In order to provide a little balance to articles published at Caffeinated Thoughts Thursday on the subject of the Confederate flag from Adam Graham and Keith Rockefeller, I am compelled to provide a different perspective.
While I understand the points both made, but I want to lay aside the politics of this issue for a minute. I am not talking to the body politic at the moment, but those of you who read this website who have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
How should I as a Christian approach this situation? While I don’t want to restrict anyone’s free speech rights, I know that as a follower of Christ I must on occasion restrain my “right” for the edification of my brothers and sisters in Christ. As I look at this situation many have made this about how they personally view the Confederate flag. Frankly that’s irrelevant, how I view the flag doesn’t matter. How do my African-American brothers and sisters in Christ view the flag? That is what matters.
To many of them it is a symbol of hatred and of our national shame. The Confederate flag was a symbol for Dixiecrats who supported Jim Crow laws – laws that are contrary to what the Bible teaches. For others it is a symbol of slavery which was also a great evil.
The Bible is pretty clear what our approach should be. Look at Paul’s admonition in Philippians.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” (Philippians 2:3-4, ESV).
Paul also states that we should “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding,” (Romans 14:19, ESV). Does a defense of the Confederate flag qualify? I don’t believe so.
If the Confederate flag offends a brother or sister in Christ why in the world would I want to hold onto it? We had 9 brothers and sisters in Christ gunned down during a prayer meeting because of racism that many see this flag being a symbol of. Why, why, why would we want to defend that? This isn’t about being right, this is about being loving to those who have suffered injustice under that particular banner.
Then there is our Christian witness at stake for those who may not yet know Christ.
This isn’t about being politically correct. I personally disagree with some who want to erase all vestiges of the Confederacy. That would be revising history. I am also not saying we cater to everyone who is easily offended, but I think all reasonable people can agree that history bears witness to the symbolism this flag bears for many African-Americans.
As a Christian I’m called to approach this controversy differently. Calling for it to be put away is simply an act of love.