"Making a Stand"
October 27, 2016
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who ... in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:4-5, 8
Milliken University is a fine private school in Central Illinois.
At their football game on September 24th, some of the members of the team decided to "take a knee" rather than stand for the national anthem. In doing so, they followed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who, in his protest against racial injustice, has also not shown respect for the anthem.
The reaction of the local community was one of outrage.
In response the Milliken football team decided on another course of action: they would remain in the locker room until after the anthem had been played, and then they would all spend a moment in personal reflection on those who had made sacrifices for the country and how they can live up to the idea of "liberty and justice for all."
And that's what they did... except for Connor Brewer, a defensive lineman.
The picture of Brewer, standing alone on that football field while the anthem was being played, was picked up by the news media. Some said he was a hero, while others complained he had betrayed the solidarity of his team. Brewer, himself, out of respect for his coach and fellow players, declined to be interviewed.
So there you have it: Americans making use of their freedom of speech to convey a message.
No one can doubt they are acting according to conscience, nor dare we think those protesters have proceeded without first having searched their hearts. Still, the responses to what they have done have not been especially positive.
That is because most have forgotten you do not right a wrong by doing another wrong. You cannot help someone you feel has been mistreated by mistreating the values of someone else. In this case, discussion has revolved more around the protest than the cause which motivated it.
St. Paul makes the point better than I ever could when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23: "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up."
Now I don't expect the world will pay much attention to the inspired words of the apostle. People outside the Christian community will continue to indiscriminately use their "rights" to correct all manner of real and imagined wrongs.
But we believers should be different. Following the Savior's example we should, in humility, look to the interests of others. Following Jesus, we should bring about positive changes, by reaching out to others and encouraging them to be better than the world.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the Savior who gave up heaven and humbled Himself so that all who believe on Him might be forgiven, saved and be changed for the better. May my Christian life be conducted in a way that will strengthen others rather than tearing them down. In the Savior's Name I pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries