I’m a big fan of Rob Bell. A big fan.
I saw him when he did his Drops Like Stars tour.
I own all of his book.
I show my youth group his Nooma videos.
I listened to his sermons via podcast when he was still a pastor at Mars Hill church.
And since then, I’ve followed his new exploits on Twitter and Facebook.
Like I said, a big fan.
That was up until Rob Bell made a shocking announcement.
It was about his stance on homosexuality.
Now, this is not an attack on Rob Bell.
There are a lot of other people doing that already.
And the same is true of those who are still supporting him.
When I heard about Rob’s conviction about homosexuality, I stopped and asked myself “How do I deal with this?”
How do I respond when someone, anyone; a pastor, a fellow brother or sister in Christ, a bible school professor, my mom or dad, says or stands up for something that I do not agree with?
Three different reactions came to mind. Three different ways of dealing with someone I do not agree with.
Two reactions are seen often and are probably familiar to all of us, and one that may slip our minds most of the time.
The first reaction we can have when someone does something we don’t agree with is to be defensive.
When something happens we don’t like we put up our guard.
This is most often displayed as anger.
In the case of Rob Bell, one pastor demonstrated it best with his tweet. “Farewell Rob Bell.” Or another pastor’s “RIP Rob Bell.”
Farewell, rest in peace.
You have left those of us who had it all right.
You’re dead to us now. You have gone off the deep end.
You are wrong and I want nothing to do with you.
This is, and I hesitate to say it but, the normal response for most people, especially Christians.
Anger, frustration, walls up, backs turned and hands out.
Get away from us is their attitude.
This is one reaction we can have. I’m not saying it’s right, but we can and usually do react this way.
The second reaction I find that we commonly fall into when people do something we disagree with is ignore them; complete and total isolation.
We forget that they exist. We wipe them from our memory banks.
“Rob who? Don’t think I know him.”
If we don’t know a person, don’t associate with them then we don’t have to care or worry that what they say or do can be things we do not like.
The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality becomes their defense against differing opinions.
It should be noted that this second reaction, ignoring and forgetting, may be some people’s first reaction, while for others it is the final stage of the anger reaction.
That brings us to the third reaction.
Of the three reactions, this one is the most difficult to actually do, but also the most liberating.
Rather than get angry or ignore people that we disagree with, we leave them in God’s hands, respect them and go about our business.
That may sound like the stupidest, most inactive thing you could do. It may even strike you as too simple and childish. But this is the reaction of a man who was after God’s own heart.
It is recorded in the second book of Samuel that King Saul and his sons were killed in battle. A young man ran from the battle to go and tell David what had happened. The young man told David that he had delivered the final blow to King Saul, as Saul was badly wounded and would not have recovered. Upon hearing the news of Saul’s death, David weeps and mourns for the rest of the day.After his mourning was over, David called the young man over to him. Scripture says,
“David said to the young man who had told him, “Where are you from?” He answered, “I’m the son of a foreigner, an Amalikite.” David asked him, “How is it that you weren’t afraid to raise your hand to destroy Adonai’s anointed?”
David was running for his life from Saul when Saul went to war and died.
David was hiding in caves and in neighboring countries so Saul wouldn’t kill him.
David ran and ran for years. And at no point did David decide that it was time or up to him to put Saul in his place.
David was anointed to be the next king of Israel. Surely he didn’t deserve to be treated so poorly.
But David knew that it wasn’t his place to judge. It wasn’t his place to avenge. It wasn’t his place to correct and bring Saul to discipline.
That was up to God.
It wouldn’t have been easy.
It would have taken a lot of strength to surrender David’s supposed rights to vengeance and justice, but those rights were never his.
They were and are God’s.
When Saul did something wrong, said something David maybe didn’t agree with, it was God’s place to bring correction.
Not David’s. David had to leave Saul in God’s hands.
Even though David was on the run from Saul, David still respected him as God’s anointed king.
God had placed Saul on the throne.
Who was David to take him off the throne?
God had called Saul to leadership.
Who was David to say when that leadership was over?
David realized that all people called by God deserve our respect.
They are unique and qualified by God to do a task. Who are we to say otherwise?
Along with leaving Saul in God’s hands, respecting him as Gods anointed, David moved on with his life.
What Saul did didn’t stop David from doing what he wanted to do.
Saul might have chased David but that didn’t stop David’s life.
He got married, had a family, had an army of ragamuffins to take care of. Saul’s doings, as much as David would have disagreed with them, were inconsequential.
Life moved on.
Coming back full circle, let’s looks at Rob Bell again.
Or apply this to anyone that you have a disagreement with.
There are three ways that you can react to them, with anger, with forgetfulness or with a humble heart.
You can be ticked off and want nothing to do with them.
You can ignore them into oblivion.
Or you can leave them in God’s hands, respect them despite differences and keep on living.
What do you do?
Let me know what you think in the comments below.