There’s been a lot of controversy these days over sports players who refuse to stand during the National Anthem. Some condemn them. Others applaud them.
Me? I can sort of see both sides.
I mean, yes, the flag is important and we should respect it. But are they burning the flag? Stepping on it? What determines the level of acceptable disrespect? When does it become disrespect over quiet protest?
I don’t know the answers, and it hurts my brain to figure it out.
Frankly, I think it comes down to a matter of the heart. I believe God sees their hearts, and He knows the intent behind the actions. We only see the surface; God sees much deeper.
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. ~ 1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV84)
What bothers me more than the flag and football is the comparison I can’t help but make concerning Christians and their Bibles.
We treat the flag with great respect because it represents our country: our freedom, our right to speak and worship freely, and so many other privileges of living in America. By tradition, we don’t let it touch the ground. We put nothing on top of it. We hold it close to our hearts when carrying it, lest we drop it. We salute it and hold it in honor.
We do these things willingly, because we understand the importance of what our flag means.
But Christians, what about our Bibles?
Yesterday at church, a man was looking for a Bible a family member had accidentally left at church. He rummaged through an entire drawer of lost Bibles, and commented, “Man, it’s a shame that this many people don’t seem to care that their Bible is missing.”
Another Bible has sat in the same place for over a month; we left it there, hoping the owner would discover it. Nope. Not yet.
I’ve seen Bibles on the floor. I’ve seen Bibles tossed on the ground without a second thought, or thrown into the backseat of cars and covered over with stuff.
Once I even saw a teenager stand on his Bible. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to literally stand on the promises of God.
I’ve seen any number of things stacked on top of Bibles.
But – Christians – what if…
What if we treated our Bibles even better than we treat the flag?
What if we didn’t let them touch the ground? What if we put nothing on top of them? What if we held them close to our hearts when carrying them, lest we dropped them? What if we saluted them and held them (and their Author) in honor?
What if we remembered that the Bible isn’t just a symbol of our freedom, but the very Word of God?
What if we cherished our Bibles – and the words in them – and learned to live by them?
Maybe, just maybe, if we did that, the world would notice.
And change would happen.
Then we might not be talking about football and the flag.