homophobe to bigot to zealot, one guy called me numbnuts, another said I was stupid AND a moron.
When I called them out for being exactly what they accused me of (a hypocrite), they said their comments weren’t intolerant because it was true, I am a stupid, hatemongering, homophobic, intolerant bigot.
My reply was “that wasn’t very tolerant” and more insults came my way.

So I’m wondering, are we wasting our time and effort trying to convince people that their position may be wrong?
I chatted with this guy back and forth all day and got nowhere, in fact everytime I said something another “tolerant” lefty jumped in with another insult and then left, contributing nothing to a coherent conversation, if I can even call it that.
Would our time be better spent encouraging each other in our daily walk with the Lord? Or should we stay the course and continue to preach the word?
The answer to that I suspect would be that Jesus backed down from no one, and never judged them by saying there is no hope for you, He had hope for everyone, even the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross.

It is really hard though, because you and I know that we aren’t intolerant bigots and yet the culture we live in has done a really fine job of making us look like we are.
The truth is when I see people like Bruce Jenner, or Miley Cyrus I am not filled with hate or fear as they like to say, rather it is a feeling of sorrow and utter sadness that hits me, Miley has said some awful things about Christians and Bruce actually claims to be one, and while I cannot truly know where either of their hearts are it most certainly seems like they are not Christ centered.

Jesus told us we would be persecuted on account of Him and the very fact that we suffered persecution for Him means we would be blessed because of it. I’m not saying that people calling me names is persecution, real persecution is what’s happening in the middle east, but on the day Jesus was crucified it started with Him being mocked. Maybe this is just the beginning of the coming persecution, I don’t know but I do know that after the names that never hurt me come the sticks and stones.

Debating on a Facebook news feed is not like the face to face confrontation of real life, you can’t fully appreciate all of the emotions and tones of voice while reading words on a screen. It does however allow you to see a person for who they really are, you’ve heard it said that people will say things online that they would never say in real life, and it’s true. That allows me to get right to the heart of an issue and fast, they actually say what they’re thinking and then we can actually engage in an honest, though sometimes vulgar conversation.

The first time I commented on a news feed I didn’t realize the ferocity of the other side, they attacked quick and they attacked hard. Now I’m used to the name calling and insults, most of the time I think the names are funny because they make no sense, they call you homophobe which means I would be afraid of homosexuals, when I’m not. They say things like bigot the second you mention any disagreement with same sex marriage, again I’m not condemning them I’m just disagreeing.

It may not be persecution…yet, but the hostility towards Christians is growing and I’m concerned that when name calling isn’t satisfying enough that they’ll turn to the next thing and then the next… I don’t like speculation about the future so I’ll leave it at that.

The manner in which we handle unbelievers is how they will see the rest of us, I am careful to use an equal amount of truth and grace so that even if they think I’m stupid they’ll see that I was never mean to then, even though they don’t show the same courtesy.

All of this reminds me of what Paul said to the Ephesians while he was locked away in a prison.



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