Shaking the tree

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Social media has been whirling this week around the comments made by Phil Robertson in his interview for GQ magazine. Watching this all unfold has been heartbreaking for me because I can see what is at work here and Christians everywhere are falling into the trap. I commend Phil for being strong in his faith and not backing down from the pressure of the world to conform. His comments prove that he is human and not perfect by anyone’s standards, but that doesn’t stop his faith.

Shaking the tree and watching the leaves fall is a profound way to show how weak the leaves really are unless they are continuously fed and remain strong, even when the winds are at gale force. That is how I compare a lot of Christians’ reactions to his comments and also the comments of those who oppose him. I saw name-calling, friendships threatened, and eventually capitulation and retreat. I saw one post from a Christian organization that actually called for love and prayer for all people, not just the ones who were involved directly. That should be our response to all controversies, because that is how we show the world that Jesus really is the answer to having peace and eternal life. That’s what we were told to do by Him and yet, so many think that they have to take matters into their own hands and argue the merits of God and His Holiness. No, we don’t condone any sin, but we also do not judge. We are not able so we shouldn’t allow the temptation to do so win.

This week has also proven to me yet again, that we are in the last days and should be prepared. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 says, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” These are people who have been given the choice of surrendering to and loving Jesus Christ as our Holy Lord and have chosen to fulfill the pleasures of their own flesh. It never says do not love them and it doesn’t say to go to verbal battle with them. 2 Timothy 2:12 goes on to say, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
If we believe God’s Word, then we show our faith by living it and not spending our precious time pointing out other people’s faults, or defending them.

So, the Scripture being referred to by Mr. Robertson? 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, no sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” This is good, but I think Mr. Robertson could have gone a little further with verse 11, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.” You see, rather than point out the sin and the consequences of it, we must point out the hope within the salvation that Jesus provided and show the love He has for us by showing it the all people! Mr. Robertson did well to point out that he was a sinner just as we all are and his focus on Jesus Christ now in his life has truly changed him. I think we must focus on that change and not continue to focus on the sin.

I appreciate the gale force wind that came out of Mr. Robertson. We need to shake up the tree every once in a while to make sure we are standing firm in our faith. You know that’s what Jesus did. We ALL have a choice and we must live with our choices for eternity, wherever we end up. I would think that a Christian’s goal is to make such a commotion that Christianity is talked about, even if it’s in offense. But only if the Christians are prepared to fight back with Christ’s love for all people, not condemnation.


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