If you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you might not know who Phil Robertson is. If you have been off planet for the last 10 days, you might not know what Phil Robertson said. If you want to hang around for a few minutes, I would like to offer a thought or two on this.
I have had several “Phil” moments. When I say a “Phil” moment, I don’t want to sound like I am putting him down. I am talking about those times when I said something about something I believed in, and somebody got upset. Really upset. Not burn my house down upset, but drag my name through the mud, tell all their friends, shoot me ugly looks kind of upset.
When I look back at those moments, I think about what I was thinking at the time the words left my mouth. I’m ashamed to say that there have been times when the wrong motive was at work. I’m very ashamed of some of those moments. They might not be the majority, but still too many for comfort.
What I see most often when I look at those times is that I was not paying attention to the people that were about to hear the words that were going to fall off my tongue. What would they do with those words? Would they take them in and understand them, or were they looking for something to bludgeon me with?
“I was not paying attention to the people that were about to hear the words…”
The motive behind the words is important because that is where our decision is made to disrespect people, to hurt people, to tell people they anger us. Our motive can be to merely share what we think, to invite a discussion, or to share information that we believe can help them, but our audience will determine what is heard if we are not careful.
I have angered friends and family with words that I thought were simple, straightforward, and necessary. I have hurt people with words that I had thought would be beneficial to them. I have pushed people away with words that I had intended to help bridge gaps.
The audience that hears our words is so important to the message we want to convey. If you want someone to hear you exactly for what you mean, there must be a trust in place that you are going to be speaking in their best interest. If they don’t trust you enough for that… it probably won’t be pretty.
I believe that Phil spoke from his heart not to condemn, but to share his belief in the Bible. I believe he did not call out a group of people for the purpose of shaming them or angering them, it was just what came to mind at the time.
We as humans do not like to be reminded of our sins. I know I don’t! But I am a sinner. I have done things that the Bible clearly outlines as sin. That makes me a sinner. Have I done them all? Nope. I don’t plan on it either! The thing is that it only takes one to be a sinner. That is what I believe to be true based on what I have read in the Bible.
Since I believe the Bible to be true, I do try to live my life a certain way. There are times that the way I live my life does not “jive” with how another person wants to live their life. Those are the moments where I need to be careful. Those are the moments where the people misunderstand, get hurt, get angry.
“There are times that the way I live my life does not “jive” with how another person wants to live their life.”
I don’t want to hurt people with my words. I want to try and reach people with the things I have to say. I have been given so much by my God, and I want people to experience those gifts for themselves. That is why I want to be aware of the people I speak to. I want people to know that I am not in the business of judging. I want people to know I care – even if I don’t agree with them.
I guess the one thing that this has brought up in my mind more than anything else is this:
When was the last time that I made a statement of my belief in the Bible and its truth that resulted in me being in hot water?
Been a long time. Probably too long. I am not saying that it is time for me to start looking for people that I can expose their sins in order to start a controversy. That would be wrong, and I don’t think that was what Phil did. I am just saying that I need to be more aware of the truth that is in me because of the belief I have in God’s Word, and look for the opportunity to share that truth.
That’s what Phil did. He did not target, he did not chastise. He spoke his belief in what the Bible has to say. He did not attack, and he also expressed his desire to show God’s love to people. The entire message was not heard by most.
Some heard hate. Some heard a battle cry. Some heard anger and judgment. Some heard a call. I think very few heard his heart. Not because he didn’t speak it, but because people saw him as a man with an agenda. I really think he was just a man, sitting down to share his thoughts. He didn’t expect all that happened afterward. It’s a shame that it all went the way it did.
Tolerance. We hear the need for it all of the time. We need to understand the meaning of it. It means that I will not look down on your for your beliefs, but that does not mean that I need to change mine. We might not agree, but we do not need to hate. We do not need to be angry. We do not need to tear down. We just disagree.
Relentless growth requires coming to grips with what you believe and finding the way to defend that belief without attacking a person. We, as Christians, are not here to judge. We are sinners as well, and have no right pointing a finger. Our job is in reflecting the light of Christ into lives, and you cannot do that with a pointed finger or a closed ear.
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them. Please comment below.
In HIS Grip,