You don’t have to follow football to know that Michael Sam is the first openly gay player in the National Football League. Since the Dallas Cowboys signed him and then played so poorly last Sunday, some are wondering if Sam will make his NFL debut this week. How are people responding to him?
Some are lauding him as a courageous pioneer. Others are mocking him in the most derisive ways. For instance, last Saturday a fraternity at Louisiana State University displayed a banner openly ridiculing Sam. We might expect Christians to respond differently. However, not all have.
Before the NFL draft, some Christians promised to boycott any team that drafted Sam. Before the season began, a group calling itself “American Decency” announced plans to protest at the Cowboys’ first game, stating that “we cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled. We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country.” Other Christians have tweeted and blogged about Sam in ways that are scornful and vitriolic.
I understand the frustration many feel over the moral trajectory of our culture. Today I read that 45 percent of all U.S. households consist of unmarried couples. In 2000, there were 10 times the number of unmarried couples living together as there were 40 years earlier. In 2001, there were 70,000 adult websites; by 2013, the number had climbed to 4.2 million in just the U.S. Four in 10 American adults between the ages of 18 and 29 say that marriage is becoming obsolete.
First, understand the real battle. It’s not between people who are gay and straight, or those who reject traditional values and those who support them. It’s between God and Satan. The enemy “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), seeking to deceive as many as possible. He knows that “the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). So he does all he can to lead people from light into darkness. Every person you know who is not living by biblical truth is living in Satanic deception.
Second, do whatever would most persuade non-believers to consider Jesus. Do you think Michael Sam is more or less likely to want the faith of those who protest at his games? Will your words and actions exalt Jesus and join him in drawing the world to himself (John 12:32-33)?
Last, listen to the Spirit before you speak. God told Ezekiel, “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel.” How was the prophet to fulfill this call? “Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 3:17). He would speak to others only after God spoke to him.
Can God use you as his “watchman” today?