June 4, 2012
(Jesus said) "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:11-12
After the president decided to come out in favor of gay marriage, Monsignor Gerard O'Connor thought he ought to respond.
He had a sign put up on the church bulletin board of his parish, St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet, Massachusetts. The sign read: "Two men are friends, not spouses."
When I read the sign, I thought it was tasteful and didn't push the bounds of freedom of speech or freedom of religion.
At least that's how I saw it.
Apparently, I was wrong. In a short time ...
• sign-carrying members of the homosexual community began to picket the church;
• somebody put up a placard near his. This new sign read "Spread love, not hate";
• some people called the parish phone and threatened physical violence;
• one person called and promised to burn the church down.
Shocked by the intensity of the response against his bulletin board, the monsignor said, "We understand people disagree with us, but we do it out of love. We never said we hate anybody."
Yes, the monsignor was shocked. He probably shouldn't have been.
The Lord Jesus told us such things would happen to those who follow Him. It so happens we live in an age where Christians are supposed to be understanding, open and supportive of every idea that comes down the pike. That's every idea -- no matter how cockamamie that idea is.
If he doesn't, he's narrow-minded, prejudiced and opinionated.
On the other hand, when a Christian stands up for what he believes, for what is contained in Scripture, he's being pushy. As the monsignor found out, nobody has to be understanding, open and supportive of a Christian. That's because, quite often, open-mindedness is a one-way street.
All of this leaves each of us with a choice. We can bend, fold, spindle and mutilate the Gospel, so it seems to accept all which the world suggests, or we can stand up for what we believe is true. We can run the risk of being unpopular and threatened with physical harm.
It sounds like a no-brainer, and it is until people start picketing and phone-callers threaten to burn down your buildings. That's when Christians start to wonder if there wasn't another way.
To help them all stand firm, I'd like you to join me and pray for all those who are standing up for the Savior who gave His life, so we might have eternal life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, these are troublesome times. Your Name and Your work of saving us has been devalued. This is why we ask the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to stand for what we know is true. Further, may we be given the words to bear witness to all You have done for the fallen children of men. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries