When Christians Act Ignorantly

Posted on March 4, 2019

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By David Ettinger

ignorant

A Cringeworthy News Item
I cringed when I read the story. A Christian couple in an Illinois restaurant made headlines by refusing to tip a waitress who supported LGBTQ equality. (A tattoo on her forearm revealed her allegiances.)[1] The story was accompanied by a picture of the receipt upon which was scrawled, “Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus!”

This comment by the couple is rife with biblical ignorance and shoddy thinking. And, of course, it does harm to the cause of Christ as it has “given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14).

Ignorance on Display
In what way did this couple display ignorance?

First, narrow thinking by targeting the server only. Believers are to live “in” this world (John 16:17) but not be a part of its anti-God agenda (Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15-16). As ones who live “in” the world, this couple made the decision to “support” those who “don’t love Jesus” by patronizing the restaurant. No doubt the staff consists of many unbelievers holding numerous anti-biblical views. By paying for a meal – hence adding to the eatery’s coffers – this Christian couple “supported” all manner of people who “don’t love Jesus.”

Second, ignorance was shown by the couple who equated tipping the waitress with condoning her counter-biblical worldview. This is simply not the case. The only thing being supported by a tip would have been a hard-working individual trying to make a living in a perfectly acceptable way. Tipping the server was not a sanctioning of the LGBTQ cause.

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Third, the couple should never have written this message. What good did it do? None. Instead, it gave those who hate Christians more ammunition to condemn us and the God we worship (2 Samuel 12:14).

In the end, this couple embraced ignorance and did harm to the cause of Christ.

Some Helpful Verses
What should this couple have done? What should you and I do in such circumstances? Here are some verses to help us navigate our way through a world which is daily growing more hostile toward Christianity. In engaging unbelievers, please remember the following (emphasis added):

  • Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
  • “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).
  • “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:5-6).
  • “… be ready for every good deed … malign no one … be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves …” (Titus 3:1-3).

Not Rocket Science
This is not rocket science. Acting kindly toward unbelievers is a far better witness of the Gospel than cruel ignorance. After all, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Jesus, without ever compromising the truth, engaged with and showed kindness to unbelievers (“the sick”) because He knew their souls were in eternal danger.

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The apostle Paul understood this, lived accordingly, and instructed us on how to do the same. He wrote: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). This does not mean Paul engaged in sinful acts; rather, he interacted with unbelievers in terms they could understand, and sought to reach them with the Gospel.

Regarding this waitress who is so obviously out of God’s will, the proper behavior would have been to give her a generous tip with the words, “Thank you for the wonderful job you did. In the love of Jesus.” Wouldn’t such an action have done far more for the cause of Christ than chastising her for the same belief many of us possessed before coming to faith?

Acting Judiciously
Jesus expects His followers to use their hearts and their heads. He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:27). Doing so will help us view the unsaved with compassion, which in turn will dictate how we act.

Don’t forget the end-game is to share the love of Christ and lead as many as are willing to salvation in Him. Paul wrote: “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

May you and I strive to do the same.

[1] “A Gay Waitress Was Denied A Tip Because She ‘Doesn’t Love Jesus’”, Refinery29.com, http://www.refinery29.com/2017/08/167597/gay-waitress-no-tip-rainbow-tattoo