As I was trying to figure out what to write last Friday, the topic that really caught my attention was the recent barrage of negative media attention this company was getting.
In case, you missed all the hubbub, Dan Cathy (the company’s COO and founder Truett Cathy’s son) spoke out on their views about marriage. He told the Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting the traditional family unit. Among other things, he also said:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.
“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
The backlash came quickly with city officials vowing to prevent new stores from opening and the media condemning their views. Me being the conflict-averse person that I can be, you know I chickened out on sharing my views if you saw my post on Friday. Not wanting to rankle any feathers, I reasoned that I should do more research first and opted instead for a feel-good post about the Olympics. Try as I might to dodge the topic, my mind kept drifting to the same thought:
We’ve all been gifted with a measure of influence–our circle of family members, friends, coworkers, church members, Little League moms, neighbors, etc.–but like me, far too many of us are content with not sharing our thoughts on the big issues. Except now, here I am sharing my thoughts. Not just to give my 2 cents about what’s right or wrong but to highlight some pretty important life lessons to takeaway from this incident and pass on to our kids.
1. Public opinion criticizing the Bible and Christian values as outdated, irrelevant and wrong will only deepen.
In Isaiah 40:8 God assures us that “the Word of God stands forever.” However, society would have us believe otherwise. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with images, words and ideas that were once taboo. For example, you don’t have to watch t.v. long to find couples co-habitating or sleeping around with people that aren’t their spouses. As we become desensitized to these issues, we begin to wonder if they really could be all that bad. After all, our friends or favorite celebrities are doing it, and look how great their lives have turned out. This leads to questioning what’s right and wrong, then questioning our values and beliefs, and then criticizing and even rejecting what we once believed to be true.
2. When the truth is unclear, it’s important to read and understand what God’s Word says for ourselves.
We can’t always rely on others to tell us how to think or act. For example, even among Christians, there are those that vigorously support Chick-fil-A’s stance and those that staunchly oppose it. Given that God is very black and white, it’s not possible for both camps to be right. Billy Graham says it best:
“Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God’s word.”
When in doubt, we must check it out. We have to dig into the bible for ourselves and see what it has to say about issues that are troubling us.
3. We have to be prepared to stand alone.
Because God’s Word will often run counter to what society believes, there’ll be times when we’ll hold the unpopular opinion. It takes a strong dose of confidence, faith and courage to keep standing for something that no one else believes in. The lure of fitting in can be very tempting for even the hardiest of Christians. The Bible tells us though to “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13).” We have to be willing to take the stand because we never know who is watching us or who we might be influencing. I love the song We Are by Kari Jobe. It’s such a beautiful reminder that we’re called to be he light of the world.
4. We all fall short.
Lest we get too pompous in our beliefs, we have to remember that there are no little sins or big sins in God’s eyes. Sin is sin. We have to temper our ideology with a measure of humility and grace that comes from knowing, “there but for the grace of God, go I.” Likewise, we have to watch put for putting a person, or company, or pastor or whomever on a pedestal because, again, we all have the capacity to sin.
5. We should support those who take a stand for what we believe in.
I must admit that I’m guilty as charged too when it comes to believing that God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. I admire the Cathy family for not shying away from their religious beliefs and even going so far as to ingrain them within their daily business operations. I doubt that my #1 combo with sweet tea alone will do much to affect their bottom line; however, every rainstorm starts with a raindrop. In Exodus , we see the Israelites winning a battle as long as Moses held up his arms. But growing tired and weary, he dropped his arms and the Israelites fortune quickly turned. In come two buddies of Moses to come along side him and help hold up his arms and assure the Israelites’ victory.
Likewise, when we see someone taking a stand for what we believe in, we need to help them hold up their arms. That’s why I’ll show up at Chick-fil-A on August 1st and many more times following. It’s but a small gesture of my support and an effort to let the world know loud and clear that there are others of us out here that stand guilty as charged.