The Duck Dynasty Firestorm

The Duck Dynasty firestorm.  Seems like every other news story or FB post weighs in on it.  I kept my mouth shut...til now. When I read a post that insisted Jesus wouldn't agree with what Phil Robertson said and that He didn't even support public prayer citing Matthew 6:5 as proof, I could not keep silent.  I am probably going to succeed only at ticking off 99% of readers because I agree with both sides...and neither side.  I am not in the middle nor on the outskirts.  I am everywhere else.

I could so easily be Phil Robertson OR A&E.  Doctrinally, I align more closely with the duck caller and have often said things that offend. But I have also been in the position of distancing myself from something I thought wouldn't benefit me.  Caring too much what others might think and reacting from a standpoint of fear or reprisal. And I have probably also been in the place of insecurity and fear of condemnation that organizations such as GLAD are in, demanding to be acknowledged and affirmed.

Here's some things I've pondered as I processed:

First, how many folks have commented on the situation without even reading the whole article?  (And remember, even if we read the entire thing, we don't know everything that was said unless we were there.)  Scripture would call that foolish - see Proverbs 18:13.  I am all for having an opinion and expressing it but exercise caution first and know what you are opining about.  From what I've read, it doesn't appear to me that the duck patriarch was singling out one certain sin to condemn.  Nor did he come across as hateful or bigoted.

Next, believers should know that Mr. Robertson was referencing Scripture accurately.  And not the Old Testament only.  He was quoting passages from Paul's letters to the Corinthians.  But if you look at the context of what he said, he was listing the things that are sin, not singling out one particular behavior nor does he appear to link one type of behavior to another. He states a list of sins.  Lots of times the church is guilty of not wanting to say that sin is sin.  But it is.  So we should. Like Mr. Robertson did.

The main point that I think got missed is the fact that all of us were these former things, in need of the saving power of Christ. The reason we need Jesus is because we are sinners.  This is the most critical truth.  SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD and we need someone to bridge that gap, to bring us salvation. The things Paul lists in this epistle (and lots more places) are SIN.   And once we receive this salvation, we are no longer defined by this behavior.  Mr. Robertson himself testifies of this.

That said, my personal opinion is that Mr. Robertson phrased things coarsely.  There are some lines from the article that I consider unnecessary and inappropriate.  I'll defend his right to say them but I'll also defend A&E's right to take action they consider best for their business.  (Just gotta insert here, though, that they knew what he was like when they signed him up....)  I personally think they overreached when they put him on hiatus and I wish they had just come out with a statement that disagreed with him and left it at that.  But they did what they thought was best and I can live with that.  I wish we Christ-followers wouldn't get our dander all up about their decision and act in some un- Christlike ways. Like demanding our "rights".  (Interestingly, just two short verses prior to the list Mr. Robertson referenced is a verse that urges us to be willing to be wronged!!!)  Like equating this to torture and persecution.  Frankly, that offends me.  When I consider some of the things that Christians are suffering right now, I can't even put this in the same universe.

What do I want to learn from this?  And for my kids to learn from this?  Two lessons.  Maybe three.

1.  What we say matters.  So does how we say it. Even more so for Christians.   Words can do a lot of good or a whole lot of damage.  And once we say them, we have no control over what happens with them.  James 3:5-7 - How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. The best we can strive for is to keep our hearts right (because The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.  Luke 6:45) , to think before we speak, to hear the matter before we answer it, and to pray that God's grace and wisdom and love would fill us and spill out of our mouths.

2.  Speaking truth is not what God calls judging.  God decides what is sin and He spells it out in His Word.  Repeating what He says isn't judging.  Thinking we know someone's heart and/or deciding if that heart is acceptable is judging.  For all sides.

3. We all say things that offend and we are all sometimes offended when no offense was intended.  So what we need to do is to extend mercy and grace all around.  Not to compromise truth but to pour forth mercy.  Because we ourselves need it desperately.  And James 2:13 is clear For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

4.  Ok, one more. We all need a Savior.  Whether our sin is adultery or stealing or lying or gluttony or pride or homosexuality or all of the above, we fall short of God's standard of holiness.  And we need a Savior so that we can be transformed into His original intention for mankind.  That's why we celebrate Christmas.  Why we give thanks for His indescribable gift of Jesus, who alone can restore us all.  Amen.