eace on earth, goodwill toward men! My recent blog post about the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (Tragedy at Christmastime) mentioned how that phrase struck the writer of that song. His response was:
And in despair I bowed my head.
“There is no peace on earth,” I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
But the story didn’t end there for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, his song continued:
Then rang the bells more loud and deep,
“God is not dead, nor does He sleep
The wrong shall fail; the right prevail
with peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
About the time I posted those two videos and the lyrics of that Christmas carol, the news carried the story that A&E had suspended Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family in A&E’s tremendously successful reality show Duck Dynasty. They had suspended him for some comments he had made that were described by GLAAD and by the NAACP as hateful. These two groups called on A&E to do something about Phil’s statements.
Over the few days that have transpired since then, about one week, our nation has exploded with this story. People are choosing sides and stating their case. The media, from the liberal networks as well as the conservative networks, have misrepresented the statements Phil made and have missed the fact that much of what he said was direct scripture.
Without rehashing the whole mashup here, this story has made me consider the meaning of love and hate. GLAAD described the following quote as “hate speech.”
Phil had mentioned sexual sins, so an interviewer from GQ magazine asked him, “What do you think is sinful?”
Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph from there, Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
A&E put out a statement about Phil’s comment saying, “ Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors, who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.” News commentators then picked up the story and repeated the strong statements against Phil and what he had said. They didn’t seem to recognize the fact that he was calling out more than just homosexuals. He also called out the sins of promiscuity and adultery. The least angry statements came from FoxNews, but still called Phil’s comments “abhorrent” and “vile.” It was obvious that none of these newscasters and no one on any of their staffs had the slightest clue that most of what Phil had said was a paraphrase of scripture. The actual scripture is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the box to the right.
If scripture is considered by our society to be “hate speech,” and if love is defined by agreeing with whatever a person says or does, then our society is simply wrong. God and his word are always right.
In that interview Phil also said that he loves everyone and doesn’t condemn anyone“that is up to the Almighty.”
The true essence of love is speaking the truth to peopleeven when what we have to tell them is that their behavior is sinful. The reason this is loving is that it gives them an opportunity to correct their behavior before it’s too late. And if we allow people to continue in sin, we are, in fact, demonstrating hatred for them.
So at this Christmas season, when we Christians proclaim God’s ultimate show of love for we sinful creatures, what will bring actual peace to this earth? Only Christ... only truth... only love. But we must know what love is in order to demonstrate it. It is essentially the opposite of what our society says it is.
Phil led a bible study at his church this past Sundayjust four days after this whole thing exploded in the news. The news crews were welcomed and allowed to join the bible study. And here is what Phil said regarding this flap (courtesy of Young Conservatives).
- I have been immoral, drunk, high. I ran with the wicked people for 28 years and I have run with the Jesus people since and the contrast is astounding.
- Sexual sins are numerous and many, I have a few myself. So what is your safest course of action? If you’re a man, find yourself a woman, marry them and keep your sex right there.
- Commonsense says we are not going to procreate the human race unless we have a man and a woman. From the beginning Jesus said, “It is a man and a woman.” Adam was made and Eve was made for this reason.
- If you give them the bad news, they’ll start kicking and screaming. But you love them more than you fear them, so you tell them.
- Jesus will take sins away, if you’re a homosexual he’ll take it away, if you’re an adulterer, if you’re a liar, what’s the difference? If you break one sin you may as well break them all.
- If we lose our morality, we will lose our country. It will happen. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all walk around without stealing from each other and killing each other?
- Why don’t we just love each other enough that we wouldn’t want to do these things to each other?
- We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated, I have a degree from Louisiana Tech.
- Are you kidding? I have been traveling to and fro spreading this message.
- I have made hundreds and hundreds of speeches and you can pick them apart and the center has always been Jesus Christ.
- Do many people get up and walk out? Yeah, all the time, do I hold it against them? No. Anybody can get up and stop listening.We are all just humans on this planet.
- Jesus Christ was the most perfect being to ever walk this planet and he was persecuted and nailed to the cross, so please don’t be surprised when we get a little static.
- I will not give or back off from my path.