I like comfort. There’s something about a soft pillow, a warm blanket, and a nap on a Sunday afternoon. It’s nice when my 2-year-old son plays quietly, my family gets along, and I face no traffic on my way to work. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s peaceful. But even with all this comfort, there’s a problem.
It demands nothing of me.
That’s not to say that comfort is bad. After all, God rested on the 7th day (Genesis 2:2-3) and commanded us to do the same (Exodus 20:8-11). But as Christians, we are called to more than what’s comfortable. We’re called to “stand firm in the one Spirit” (Philippians 1:27), “be doers of the word” (James 1:22), and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Those are not exactly the easiest and most comfortable things to do. But unfortunately, too often, I’ve chosen to live a comfortable Christianity that allows me to go to church on Sunday, come home, watch some football, pray before my meals, and go about my week.
While there’s nothing wrong with these things, this kind of faith doesn’t change the world, and it certainly doesn’t “make disciples of all nations.”
Following the example of MLK
Last week, we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who put his life on the line, and inspired others to do the same, for the sake of freedom. He believed in changing the attitude of an entire nation and over the years has been followed by millions of people, even after his death.
But he didn’t do it from a couch.
He stood up, spoke up, and showed up to secure equal rights for African Americans across our country.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” And if you’ve seen the movie Selma, you know that he and his followers were willing to face an extremely violent opposition in order to obtain equal voting rights.
Dr. King could have backed down. He could have stayed home. He could have said that this was someone else’s battle. But he didn’t. He took on the challenge amidst the controversy, and he won.
As Christians, are we willing to do the same?
With attempts to redefine marriage and force people of faith to violate their conscience, are we willing to stand up, speak up, and show up to defend our faith?
Or will we choose the comfort of our couches?
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” Dr. King once said. And marriage matters. What we believe matters. And the freedom to express our beliefs without punishment from the government matters.
We cannot be silent. And while we likely won’t face the same sort of violent opposition as Dr. King, we must be brave and stand up to an opposition that can still be detrimental to our lives, as it is for people like:
- Barronelle Stutzman, a florist facing two lawsuits that threaten her business and all she owns because she declined to participate in the wedding of her long-time customer and his same-sex partner.
- Blaine Adamson, a t-shirt printer who is being sued and could lose his business for offering to refer to another printer, rather than personally accepting, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization’s request to create shirts promoting its “pride festival.”
- Kelvin Cochran, Atlanta’s former fire chief who was terminated from his job for self-publishing a Christian book for his men’s Bible study that included a few lines on homosexuality, amid a broader discussion of Biblical morality.
We are right now in a time of great challenge and controversy. Let’s stand firm in one Spirit, be doers of the word, and make disciples of all nations.
But let’s do so with love. For as Dr. King reminds us, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”