Sunday, August 5, 2012


For Thou Shalt Heap Coals of Fire upon his Head: Chik-fil-A Edition

Three years ago I told a story about how I had once observed the truth of Proverbs 25:21-22 in my own life as a young Airman stationed in the Philippines.  This is the wisdom from Scripture that instructs us:
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
My story (which you can find here) was humorous, but in the past few days, a viral YouTube video has told the story much more eloquenty than I ever could.  I mean, here's a person who literally gives her "enemy" water to drink ... in an extra-large Chik-fil-A cup with a straw!  Thus unfolds a remarkable testimony:

Joe Carter from The Gospel Coalition explains why all this matters to the church:
I don't know if, Rachel, the young woman in the video, is a Christian, but her response provides a helpful model for believers. Caught off guard in an uncomfortable and demeaning situation, she responds with civility and gentleness, expressing a desire to serve others. There's a time to respond with arguments and persuasion and there are times when all that you can do is respond with kindness. Rachel has obviously developed the type of character that would allow her to quickly realize what response was needed.
"A soft answer turns away wrath," Proverbs says, "but a harsh word stirs up anger." I don't think that was the lesson Smith thought would come from his experience at the drive-thru, but it's one that we can all learn from.
The great Battle of Chik-fil-A of 2012 has become the signature event in the American Culture Wars in which the church finds itself embroiled, often with many "harsh words" that stir up anger--though I don't include the thousands who peacefully and happily went to eat chicken last Wednesday on the so-called Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day in this category. 

Even so, I have avoided commenting much on this, because I find these sideshows draining and distracting from the church's primary goal of being pure and faithful ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I don't consider the deterioration of our American culture to be unimportant ... just far less important than the deterioration of the church's culture and our need to be salt and light to the lost and dying.  As I shared with a young believer earlier this week:
I agree that Jesus was clearly more interested in purifying the community of believers (what we now call the church) than he was in purifying the surrounding society. The #1 problem homosexuals face is the #1 problem heterosexuals face: they need to repent, believe in Jesus, and be redeemed unto salvation. If we were successful in making all the gays "straight" we would not have succeeded in solving their core problem--their need to know Christ. 
Rachel's response should challenge and encourage Christians for the simple reason that our responses to the world's iniquities need to look a lot like hers:  gentle, loving, and humble service.  I'm sure she didn't go to work that day to become famous.  Rather, she showed remarkable personal qualities in a stressful situation without any warning.  She heaped gave her enemy water to drink, and thus heaped burning coals upon his head.

Well done, Rachel.

1 comment:

  1. Proverbs 25:21-22 is a fitting scripture for this event. Yes, her response was admirable in the face of such a verbal attack.

    It is sad that a Christian view expressed is seen as an affront on others, but it is to be expected.


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