Where is the grace?

My husband and I are not football fans, so we didn’t watch the Super Bowl. I only vaguely knew who was playing just from hearing it discussed by others. But a couple of events related to the Super Bowl have saddened and frustrated me this week.

One had to do with this commercial. It was rejected from being played during the Super Bowl, but news of its rejection spread around the Internet.

I’m not surprised that it was rejected, though it does make me sad that beer commercials and suggestive music are okay while the merest mention of a Bible verse is not.

But what particularly bothered me was one friend’s reaction to the web site the commercial referred to. He complained publicly about it, saying it didn’t emphasize sin and repentance.

Now, I know where he is coming from, and I do agree that a watered-down gospel that glosses over sin saves no one. If people don’t realize they are sinners, they don’t understand their need for salvation. And a quick, “You agree nobody’s perfect, right?” is hardly repentance. I think the shallowness that many lament in some aspects of modern Christianity stems from this lack of depth in understanding true sin and its offense to a holy God.

On the other hand, this site does mention wrongs done to God and man and the need for justice and the problem that creates for all of us who have done wrong. It doesn’t use the word “sin,” but it conveys the essence of it. The commercial is obviously aimed at people who don’t know anything about what John 3:16 is, much less what it means, and who may not even be familar with the word “sin” in a Biblical sense. The site is a very basic introductory explanation ending with an invitation to read the gospel of John. And, as my husband said, that can’t be a bad thing!

Look at the way Christ dealt with the woman at the well. He never mentioned the word “sin,” but He did put His finger on exactly her particular problem. And even then he didn’t bash her over the head with it. There were other times He did speak of sin directly, of course. There were other times He was harsher in His approach, particularly with the Pharisees who were familiar with the word of God and should have known better.

Jude says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Every presentation of the gospel does not have to be a fiery showdown a la Elijah on Mt. Carmel. There are times that kind of stand needs to be taken, but there are other times a gentle compassionate approach is needed. Walking closely with the Lord and being filled with and led by His Spirit will enable us to have the right approach at the right time, for only God knows what a particular person needs at a particular time.

And at least these people are doing something to try to get people to God’s word to find out more, which is more than many of us can say.

Paul said, “Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” I choose to rejoice, as well, that the gospel was introduced to many and pray they will be led to fuller understanding and true salvation.

The other incident that frustrated me was the reaction Christina Aguilera’s flubbing the National Anthem. Now, let me be quick to say I am not a fan of much pop music and I would not let my children listen to sexually suggestive music. I was flipping through TV stations one day and saw a bit of one of her music videos. I had heard the name and watched a few moments to see what she was all about — and was stunned that so many parents would let their kids watch something so overtly sexual. On the other hand, I don’t think attacking her as if she subversively messed up a couple of lines of the “Star-Spangled Banner” on purpose is justified. I want to say to these people, “Have YOU ever sung or spoken in front of people and flubbed the words?!” Where is the grace, people? Though defending the National anthem is not in itself a Christian issue, and though other people besides Christians have attacked her, I think Christian people should be the most gracious of all. If we were to have run into her personally after the game, assuming any of us could get close to her, which would probably be impossible, but, still, if we could talk to her, a hand on the shoulder and a compassionate, “Oh, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I’m sure I would do far worse if I were trying to sing in front of so many people” would be more likely to open a door of further conversation and possible witness than lambasting her, don’t you think?

Let’s “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:5-6).

11 thoughts on “Where is the grace?

  1. I think that commercials are sent to the producers with bids…so probably the one willing to pay the most to get their ad on are chosen….I think sometimes the subtle has more impact than the blatant…as in this commercial….Even though it was rejected, it apparently is being seen by a wide audience which was the point after all….so I say good deal…You’re right about the second part of your post..she shouldn’t be put down for making a mistake…we’re all human and isn’t it true that everyone makes mistakes…I was a little perturbed at the choice of performers for this annual event.
    Mama Bear

  2. I am certain I am not as careful as I could be and I have inadvertently given people the wrong impression of what it means to be Christ-like, but still I am repeatedly shocked by Christians who don’t realize that everything they do is a witness. If we publicly tear someone down rather than building them up, we are giving non-believers the impression that our behaviors are condoned and supported by God.

  3. My thing is, you can’t tell people they broke the rules when they don’t even know what the rules are. It’s important to understand the concept of sin and why we need Jesus, but, like the woman at the well, it’s something they have to understand for themselves, not something we can put in their hearts.

    Also, Christina Aguilera could sing “The Wheels on the Bus” and I would simply thing, “Wish I could do that.” Our anthem is tough. She did it better than I ever could! I’m over the flub.

  4. I thought the same thing about the anthem. She just messed it up. It was very different than that time that Roseanne (what’s her last name?) sang the anthem and made a vulgar gesture while singing it. I’m no CA fan either but didn’t see why so many people acted so poorly about the way she did the anthem. I’ve messed up too many times myself to be critical of an inadvertent mess-up.

  5. “2 thumbs up” Barbara! I appreciate getting the message of a Living Savior to our nation, and wish it could have been shown. If we as Christians would live the life of Christ, the further teaching of repentance, and walking in His ways would come. Baby food for babies, first.
    p.s. I love your blog, I don’t always comment, but again, thank you for the love of the Lord that you share.

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