My last post and Daily News Record "Open Forum" on Martin Luther King, Jr. was shared on VCA's facebook page. Within a 24-hour period, about 1400 people had viewed it, and many of them reacted strongly against it. Here is a sampling of their comments:
"Maybe if your view was not that of an extremist, people would get it."
"Your [sic] nothing more than a bunch of racist. [sic] Judgment is mine says the Lord so who and the hell are you to judge anyone or thing. Your God will own you one day."
"For someone like you, that preaches hate and intolerance, to even reference Dr. King is an obscenity."
"You Christian extremists have no right to discriminate against others and call it 'Religious Freedom'. You hateful, close [sic] minded sheep don't get to redefine marriage for your own purposes."
"You write with the intent to do harm. You write with the intent to destroy. You write with the intent to spread hatred and malice throughout the world. In short, you deserve no respect. You deserve no kindness, and in fact, deserve nothing but to be cast forever into the pits of slime, horned demons and hellfire from whence you have obviously come."
When I read some of these, there is a part of me that screams to the rest of me, “Stop!! Sound the retreat!” I care about being liked, and it is painful to absorb some of these insults, accusations, and general indications of others' desires to see me die in pits of slime!
This may come as a surprise to some, because I do put myself out there on some of the most heated, controversial issues of our time. So yes, in a sense, I am “asking for it.” In a sense we are all "asking for it" when we challenge worldviews that are exalted over what we know to be True.
This time was a little different for me, however. There are plenty of people out there who hate me for my positions on these issues (the pro-life issue, for instance), and I can live with that without losing much sleep. It’s harder for me to live with being hated for being a “racist,” because I am not a racist.
Isn't it just miserable to be misunderstood and wrongly accused? To have our intentions unfairly maligned? But as two different friends, on two separate occasions, have recently reminded me, we are in the service of One who understands us—the good, the bad, and the ugly in us—perfectly.
What to do with that part of us that wants to retreat? It seems perfectly plausible to me. No one is forcing me to speak out or to challenge the hopelessness, confusion, idolatry and futility of the prevailing contemporary worldviews. I could sit here in my perfect health, in my comfortable home, with my healthy, loving family, enjoying all the best that the world has to offer. I could spend the day reading a great classic novel (believe me, this is a constant temptation). But I am simply convinced that God has put me (and YOU!) here to WORK for Him. To point anyone who will listen toward the great Creator. The Inventor of Beauty. The Giver of all wisdom. The Definer of Truth. The Dispenser of Justice. The One who Redeems people like me from the pit.
Every human "good" we observe in this world is but a dim reflection of the One who is the very essence and source of all Goodness. Isn’t it our job to be crying this out in the streets to anyone who will listen--and even to those who will scorn us for it? To be proclaiming that the universal values of mankind--beauty, wisdom, truth, justice, mercy--are but signposts on the pathway toward the Author and Owner of all things “good”?
We will be mocked and insulted, and we will certainly be misunderstood, but we must not be silent.
The Lord of Hosts has been gracious to me, and it is a sweet joy and an honor to do His work. “In [His] service, pain is pleasure, with [His] favor, loss is gain.”