The older I get in my Christian faith, the more convinced I am that what matters most is not what we believe, but rather the actions those beliefs encourage us to take or not take. Just over a week ago Christianity in America was literally reduced to a chicken sandwich as people on both sides of a very polarizing political issue stood up in arms over their disdain/support of Chik-Fil-A in the wake of their statements concerning “biblical marriage.”
I wrote about my thoughts and concerns, and the more I have pondered the events of that day, my heart has been broken concerning a certain group of people. I have really thought about the people who are on the fence; those who are contemplating jumping in with both feet to a life of following Christ. They have been searching for something real and meaningful that they can pour their life into and wrap their heart around. And for many of these people, I believe they thought a relationship with Jesus Christ and the church may have been that one thing for which their hearts were longing. And as these people were contemplating this life-altering decision, what was it that the Christian community did? Some posted hate videos on Youtube and other sites (and these were in response to the nature of statements made as well as anti-gay organizatins Chik-Fil-A admitted to supporting), and called for a boycott. One I saw suggested people go into Chik-Fil-A and only order a glass of water which they are legally required to give, therefore they would be detracting employee time and a little bit of corporate revenue from the chicken sandwich franchise. Others on the flip side followed Mike Huckabee’s marching orders and flooded Chik-Fil-A with support on August 1. People waited in line for hours, lines were backed up around the block, and customers were parking hundreds of yards away, to stand in 100+ degree heat to buy a $7.00 sandwich value meal, complete with waffle fries and lemonade. Then they posted pictures of their chicken sandwich meals on social networking sites, telling everyone of their support of God, country, and chicken.
I know many people believe the incident was not about gay marriage, but about Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech. And I do believe we should be free to speak what we believe. But what if all Christ followers sought to live out their beliefs in such a way that people on the outside of Christianity looking in would say, “I want what they have,” rather than saying, “Wow, this is ridiculous!”
There will always be disagreement on this issue. I am very firm in my beliefs on this issue, yet I haven’t met a person yet on the other side who has been “won over” by belligerent rhetoric. If you believe gays should not be allowed to marry and you have biblical basis for saying so, that is well and good. But how we live out that conviction before the world and how we treat those who believe otherwise says more about who we are than our view on this issue. Likewise, if you are one who believes gays should be allowed to marry, how you go about living that out says more about who you are than your stance on the issue. Actions speak louder than words, and on August 1, people didn’t see Christ. They saw chicken.