That does appear to be the question … at least it is here in the state of TN.
I am not a “boycotter” by nature. Back in the 90s, when Christians were boycotting Disney our family went to Disney World while in Orlando for the Southern Baptist Convention. I still drink Starbucks coffee and I’ll be honest, I’ll probably continue to shop at Target from time to time. However, my shopping trips there have lessened as I am able to get more of what I need online at a better price and it’s delivered to me … far more convenient. But I sincerely support those who have decided to boycott and those who have not for various reasons.
I fully recognize that I have most likely been using the public restroom with transgendered people for years and had no idea. I’m one of those rare females where going to the restroom isn’t a social thing for me. I go in, do what I need to do, wash my hands and leave. I rarely take into account who is in there or what not. However, that will now change … not because of the transgendered people but because of the sex offenders and pedophiles who are always looking for a loophole to satisfy their evil and perverse desires. It is illogical to think that this won’t happen. And I believe that this is the greatest concern of many Christians who are choosing to boycott. It is their right and their choice to do this for the protection of their family. Are they right to voice their concern? Yes. Is it okay for them to be hateful in the process? No. Is it right for other Christians to be hateful towards them when they disagree? No. This is their choice. It’s between them and the Lord. We need to stop arguing with each other over social media. We look like fools. And we need to stop taking scripture out of context to prove our point as to why we are right Biblically and they are wrong.
For example: the favorite comeback of “Jesus hung out with people like that …”. I have seen everyone use this, including preachers and they just leave it at that but it’s not entirely truthful. Yes, Jesus hung out with sinners but He did not celebrate or tolerate their sin. He did the opposite … He loved them, exposed their sin to them and told them to “sin no more.” Does this mean we, as Christians, are to walk around exposing the sins of others? No. The balance that seems to be missing is that Jesus had a relationship with “these people” but they knew where He stood. It was His love for them that drew them to Him but I don’t believe that they ever for one minute doubted that He disagreed with their lifestyle. But because His love for them didn’t waiver that’s what won them over, opened their eyes to their sin and their need for a Savior. That’s how love won and how love will win every time.
So in this matter, I say you do what’s right for you and your family. Sincerely pray about it and see how the Lord would have your family approach this issue. I truly hate that in our overly sexed society, parents are having to discuss this issue with their 3 and 4 year old children. We are stamping out their innocence and imagination more and more every day. Your family is your top priority second to the Lord that trumps society every time but set the example of love for your children. I have worked with children in an afterschool setting for several years and let me tell you it’s humbling to see what they pick up. I know some parents who would be embarrassed by their children’s imitation of them on the playground. While it’s important for your children to know what your family takes a stand against, make sure they also know what you are for and what you hope to accomplish for the Kingdom of God.
As for me … I have found out that I live in one of the most sin depraved parts of the city of Knoxville due to the highest concentration of millennials. I recognize that this is my mission field. My apartment complex blatantly speaks to this fact. So I am trying to balance being missional and wise about my surroundings. While I know Jesus didn’t call us to a safe life, He didn’t call us to be stupid either. I don’t shop at places based off how I can be more like Jesus and I am willing to bet that 95% of most Christians in America don’t either … but they are going to claim it anyway. 🙂 However, I do want to be intentional when those opportunities to talk about the Lord arise.
I have been able to develop a friendly rapport with the drive thru barista at the Starbucks near my grad school. He’ll hang out at the window and ask me if I have anything fun planned for the evening. This was how our conversation went last week …
Me: I have class tonight.
Him: Oh …
Me: Yea, I have a presentation to give too.
Him: Oh really? On what?
Me: Religion and Spirituality in Counseling.
Him: Oh, is this because of that new bill they passed saying that counselors can discriminate against LGBT?!
Me: No, it’s actually not about the bill. It just happens to be the chapter from the book.
Him: Uh, I figured it was because of the bill. Isn’t that crazy? What’s with that?
Me: Well, you know I have found that society goes through these huge pendulum shifts from one extreme to the other. Did you know that at one point religion and spirituality wasn’t even discussed in counseling because counselors didn’t believe it was important to the client’s well being?
Him: That’s crazy! I haven’t been in church in a while. I moved from a place that was more tolerant of things to a small community here and everyone was so hateful so I decided church wasn’t for me. But I have been told the churches in Knoxville are better so I’ve changed my 3rd shift position around so I can start going again.
Me: That’s awesome! Yes, absolutely, get back into church …
We discussed a few more things about church and “love thy neighbor” before I headed off to class. It was a simple conversation and he was delightfully surprised to learn that I am a pastor’s kid. I hope I reflected Jesus that day and not my discomfort over the LGBT issue as I do not want to distract from the love of Christ instead I want to seek to live by these words:
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written,“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21 ESV
I love you all.