There are so many current events which have the possibility to impact Christianity going on around us right now, y’all. I’m so thankful that the Lord is sovereign over all things. This is such a huge relief! While I rest in this truth, I would like to share a few thoughts about the dreaded Christian boycott. Most recently, many Christians have decided to boycott Target for their transgender bathroom policy.
I’m not here to say whether I believe the boycott is right, wrong, or somewhere in between. Honestly, Target has always been a very liberal company, and this policy is just indicative of that.
But what I would love to do, is to take a moment and share with those who either are on the fence about Christian boycotts in general, or to Christians who think they are silly and shop wherever they please. If you could, please hear me out for just a second.
I recently came across a post about this topic from Ligonier.org, which is a ministry I really respect. Here is a short thought directly from the article, where boycotts are compared with the “meat offered to idols” argument in scripture:
“…am I not supporting the work of idolaters by buying meat from them? And here is where we get to the issue of boycotts. Paul, however, still has no objection to buying the meat offered for sale by idolaters. Why? Because we are buying meat, not idolatry. We are not guilty for what they do with the money we give them. When we trade our money for meat, the meat is ours and the money is not. In like manner, if the Home Store supports gay causes, or Red Crawfish restaurant supports Planned Parenthood, I am not guilty of supporting either if I buy some plywood, or a steamed lobster. I am buying wood and seafood.”
I couldn’t help but smile to myself when I saw the inferences in the article. I have been guilty of boycotting companies which support Planned Parenthood in the past, for conscience sake. I would like to add that when I say “boycott,” I’m not talking about trying to force the said company to change it’s mind and bend to my Christian worldview. I just personally hope to be a good steward of my money which ultimately belongs to the Lord.
Like the above article suggests, I do believe that boycotts fall into the “meat offered to idols” category. But I really think we need to continue reading the text as we determine how we should handle boycotts, or really any matter where believer’s consciences disagree.
I’m looking at 1 Corinthians 10:28-29 (NASB) now, which is where we can find part of Paul’s “meat offered to idols” argument.
But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another man’s conscience?
If many Christians conscience’s say, shopping at “x” store, or doing “so and so thing,” or “watching such and such movie,” is wrong in light of their Christian faith, it is our obligation to abstain from this thing as well, at least publically, for their sake.
For all the Christians who are publically boycotting Target by way of social media, blogs, etc., there are Christians who are publically saying that they are continuing to shop there. The Christians who are continuing to shop there do so for the most part by using the argument that they are “more loving” or open-minded than other Christians. I’m sure many Christians really believe that shopping at Target is the right thing to do, and if they don’t, they would be judgmental. (Which is another topic entirely.)
But should our love for unbelievers trump our love for believers?
Even if you are the guest of an unbeliever and don’t want to offend him, it is better to offend the unbeliever and not eat for the sake of the weaker Christian who would be offended to eat, since love to other believers is the strongest witness we have (Jn 13:34,35)
Wow! I never really thought of it that way. Our witness is compromised when we show our love for unbelievers to be stronger than our love for other believers. And our witness is many times what God uses to draw unbelievers to Himself. It can’t be compromised!
So of course, now I think John 13:34-35 (NASB) must be shared to see the whole picture.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
When Christians truly love each other, this is how others will know we belong to God. One way we can show this love is to respect the consciences of other believers, and publically abstain from searing their conscience further, even when we don’t quite agree.
Too often, we focus on our “freedom” in Christ at the expense of others. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 10 as well.
All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.“ (verses 23-24, NASB)
We are called to put our freedoms aside for the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ. For their conscience, and not ours.
May I humbly suggest that we think about these verses before we share our latest Target finds on Facebook, or write a post about why Christians should shop at stores that many people of faith think are immoral? When we value our neighbor’s conscience more highly than our own, God will be glorified.
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