The talk in some circles of American Christianity this week is what NBC did, or rather didn’t do, this past Sunday afternoon during their US Open broadcast. Because the golf tournament was held in Washington, DC, the network put together a short montage of patriotic clips with an audio byte that included a reading of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Only one thing: they forgot to include three little words … under God, indivisible. Two of which are words that throw
all most some Christians into a tizzy if someone messes with them.
I’m one of those Jesus followers who happened to not be offended. Because I don’t think it does any good.
You see, I’ve never met someone who was offended by something and they haven’t told at least one person about it. When we’re offended, the emotion that’s displayed is very outward and vocal. And in this age of social media, it’s easy for our anger over a mistake or mishap to spread quickly. (In fact, FB and Twitter talk had spread so quickly, one of the commentators apologized before the end of Sunday’s broadcast.)
When we’re offended by things, it’s obvious that we take our time and influence and energy and devote those things to tell others about how horribly we’ve been wronged. The flipside is bottling that offense inside and letting it stew and simmer into resentment. And let’s be honest … how healthy is bitterness to someone’s emotional and spiritual well-being?
But how much good does it do? If we call ourselves Christians and we identify ourselves with the One who came and forsook his own rights and his own life and gave himself for others, should instances like removing “Under God” from a pledge really matter?
Jesus spent his time and influence and energy building a Kingdom that transcended anything this world had to offer. The world, essentially, has it’s own way of doing things and it never surprised him that things weren’t right. He came to reconcile those things that weren’t right … through serving and giving his life and ultimately defeating death.
Jesus didn’t come to tell everyone what he was against. He had one mission and that was to usher in His Kingdom to a world that was broken. He showed us love in a way that seemed so counter-cultural. He didn’t waste his time worrying about whether or not his Abba’s rules were posted in the town square. He taught that to be first, you have to be last. And to not expect the world to make it easy for you along the way.
I wonder. I wonder about influence. And I wonder about energy. And time, too. We’re only given a certain amount of each and I wonder about how we use all three.
What would’ve happened if we, instead of being vocally offended about what a dumb TV network did or didn’t do, devoted our time, influence, and energy to help build clean water wells in Africa? Or help pull young girls out of the sex trade in southeast Asia?
And what if we dedicated our Facebook statuses to telling the story of Gerry McIlroy, the father of US Open champion Rory McIlroy? Gerry sacrificed a lot as Rory grew up, often working 3 jobs at a time, so his family could afford Rory’s passion for learning how to golf well.
I don’t know if Gerry’s life is led by the Holy Spirit but the others-first attitude is a Kingdom quality that should be esteemed by Christ followers. What if Christians were so vocal and supportive of Gerry as a Dad and shared his story? Do you think it would change the way the McIlroy family thinks of Christians? (Again, I don’t know what faith background Gerry McIlroy has … I’m just talking hypotheticals.)
My point is, I think we do a disservice to the Kingdom when we get offended over the things we can’t control. I understand why ‘Under God’ is so important to so many in America. But you want to know who’s really ‘under God?’ I am. You are. Because we’re made in His likeness.
The way we spend our actions, our emotions, our time, influence, energy, and resources matter. In our joy and selflessness, His kingdom comes. Or we hinder His kingdom coming in our anger and outrage.
Dale Best is a media junkie and works in the Radio industry. He is passionate about wrestling with how better to follow the way of Jesus in a postmodern world. You can catch up with him on Facebook or Twitter. He also attends the same small group as Kurt