I genuinely believe we should be more concerned about the suffering of our brothers and sisters than whether or not someone stood for the flag and anthem. However, if you supported those who knelt, or were one of the kneeling, you’re not off the hook. Perhaps Socrates said it best,
“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
You’ve got to understand that for families who lost relatives in past wars the flag and the anthem mean so much more than it does to today’s millennial. This is not a millennial bash, simply truth. We know about World Wars through history books, not through personal loss. We’ve never entered a store to realize there were no thumb tacks, paper clips, or alarm clocks because the metal was needed to produce bombs. And while the intent was surely not to disrespect the military or those who have fought and died for the very freedom that affords us the right to kneel, good intentions do not always translate.
So now that we’re a few days removed from the peaceful protest what is your next step? What decisions have you made since Sunday to stand up and fight for social justice? To be a social justice missionary? You’ve called attention to the issue, now what is your personal responsibility?
This is the dilemma from the other side of the conversation. If you are genuinely concerned and affected by the social injustice, you can’t expect people to take you seriously when the only action associated with your passion is taking a knee. Aside from some verbal backlash, that action is not sacrificial. As a friend once told me, “You can’t love someone or something and it not cost you something.”
So if you love social justice, what are you prepared to give? I’m not talking riots and violence. I’m talking productive action toward binding the brokenhearted, defending the aborted, caring for the orphan, contending for racial equality, and rescuing those trapped in human trafficking.
Surely taking a knee and supporting those who did is NOT the extent of your involvement.
Allow me to help with some productive next steps:
REALLY get involved. (1 Peter 4:10) There are many organizations out there to begin serving with. If it’s a human trafficking issue, I’d recommend A21. They host fundraising campaigns, connect with local leaders, plan host walks, etc.. They will help with education as well as welcome volunteers for 12 locations around the world, incorporating administration, marketing, communications, writing, and more. http://www.a21.org.If it’s racial equality, I’d recommend you connect with Will Ford and Hilkiah Ministries. They have a great biblical perspective of racial equality. http://willfordministries.com.If it’s orphan care, consider CarePortal. They are a practical way of providing needs for orphans and orphanages across the country. https://careportal.org.If its abortion, consider connecting with the Justice House of Prayer. They are based in Washington DC and are passionate about mobilizing “prayer activists” for the ending of abortion. http://jhopdc.com
PRAY. While you’re kneeling, become an intercessor. Stand in the gap. Start a prayer group and mobilize others to engage the spiritual warfare that surrounds these hot topics. If you don’t understand there are demonic influences at work, then you’re already operating from a deficit. Consider picking up this book: Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets (Romans 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
MEET. Find someone who does not share the same view as you, or disagrees with methods recently used, and have a honest to goodness dialogue. Put the cell phone away and truly try to put yourself in their shoes (as best as one can). Empathize, don’t sympathize. You may find that the methods being used are doing more to divide than draw healthy attention to the issue. Remember, Godly confrontation leads to restoration not condemnation. (Proverbs 27:17)
FEAR NOT. We are a fear driven culture. Social media and news organizations alike understand this. After all, when is the last time you saw a news program with only good news? Fear brings ratings, but it also brings irrational division. A follower of Jesus Christ need not fear the times, but contend for them. Don’t allow fear to transform you into a vindictive, aggressive, bitter individual whose only intent is to guard what you have and protect your own experiences.Irrational fear becomes generational and you’ll leave a legacy of worry not victory. (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18)
EVALUATE. Are there better ways to peacefully protest that does not alienate and distort the message? Do you kneel before the anthem and after the anthem so as to honor the fallen? If you want honor for righteous things you must also be willing to GIVE honor to righteous things, and few things are more righteous than laying down your life so that others may be free. Thank you Jesus Christ for modeling this so powerfully for us. (John 15:13)
And for those who were so intent on people standing for the anthem, did you stand in your home as you watched the game? I can honestly say the only time I’ve stood at sporting events is when I was there in person. Why have I never stood in the privacy of my home if it is truly a conviction of mine? Oh that’s right, they don’t even broadcast the national anthem at games unless it’s playoffs, super bowl, or finals. Where is that fight?
I don’t think we get to pick and choose our convictions based on convenience. It’s not the good intentions that change the world. It’s the men and women who are committed to giving their lives not just for freedom and the flag, but also for the liberty that should be afforded us all.