Speaking Truth with Grace
It’s getting to the point where it is impossible to avoid talking about social issues. In many cases it is now affecting every areas of our lives – our schools, our work places or businesses, our public buildings, our local government, our churches, and especially our families.
One of the best examples of this is Jack Phillips, a cakebaker in Colorado, who was prosecuted for living out his faith in his bakery. Last summer, he won his case before the Supreme Court because the Court said that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had shown clear hostility towards Jack’s faith. However, before that case was even firmly decided the Commission came after him again. This time because he refused to make a cake for an LGBTQ+ activist’s transgender reveal.
Just this week, the case against Jack was dismissed because of evidence of the state’s continued hostility towards Jack. This is a huge win for Jack and for religious liberty. However, both attacks came because of the state’s sexual orientation and gender identity laws (SOGI). SOGIs are now being pushed across Kansas at the state and local levels.
We are still watching to make sure there are not any renewed efforts this legislative session to pass a SOGI at the state level. However, several localities in Kansas have been considering local versions of the laws used against Jack. Most recently Overland Park and Olathe have been targeted to pass these sorts of ordinances or resolutions. These laws are used to divide cities and not to unite these cities. They pit one identity group against another. Both cities have now passed a SOGI resolution. However, we know this is just the first step towards a full scale SOGI ordinance that would criminalize everyday citizens for living out their faith.
These issues are knocking on your front door. So how should you talk about these important but difficult issues? How we respond in these situations says a lot about who we are and who we believe our God is. These issues often divide friends, neighbors, and families. These issues are real and effect real people.
But sometimes the difficult issues are exactly what we need to be addressing with those around us. Our organization addresses many of these difficult issues, which I always joke, makes me really fun at dinner parties. Personal anecdotes aside, there are several key things that I think about when I talk about these difficult issues, especially when it has to do with identity politics:
- The other person is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated with the same dignity and respect that I want to be treated with.
- Similarly, the person I am engaging with is NEVER the enemy. It is never about the person who opposing me from one of the identity groups (LGBTQ+, pro-abortion, etc.). Rather, we are engaged in a real spiritual battle over this issue.
- I can’t expect someone who isn’t saved to act like they are. Sometimes we get so caught up in expecting everyone to act and think like us that we don’t take time to listen or understand where they are coming from. They are struggling with their own issues and I should speak from a place of grace and truth rather than from condemnation
- I know who wins in the end. I can take being called all sorts of names. I can take being hated. I can take losing in the world’s eyes because the battle isn’t mine. This helps me get past a lot of the fear associated with engaging in these topics. These understandings help me run towards the battle because I know, I really cannot lose.
I understand the struggle in talking about these issues – especially when they are presented by those closest to you, but I hope these truths help you engage others with a compassionate and courageous mindset.
United with you to be salt and light,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy