As you have probably heard by now, Google made the unfortunate decision yesterday - EASTER - to make the "Doodle" on their main page an image of Cesar Chavez. Chavez was a Mexican-American who played a significant role in advancing Latinos and the American Labor Movement. You can read more about him HERE. (Or you can Google it. HA!) Several years ago, March 31st (Chavez's birthday) was named a national holiday in California, Colorado, and Texas in his honor. And while Google's decision yesterday was (as I labeled it in the first line) an "unfortunate decision", what was and is even more unfortunate about this situation is the way we as Christians have once again chosen to REACT rather than RESPOND to the secular culture we're living in. As I've said before (The Method & the Message) and will most certainly wind up saying again, I don't believe WHAT we've said or done in response has been the biggest issue, but HOW we've once again communicated our disappointment and offense. Allow me to explain.
Think about this from a different angle:
Is it possible that the decision-makers at Google - maybe somewhere below the surface - had a thought of, "Just watch how the Christians respond to this one!" I believe that John 13:34-35 and 1 Peter 2:11-12 completely affirm for us that the world is constantly watching to see HOW we will respond. As "exiles" (foreigners, aliens) in our culture - residents of our city, but citizens of Heaven - it's almost as if we're supposed to be living like guests here. This doesn't mean that we throw discretion or conviction to the wind and just say, "Well, when in Rome...". (1 Peter 2 speaks clearly about that as well.) At the same time, it's like we keep expecting people who clearly do not know Jesus - people still blinded by sin and the Enemy - to live and act and make decisions based on the same standard we do. That's NOT going to happen. And I'm more convinced daily that anger and defensiveness do not speak louder than love or compassion. We keep acting like a world that we've done nothing to earn trust from owes us their ear and attention. We're getting it backwards.
I believe that there are still God-ordained circumstances when and where He calls us to stand on a stage or a street corner and preach repentance. But even in those situations, the appearance of anger, hate, arrogance, or condemnation aren't going to gain us an audience. What stops people dead in their tracks and commands the attention of even the hardest heart is the response of unwarranted and unexpected love. Unconditional love. Love that says, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together in Christ." We love Ephesians 2:4-10. But we don't so much like the verses before this that remind us that WE were once dead in OUR trespasses. I think we forget that the ones who are offending us actually used to be us. We were "by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
And when we get angry because Jesus was slighted - when a Mexican-American leftist labor organizer steals the attention of our Jewish carpenter rabbi - I think we need to remember that Jesus never asked us to TAKE offense for Him. He said that the Gospel will be offensive to those who "are perishing". Jesus will be offensive. Not Jesus will be offended. I think what offends Jesus most is when His "followers" go back to acting like they did before they began following Him. He said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven." But you see, when we do that, it completely takes control out of OUR hands and places it in HIS. Love & pray. Don't hate & yell. The latter is easy and expected. The former is hard - very hard - and humbling and shocking. Jesus was humbling and shocking.
So how can we respond differently?
What would it look like to shock the world because we didn't react for once?
What if what they got from us was unwarranted and unexpected love?
Maybe it would look like the teacher, down on His knees, washing the feet of the disciple that He knew would at any moment walk out the door and betray Him. Maybe it would look like the risen Messiah sitting on the beach, frying some fish, waiting on the one who had days before denied even knowing Him - waiting to restore him and love him.
What are your thoughts?
Are you never going to "Google" again?