Since I’m not a hockey fan, I was unaware until this morning that Canadian goalie James Reimer who plays for the San Jose Sharks had made news over the weekend.
What did he do?
Break the single game record for saves? Stop the New York Islanders from scoring a last second goal winning shot? Start a fight and get ejected from the game?
Nope. None of the above.
On a night when the Sharks were celebrating “Pride Night” supporting the LGBTQIA+ community (apparently that’s a thing in Hockey today) by wearing a special jersey, Reimer refused. Regarding his decision, the goalie offered this statement.
“For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian—not just in title but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and to follow him. I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness.
In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life. I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.”
Much of the response was overwhelmingly negative. Reimer has been called a bigot. A homophobe. And a hater. On twitter, Reimer was cursed, mocked, and threatened. One tweet opined that there was something wrong with a “religion that says you are wrong.”
The culture war against Christians and Biblical values continues to escalate. Believers are accused of being unloving, intolerant, and haters, no matter how respectfully they disagree.
Somehow, our society has been led to believe if you disagree with someone’s belief or practice that is tantamount to hate. That’s not necessarily so. While Jesus called upon His followers to both “love your neighbor,” as well as “love your enemies,” He also pointed out the sins in people’s lives. To the woman caught in the act of adultery, he showed compassion and kindness, but told her “to go and sin no more.”
Throughout His ministry, Jesus reached out to sinners and those disenfranchised from society, but He never sanctioned their sin, either by outright agreement, tacit endorsement, or complicit silence. Instead, He said his mission was to “call sinners to repentance” (Lk. 5:32).
The religion of Jesus Christ identifies right and wrong. Godliness and ungodliness. Righteousness and unrighteousness. In fact, even under the law of Moses, Israel was given instructions contrasting good and evil, calling on them to obey God’s Word. The idea that religion ought not to label certain deeds as wrong is ridiculous. Even the age old Ten Commandments specified certain “Thou Shall Nots.”
On the other side of this coin, Christians need to realize that not everyone who disagrees with us hates us. While some may hate Believers, many just don’t understand Christ, Christianity, the Bible or our adherence to His teaching. To such individuals, and even to the haters of God, we should always “speak the Truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
Paul’s admonition to the young evangelist Timothy, calls all of us who preach, pastor and teach to a higher standard of discourse when teaching the Truth.
“The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth…” (2 Tim. 2:24-25).
The preacher’s purpose, as well as all Christians, is not to win arguments, but to win souls. Even when we disagree with our detractors, we can do so with grace, kindness, and decorum.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
6 responses to “Disagreement is Not Hate”
Some would rather bite and devour those with whom they disagree. The character of a Christians should be to know before we speak and when we do speak it should be with love towards those we correct. If we can’t do that is would be better to be mute.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid you’re right, Jim
When you cannot answer a person’s argument, start ridiculing him and calling him names. This is called in debate ad hominem. It began in the Garden of Eden.
Thanks for reading my blog, Ron. And offering a pertinent, sadly true, observation.
Beautiful post. May the Lord bless the work of your hands and increase you more and more. I also wanted to quickly share a message of hope that has uplifted my spirit in a very hard time and made a big difference, just wanted to share it to bless someone in need of a word from the Lord, please watch and share it with someone who may need to hear this today:
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