Answering Controversy with Love

Gary Keesee

NFL player Colin Kaepernick started a movement to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, and the nation has been up in arms ever since. The last couple of weeks could have passed for election season with all of the drama that’s been stirring on Facebook.
Are you kneeling? Standing? Running? Flying? Hopping on one leg? Okay, maybe only a few of those things are actually up for debate. The unfortunate thing is the cause behind this whole uproar was to put an end to racial slander and profiling, but the result has been a far cry from bringing more peace or healing to our nation. In fact, the cracks in the surface have only been magnifying. And that’s a sad reality we should all take to heart.

I’ve heard so many people complain, “That’s it! I’m taking a break from social media. Every time I get on here, I leave feeling STRESSED OUT.”

I have even received screenshots of the horrible comments that have transpired between people over this topic. Not between strangers, but between people who see each other every weekend at church.

That’s why I feel so passionate about writing this.

I’m not here to say whether it’s right or wrong for Kaepernick to take a knee during the national anthem. *Far more important than whether Kaepernick is “disrespecting America” or not in his actions is whether we as the body of Christ are disrespecting each other in ours.*

**How Jesus Handled Controversy**

Jesus wasn’t afraid of controversy—He constantly broke social norms and sported unpopular opinions. So, that brings up the question: How do we engage in controversy in a healthy way, like Jesus did?

The key is that Jesus spoke the truth in a way that people could receive. He spoke the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15). It’s impossible to speak the truth in love if we are coming from a place of anger, self-righteousness, or simply seeking to stir up drama. When we are tempted to share an opinion or engage in a lively Facebook debate, we have to stop and ask ourselves, *Who does this benefit? Is this only to benefit me and my pride, or will this edify those who read it?*

We must choose to stand on the side of love, *period*. If we aren’t operating out of love, then the Bible compares us to a clanging cymbal. It’s just a whole lot of noise!

Unity is forged in our willingness to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. When we look at it from different angles, we can see where everyone is coming from. We may not always agree on the particulars, but love gives us a common vision.

When we stand in agreement, we have the victory. What awesome power there is in unity!

It is possible for everyone’s heart to be right—even when we’re coming from two sides of the same coin. *Someone* doesn’t have to lose for *everyone* to win.

Strife is a dangerous game you don’t want to play. You may win the argument, but strife comes at a high cost. It opens the door to the enemy, robs you of your peace, and short-circuits God’s access into your life.

Titus 3:9-10 encourage us,

> But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.”

**How Can We Bring Healing to Our Nation?**

This whole frenzy over taking a knee has drawn us away from the real point—and that’s to bring love and healing to our nation.

You may not agree with the manner the message was conveyed, but I’m *sure* no one actually wants more racial slander, profiling, or disunity in our nation. So we have to allow this situation to spark the thought, *How can I make things better for my brothers and sisters in Christ? How can I be a force of love, every single day, toward everyone I encounter?*

The Bible tells us how, and it’s so simple, it’s almost easy to discount. When we replace judgment, strife, and hate with what Jesus did, the outcome is POWERFUL.

**1. Love others the way Christ loves you.**

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

**2. Forgive—even when it’s hard. **

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

**3. Extend the same kindness to others you wish they would extend to you. **

“Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).

Those three, simple things are how Jesus went head-to-head with the social norms in His day. They’re effective, they’re powerful, and most importantly, they help to *unite* us, rather than divide us.

Jesus was willing to die on the cross to spread the good news of love for everyone, no matter the color of their skin. Let’s help carry that same message of love to the world.

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