I grew up in the city. It wasn’t the concrete jungle part of the city though. I lived in a single family house with a decent sized yard with an above ground pool. This was my house…not sure why it had two-tone siding…it was like that when my parents bought it and we just kept it that way (smile).
I can’t speak about neighborhoods outside of the city, but the guys in our little neighborhood were very territorial. There were several little neighborhoods around ours, and they all seemed to be rivals of each other. Think of your sport team’s nemesis and that is what it was like. Unfortunately, this lead to some neighborhood fights. There was one in particular that was really bad. I’m not sure why this fight started, but I can tell you I’m sure it was over something trivial. The guys were preparing for the fight by gathering chains and other items that could be used as weapons. It was like something out of The Outsiders movie (or book). When I realized how bad it was going to be, I started to head home. I guess the police got wind of the fight because as I was making my way home I almost got hit by a police car…and I was on the sidewalk! Things were chaotic and crazy!
That’s pretty much how I feel about all the bickering that goes on fueled by the media. Crazy! The latest being the coverage of Michael Sam and his being the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft. Immediately I saw posts complaining about the acceptance of Sam, and the negative comments that Tim Tebow received previously for being Christian. People get so tied up in knots about this stuff, and they spew words that can hurt as much as fists and chains.
Some people will say they are just expressing their opinion…it doesn’t mean that they hate any specific group of people. They wonder why people get so defensive or angry about it. Well lets pick on smokers for a moment. If someone told you every time you smoked a cigarette, that you were killing the precious body that God gave to you, I have a feeling that it would get really old eventually. How about every time you lit up, someone quoted the verse in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. You may get a little defensive about it over time. And smoking is something that you do…it’s not who you are…you can become a non-smoker.
Gay people are bullied, discriminated against, sometimes beat up, and are told over and over again that they are an abomination to God and are going to hell. Daily. Of course eventually they can’t take it and they get angry or defensive…or both. So when people post articles like the ones out there now about Michael Sam, it feels like a personal attack. Being gay is who they are not something that they do.
I’ve read some things recently that Christians feel that circumstances such as the differences in how the public reacted to Sam and Tebow mean that Christians are being persecuted. I think it is crazy to feel that way from “some” people’s opinions. I think things get blown so out of proportion. Like the guys in my neighborhood that would fight over trivial things. I’m a Christian. I don’t feel like I’m being persecuted. Do some speak out against my beliefs? Of course. But I’m not going to whine about that. Just ask Meriam Ibrahim what it’s like to be persecuted for faith. She is pregnant, sitting in a jail, and sentenced to death because she won’t renounce her faith. That is persecution.
We are told that being Christian at times will not be easy. It is our choice to be a Christian. I can tell you that being gay is not easy. People do not choose to be gay. They can choose to be celibate, but they are still gay. And I can tell you that they face persecution almost daily because of it.
Jesus’ words remind me that life on this earth won’t always be easy:
John 16:33 (NLT)
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
MacLaren’s Expositions has this to say about the above verse:
So end these wonderful discourses, and so ends our Lord’s teaching before His passion. He gathers up in one mighty word the total intention of these sweet and deep sayings which we have so long been pondering together. He sketches in broad outline the continual characteristics of the disciples’ life, and closes all with the strangest shout of victory, even at the moment when He seems most utterly defeated.
We shall, I think, best lay on our hearts and minds the spirit and purpose of these words if we simply follow their course, and look at the three things which Christ emphasizes here: the inward peace which is His purpose for us; the outward tribulation which is our certain fate; and the courageous confidence which Christ’s victory for us gives.
I like the statement, “closes all with the strangest shout of victory, even at the moment when He seems most utterly defeated.” I get frustrated too by comments that people make about Christians, as well as, comments that people make about gay people. I just remind myself that Jesus has this. He is victorious. I don’t need to argue. I’m not saying that we should all stick our head in the sand, but I will say that we need to educate ourselves fully before we become a squeaky wheel about any topic.
I found these this week. I think they speak into this issue and I love what they all have to say:
Remember to love each other…because love matters.