The Great Commission: Matthew 26:18-20: Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT)
The Fruits of The Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23: But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (NLT)
It seems to me as though people lose their focus at times. The “main thing” is no longer the main thing. Christians are no different and at times can seem even more so. We tend to lose focus on the main thing we’re called to do, as well as the main thing we’re called to show. We get distracted. “Issues” pop up in our lives, on our computer screens or within our newspapers like so much white noise or an annoying mosquito buzzing your ear. We feel the need to speak out on these “issues”, bat at it with a verbal fly-swatter, make a stand, pick a side and voice our opinion, or worse, our oft-times limited understanding of doctrine.
The main thing is no longer the main thing. The issue is now the main thing, or more accurately, our stand on the issue becomes the main thing: serving in the end only to widen the chasm between Christ and those seeking him; and worse, building a divide between believers themselves over our self-righteous sanctity of belief. We’ve lost focus. We’re neither fulfilling the Great Commission nor are we displaying Fruits of the Spirit. To each other, or the world.
And please don’t try to tell me that taking a stand on gay marriage–even more so eating a flippin’ chicken sandwich–is “making disciples of all the nations . . . teaching (them) to obey all the commands I have given you.” It’s a distraction folks, though it tastes an awful lot like chicken.
Anyone, even a CEO of a national restaurant chain, is entitled to whatever opinion they choose to take. (Though, when a CEO chooses to make such a stand on a national radio show, that stand no longer qualifies as “private opinion”—sorry, the fall-out should have been anticipated.) The “issue” isn’t chicken. The “issue” isn’t even gay marriage. To Christians, the “issue” should always be how you are portraying Christ to those you meet. How you are displaying the Fruits of The Spirit to a fallen world.
That gay man you’re yelling at may be no more fallen than you. No less a disciple of Jesus than you. He has his path. He has his struggles. You have yours. You’re probably a lot more alike than you’d like to believe.