Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 NIV)
Unlike my bride, who very seldom follows sports or politics, except for the major events such as the Super Bowl, March Madness, Olympics, local and national elections (Maybe that’s a good thing), you’re probably aware of the latest clash between the two (sports and politics) over the recent controversy involving athletes kneeling during the National Anthem in silent protest. What began as an individual’s protest against inequality has blown up into an entire sports community’s statement of unity against some very strong rhetoric from our Commander-in-Chief. Sadly it has degenerated into name-calling and profanity-laced rhetoric and ‘tweets’ from both sides. Like every other social, economic, and political issue, I have heard strong arguments for and against the protests and counter-protests. And like everybody else, some I agree with and some I feel are simply inane.
Here’s what I do know; whether you and I agree, or disagree with the politicians, players and/or pundits on either side, almost everyone agrees that there is divisiveness in our country, moreover our world, which appears to have no end in sight. As Christians, we too are called to ‘stand’ out in the crowd, sometimes, ironically, by taking a knee (in prayer) and even ‘turning the other cheek.’ The Bible tells us by doing so, some people will be drawn toward our Savior Jesus and others will reject Him. Furthermore, the Bible, and Jesus himself, have some pretty harsh words for those who lower themselves to name-calling, who cause dissension, and especially those who burn with anger against their brother.
I also believe everyone ‘will’ take a knee sooner or later, and as much as I love my country, and the flag that represents it, this ‘cause’ is much greater, because it is the ‘Cause of Christ.’ All ‘will’ come before God’s throne in judgment. The Apostle Paul wrote this about Jesus Christ, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This is one of the many statements in which God is paralleled with, as well as, being one with Christ. In the Old Testament’s book of Isaiah, God proclaimed, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear (Isaiah 45:22-23 NIV).”
In the end (literally – end of life or end of world), it’s really about timing. Those who humble themselves before Christ, accepting His sacrificial gift of love, will enter His Kingdom of Heaven forever. Those who reject Him in word and deed, also reject His gift, and thus will suffer the greatest divisiveness in existence i.e. the separation from God for eternity.
It’s easy for us to get caught up in the kneeling noise, rhetoric and social media. It’s harder, as the Apostle Paul also wrote, to “keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, (and) discharge all the duties of your ministry (2 Timothy 4:5 NIV).” As Christians, we are called to ‘take a knee’ (literally and figuratively) in humility and prayer – sooner, more than later.