You’ve heard the controversy: Phil Robertson, former leader of Duck Commander and star of the hit reality TV show “Duck Dynasty”, issued some statements about his views on homosexuality this past week. As result, he was suspended from the television show. Backlash has ensued. Controversy has arisen. Ugliness from both sides has been seen. So let’s talk about what the duck is going on here and what I believe is the big misunderstanding of this whole controversy.
If you look at the actual comments Phil made to GQ magazine (go here), they are vulgar, crude, and distasteful. I believe Phil should issue an apology for the way in which he said it. That doesn’t mean his comments are wrong or right–it just means that as a Christian leader we are held to higher standards and there are appropriate ways of saying what you believe and inappropriate ways of saying what you believe. I believe it was inappropriate. I know the Duck Dynasty fans will say, “That’s just Phil being Phil.” As a leader, he should know better how to express his opinions and beliefs.
Phil can believe that homosexuality is a sin and still love the people who are homosexual. In fact, he says in the article that he loves them. The major misunderstanding is that people equate his belief about homosexuality being a sin with Phil hating homosexuals or being homo-phobic.
There are almost no other sins that people can write or talk about, besides racism, where people make the same jump.
If I tell people that I think it’s a sin for parents to let their 14 year old children watch Rated-R movies I don’t think it would get much backlash. People wouldn’t assume that I hated those parents because they made those choices. They would simply assume that I don’t think its right, and for that, they would be correct.
If I tell people that I think it’s a sin to engage in any sort of sex outside of marriage, I don’t think it would get that much backlash. Maybe I’d be called old-fashioned, out of touch, or prude, but that’s probably the extent of it. People wouldn’t assume that I hated those people engaging in sex outside of marriage because they made those choices. They would simply assume that I don’t think its right, and for that, they would be correct.
If I tell people I think it’s a sin to engage in homosexual activity, it gets a whole lot of backlash. If enough people see it, eventually I’d be called a bigot, a hater, a homophobe, etc. And for that, they would be wrong.
For some reason, when the topic of sin comes up and you mention nearly any sin besides homosexuality, nobody relates that sin to hatred of the particular people that are engaging in that sin. But when the sin is homosexuality, it gets related to hatred towards those people. The second anyone defends it as a sin biblically it is distorted as bigotry and hatred for the individuals involved in that activity.
Here’s the truth: It is possible to know that someone is sinning and to absolutely love the person at the same time.
My wife does this for me every day. And I, in turn, do it for her every day.
I hate adultery. I hate lying. I hate cheating. I hate whining. I hate illegal drugs. I hate alcoholism. I hate homosexuality. I hate the Steelers.
And at the same time…
I love adulterers. I love liars. I love cheaters. I love whiners. I love drug-dealers. I love alcoholics. I love gay people. I still hate the Steelers…throw the Ravens in there too.
Right now in my life…
I’m currently friends with someone who once committed adultery. I’ve lied and I’ve cheated. My sons are big whiners right now. I’m friends with someone who dealt drugs. I’ve got quite a few alcoholic friends. I’ve got some friends who are gay. I even hang out with a Steelers fan quite often.
People want everyone to accept them for who they are. They want to be told that everything they are doing, especially the major lifestyle choices that they are making, are right. When we tell them they are wrong according to the Bible we believe in, they are offended, want nothing to do with us, and blast us for being hateful towards them.
The reality is all of us mess up. There’s not one person who is perfect. And as Christians, we continue to love one another despite those imperfections.
I can hate the sin that is in you and at the same time love you. It is possible. It is what Jesus has done for us. It is what he calls us to do.
The world, and the media, needs to let Christians have an opinion based on the Bible, without jumping all over us and accusing us of being haters and bigots to a group of people that I would welcome to come to my church. I would welcome them the same way I would welcome thieves, the same way I would welcome porn addicts, the same way I would welcome Steelers fans.
Come join the rest of us sinners. Let’s love one another, as Christ has loved us. Let’s admit we are not perfect, and let’s explore God’s forgiveness together.