A Christian Response to Persecution
Once again, people just wanting to purchase goods from a shop have been told they not only wouldn’t be served, but had to leave because their worldview didn’t align with that of the owner.
The owner felt that the beliefs of the patron meant that their business wasn’t valuable enough for him, so he kicked them out. Once again, it’s persecution by the group of bullies who call themselves…gay?
You may have already heard the story or even seen the video of a coffee shop in Seattle displaying in living color the owner’s treatment of Christians in his shop. Let me begin by saying, if you haven’t seen the video, I would strongly suggest you don’t go looking for it. It’s vile, disgusting, blasphemous, and offensive to anyone - especially Christians. Well, maybe not everyone, but we’ll deal with that in a bit.
The short version of the story is that a group of Christians were handing out flyers around Seattle that promoted a pro-life worldview and, in some instances, equated the downfall of U.S. culture with, among other things, homosexuality. After a day of canvasing, they stopped in at the local coffee shop for a drink and were quietly enjoying said drinks when they were confronted by the store’s owner. He had been given one of the flyers by another customer and was ready to show his “displeasure.”
Now it’s important to realize that the flyer wasn’t handed out in his store. It wasn’t given to the other patron while they were sitting in the store. The customer found one of the flyers outside of the store, recognized the Christians as the group distributing them, and alerted the owner.
What followed was downright disgusting.
The owner badgered the Christians (his customers) for their beliefs, explaining that he is gay and was offended by the flyer. He then proceeded to kick the entire group out of his store because he didn’t agree with their beliefs. And, I can assure you, this wasn’t a polite, “Please leave.” He insulted them, their beliefs and the Savior in whom they trust. It was rude, blasphemous, and showed little in the way of “tolerance” that the left is supposed to stand for.
So what are we, as Christians, supposed to do with a story like this? When met with this type of abuse, how are we to react? There are multiple options, but it’s important to consider those options and train ourselves to react in the way that best displays Christ. While our knee-jerk reaction may feel good, it’s important to consider the best response, not the one that feels best.
The first reaction you may have had is probably similar to mine and focuses on the hypocrisy of the shop owners, the political left wing, and much of the gay community (at least the vocal part).
Many of the left-wing and gay-focused online publications have painted this in a positive light - some even going to the extent of praising the shop owner as a “hero” for what he did.
They seem to forget the glaring double-standard that I’m sure is obvious to you. There is currently a case at the Supreme Court involving a small baker who wasn’t willing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. That bakery was driven out of business by said couple and their supporters online and the owners have lost everything because of their stance on their beliefs.
Keep in mind, they didn’t refuse all service to the couple. In fact, they had served them for years before this incident. But, because the owner felt that providing a cake for the wedding was also condoning it, which they felt uncomfortable with based on their Christian beliefs, they felt had to refuse.
This resulted in a firestorm that continues for this bakery owner.
So, it’s easy to point out the parallels with this situation and the Seattle coffee shop and show the hypocrisy of the people supporting this owner while condemning the baker, but I think there are bigger things in view here.
Is Righteous Indignation Always Right?
While it’s easy to get up in arms about the treatment of the Christians in Seattle and the double-standard on display, I think there is a more important lesson from this story.
If you have seen the video (which, again, I recommend against), you would have seen the response of the Christians to being verbally assaulted and kicked out of the coffee shop.
When interviewed later regarding the incident, one of the Christians had this to say, as cited from an article on theliberator.news:
Still, they said they do not wish any harm to come to the coffee shop owners and do not want to see them unfairly treated as many Christian business owners have been. “On the contrary,” Davis said. “My whole thought, even after, was that I hope that they continue to think about the literature, and it convicts them to the point of repentance.”
Now, for anyone who has seen the video, the group didn’t handle the situation 100% correctly at the time. They did have a couple snarky comments that were less than helpful in the situation. One woman responded to the owner’s declaration of being gay as, “Christ can save you from that lifestyle.” While true, this only served to escalate an already heated situation and I think was not the best option for how to approach the man at that point.
But, overall consider how vastly different their response was from most people these days - even Christians, and especially online. If we’re treated poorly, we want to spread the word far and wide, expose the people who treated us poorly ,and get justice either monetarily or by spreading bad will.
In addition to not being helpful and of being a poor witness for Christ, it is also unbiblical. Remember, it was Jesus who said,
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)
While it’s easy to get offended at poor treatment for our Christian testimony, we shouldn’t be offended and we shouldn’t be surprised. We are told this is how the world will treat us. We should expect it.
As society slips further and further away from biblical truth, this treatment will only become more common. When this happens, we have two options. React the world would and expects us to - loudly playing the victim, pointing out hypocrisy and looking for revenge. Not only does this reflect poorly on the name of Christ, but gives them the fuel necessary to say, “See, those Christians are just pretending to be kind and righteous.”
The other option is to love our enemies. To pray for those who persecute us. Seems I’ve heard that somewhere before.