Jesusians

A Courteous Contrararian

Kindness is Wrong

Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - Apr• 14•15

What kind of world are we making for ourselves? When did being kind to another human become wrong?

You know what I’m talking about.

The Bible doesn’t talk much about pizza or wedding cakes, so we’re pretty much on our own, but again, when is it wrong to be nice? I just can’t get past that question.

I can imagine the early drafts of one of Jesus’ sermons: Do unto others as you think they would like to no, that’s not quite right, Do unto others only if…wait, let me channel my inner Father,,, that’s better. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for in that way you fulfill the Law and the Prophets. That’s it! Cool, right?

Right, Jesus. The coolest.

If I would like somebody to cook me a pizza, I should endeavor to cook pizzas for other people. If I would like my wedding to be a joyous occasion, with the best cake I can afford, then   “But” you might interrupt, “those people” (we are gonna have problems whenever we disassociate another group from ourselves) “live a lifestyle that I can’t condone.

If this is the new litmus test, if we are setting a threshold for the amount of sin that is allowable in our customers, then we should make any prospect fill out a questionnaire before serving them.

Q.  Can I get a coney dog and fries?

A.  It depends. How often have you looked lustfully on a woman who is not your wife?

How can they hear unless someone preaches to them?  Seems like a reasonable question. Will we only preach to them if they don’t seem incorrigible? Or is our gospel message essentially, “Jesus loves you but me – well, the world is looking at me to see if I will condone your lifestyle. If I make you a pizza someone might turn gay.”

We don’t preach with our mouths anyway. Words aren’t trustworthy. We admit as much when we refuse to serve LGBT people. And how can they hear unless comes from Paul in Romans 10. He is referencing the OT, Isaiah, if I remember correctly.

In Romans 10 Paul is giving us a logical path to salvation in a series of questions, and he concludes with our actions as paramount in bringing the gospel message. I’ll start with a quote, Romans 10:13  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  and now I’ll paraphrase

How can they call on him if they haven’t believed in him?

How can they believe in him unless somebody tells them about him?

How can they tell him unless they are sent?

Then Paul concludes, but without a question. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news! 

The messenger might have a nice mouth, but it is the feet that are beautiful to Paul. It’s actions, not words, the cake maker would agree. But what about the good news part? Is meanness ever good news? Because if it’s not, how did we ever start to think being nice is plain wrong? “Good news, Mister and Mister, no cake for you!”

If the feet of those who bring good news is the answer to the opening statement, (everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved) – and it is – then we need to act like we’ve got good news.

When we concentrate on sin and “lifestyle,” when we point away from grace and toward works with our actions, we are playing into the devil’s hands. We are pointing people smack dab onto the center of the broad road that leads to destruction instead of taking them by the hand and leading them onto the narrow road that leads to life. That’s the road that few people find, so we have to lead them. Hence, blessed are the feet of the messenger.

Maybe we could go back to the way laws were in the 1960s. Then we could throw gay people into prison for their iniquity. But then, we’d have to visit them according to Jesus. And bring them a drink of water. But no pizza!

The only argument for denial of service that makes any biblical sense is the proverbial bad company ruins good character train of thought. We might think if we make it easy for LGBT people to live, we are somehow promoting their lifestyle; harming society as we acquiesce to society’s very different standards. Biblically speaking, that’s wrong.

Here is God’s advice to the Israelites as they trudged in chains toward Babylon. Israel was no more. The Temple had been destroyed. Countless thousands had died in battle or in the sacking of towns and cities. Thousands more had died during the sieges, from famine and disease.

The survivors, witnesses and participants in the recent horrors, were on a forced march to a strange land where they would most likely become slaves. It seemed as though YHWH had abandoned them. They went to a land more amoral than their own, and filled with idols to other gods.

On the march, God sent word by Jeremiah; an encouragement. The famous verse 29:11 about the plans he had for his people – to give them a hope and a future. An assurance (that they desperately needed at that moment) that he planned to help them not harm them.

And how were the displaced Israelites to avail themselves of the blessing? Surely they were to keep to themselves pure in regard to their surrounding evil culture. Surely they were to not make any wayward pizzas or wedding cakes?

Nope, they were to be peaceable, and nice. They were to live among the Babylonians, to pray for them, even to pray for the Babylonians to prosper, as a rising tide raises all boats.

This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” [Jer 29:4-7]

God seems remarkably consistent in the passages I’ve selected: We can’t be mean to evil people, we should pray for their peace and prosperity. We can’t be mean if our witness is at all important to us, and we can’t be mean if we choose to heed Jesus’ commands, especially that Golden Rule one. That being said, have I mentioned that I can’t think of one good reason not to be nice to unbelievers.

Well, maybe one; if we don’t interact with unbelievers, they won’t know how mean we can really be.

 

 

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