From the Archives: January 17, 2010

Jesus was in the news again this month.

A few weeks ago, Sunday Fox News commentator Brit Hume was asked his opinion about golf star Tiger Woods, whose marriage is on the ropes because of multiple reports of adulterous affairs. Tabloids and TV shows and newspapers and blogs have covered the story in detail, naming one after another of Tiger’s reported mistresses. The story has been so well covered that almost everyone knows about it. So, when Brit Hume was asked about it on the Fox News Sunday show, he said that he thought Tiger could save his golfing career but salvaging his personal life was another matter. Then his comments took an unexpected turn.

“The Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal — the extent to which he can recover — seems to me to depend on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”

The reaction? A tidal wave of criticism. Brit has been called a “bigot” and “narrow-minded.” One writer called his statement “creepy” and “a stupid way to think.” Even some Christians seem to be a bit embarrassed to see a public figure be so bold.

During a follow-up interview, Bill O’Reilly asked him why there were so many negative comments about Christianity. He replied to Bill this way: “You speak the name of Jesus Christ…and all hell breaks loose.”

It’s always been that way. Jesus himself reminded us that, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Remember that a sword cuts both ways. When we preach the Good News of Jesus, not everyone will be happy with us. Some will sneer, others will ignore us, and some will believe our message. And we never know in advance what reaction we’re going to get. You can’t look at an audience and say, “That man will believe but his buddy next to him won’t.” It doesn’t work that way.

What happened to Brit Hume happens to anyone who speaks up for Jesus.

Some will like it. Some won’t like it. Some won’t care either way.

How do we stay encouraged when we know that some people will not only reject our message but us as well? How do we stay focused on our task instead of worrying about what others may think about us? In 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 (check it out!), it offers us a clear answer to discouragement by reminding us that when we are joined with Jesus Christ. We are on the winning side.

We may lose a few battles, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

And if we are on his side, doing his work, we cannot lose. Hang in there! Don’t give up. Don’t give in.

Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.  2 Corinthians 2:12-17