Je ne suis pas Charlie

Posted: January 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

Why I Am Not Charlie

What happened in Paris to the Charlie Hebdo publication is inexcusable and reprehensible. The actions of the perpetrators can only be described as wanton murder, the perpetrators themselves as deliberately given over to evil. That said, though I mourn with the dead and their families, I cannot stand with the rest of the world and proclaim: Je suis Charlie, because je ne suis pas. Because I am a Christian.
There are those who claim an affinity to Jesus Christ who also seem to be comfortable with ridicule,  mockery, and the wholesale profaning of other religions, especially Islam. They may do so, but I doubt or Lord is amused. Neither would he be amused with the content of the Charlie Hebdo publications. How do I know this? I guess the things he said about loving one’s enemies, considering persecution a blessing, turning the other cheek, and not returning evil with evil. Note that these are things radical Islamists have a hard time doing. Indeed, they consider them weak and not like their prophet at all.
Sadly, the same could be said for many in Christendom, folks who wear Jesus’ cloak, but don’t resemble his face. Many have jumped on the bandwagon of mockery and profanity, republishing and displaying works offensive to one religion, but who would be mortified, indignant, even violent themselves if it were their religion being mocked. In fact, they become outraged that their children cannot pray in Jesus’ name over loudspeakers at state sponsored sporting matches, sue in federal court whenever their “rights” are abridged. Some have resorted to murder themselves, ironically in the name of the “right to life”.
No, I am not Charlie because what Charlie does, while it should be protected speech, is incompatible with how a Christian is to resond and interact with those of other faiths. Consider what Paul said in Col. 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let you conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Or his injunction in his 1st letter to the Corinthians: “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.”
Yes, the Gospel is an offense, a stumbling block, but for completely different reasons than mockery or ridicule. The Believer is expected to know this. But we are to respect the non-believer up to the point that we are required to deny Jesus; THEN, and only then, may our offense be manifest, and even that in love, mercy, and joy, for we are blessed in our persecution.
Finally, consider that Jesus’ harshest criticisms were reserved for those leaders of his own faith, and with them, he was unsparing in his ridicule and condemnation. One could hardly be more forceful or harsh than calling people hypocrites, a brood or vipers or whitewashed tombs, full of all death and corruption!
I am not Charlie because there is no Jesus in what Charlie Hebdo does. There is no benefit, no profit, no love in the derision of other faiths. And we need to focus our greater attention on those in the household of faith who are bringing disrepute, shame, and dishonor on the name of Jesus, who cause the unbeliever to mock and ridicule US, rather than mocking and ridculing them.

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