Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Can Christians Learn From Jason Collins

As an Evangelical Pastor, I believe I tread on very thin ice when I use a highly publicized event that is entirely counter to my Christian faith as an illustration for my Christian faith. However, as a pastor, I must also be able to take what is happening in society and relate spiritual truths to those I have been called by God to lead. The Jason Collins event has revealed what I believe to be a great need in the lives of many believers and I also believe a wonderful teaching moment for me, as a pastor! Jason Collins is an NBA player who this week announced to the world that he was a practicing homosexual.

While I certainly do not agree with Mr. Collin’s views on the homosexual lifestyle, let me begin by saying that this is not an attack on Jason Collins or on those who support him in the decision he has made.  I do not hate him or condemn him. Personally, I would welcome any homosexual to attend our church and hear the Word of God proclaimed. As a Christian and pastor, mine is not the position to condemn or judge, that belongs to God and God alone. With that being said, the focus for this particular blog article is NOT homosexuality, as that is a subject for another article, but an overview look at the event and what we, as believers, can learn from it.

So the question I am asking today is, “What can the believer learn from Jason Collins?” Again, I do not endorse or support the homosexual lifestyle, but I believe we can learn from this event that has been front page news and the focus of so much social media traffic. 

First and foremost, overall I believe that we can learn that we must not be afraid to BE UNASHAMEDLY CHRISTIAN! In our thoughts, words and actions, believers must never 'fear' to be Christian or to exhibit truly Christian characteristics. It is the case that far too often, many professing believers tend to shy away from any public display of faith out of fear of what some may say or the fear of offending some. I have even found myself in this frame of mind and fear has had the opportunity to overwhelm me from time to time in this situation, however, as Christians, we must not ever be afraid. Scripture tells us in 2 Tim 1:6-8, “6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God...”

Now while there are many believers to whom this blog post does not apply, simply because they are already faithfully living out their Christian values and they are already serving God without shame. It is my prayer that there are many, many more that may read this blog post and it may serve as a catalyst for change in their lives and their service to our Savior!

I believe that Christians can learn about COURAGE, from this event. The actions Jason has taken, whether you accept his choices or not, took some form of courage on his behalf. As a general rule, in today's society, I do not see this sort of public display of courage by many believers. We live in a world that is considered post-Christian and a world that views Christianity with much disrespect. The Christian faith is the subject of ridicule and mockery by a vast majority of our society. Because of this many believers cower on the 'sidelines' of life, refusing to get onto the playing field. However, as followers of Christ, we are called to share our faith in spite of opposition, and because Christ has given us this spirit of power and love, we MUST be courageous in letting the world know who we are and about the Savior we serve. We must NOT be afraid, but instead we should realize the power, love and self-control that God has infused into our lives, and we should live it out proudly!

I also believe we can learn about CONVICTION from this event. What this young man did revealed HIS belief and conviction and that the choice he made was his right choice. What we believe as Christians is based on God's Word and is not subject to our own desires, so the question we must ask those who are not willing to speak up for Christ is, "Do you truly believe in what you say you believe in?" Many believers are not willing and do not have the conviction to make the hard choices in serving Christ. So often, as believers, we fail to act because of our fear of what people will think or how they will respond to our choice. In other words, our fear of rejection outweighs the strength of our conviction. The truth about the believer is that the salvation of Christ has come and we have been radically changed by Him. Our eternal destination has been changed forever and we must be willing to stand firm in Christ and boldly proclaim Him to the world around us! Unfortunately the ‘norm’ for Christianity is more likely to back down and to simply to say, “hey, I don’t want to rock the boat”.

Finally this incident can teach us about true COMMITMENT. Jason Collins and those who support his decision are truly committed to their choice. As a believer, are you totally committed to Christ? Are you fully and truly committed to the lifestyle that Christ has called you to? Which is a life totally and completely submitted in obedience to God! Do you, in turn, also support other believers when they come to Christ and express a desire to serve Him publicly? I find that many believers give a great deal of lip service to Christian commitment, but when ‘push comes to shove’ their commitment is not as true as many proclaim it to be.

The Jason Collins’ of the world and the homosexual community do not hold the corner on the characteristics of courage, conviction and commitment, in fact, there are many within the homosexual community who fail to exhibit them in their lives. So please understand that I am not trumpeting the virtue of those I disagree with, but merely pointing out that in this particular situation these characteristics do appear and that, as believers, we can learn from this situation!

Courage, conviction and commitment are three extremely vital characteristics for the believer and how they live out their life in this world. These are characteristics that MUST be lived out in order for the world to see our Savior and for the world to HEAR His message of grace, mercy, forgiveness and salvation. We must have the courage to speak out about Christ, we must have the conviction to embrace the Gospel message and the truth of Christ and then we must have the commitment to live our lives in a manner that glorifies Christ on a daily basis, a life that truly reflects the Savior we proclaim and profess to serve!


  1. I think this is a diversionary move of the evil one to have us enter into the christian perspective regarding homosexuality when the discussion is whether or not the guy can play basketball!! This is a method of logical fallacy to change the question when we don't know the answer, or in this case, change the answer when we don't want to ask the question!
    Needless to say, we don't play alot of basketball in the 100 acre wood. Nobody is tall enough to dribble, much less hit the net, but it seems to us that this should be the question the world wants to know.
    We need to return to judging each other in relation to the imposed environment. Certainly, if we want to talk about eternity and afterlife, a discussion of God and the relevance of homosexuality is a necessity. However, we fail to see how one's salvation is predicated on the ability to make a 3-pointer, or we are sunk in the 100 acre wood!! Please pray for us.

    1. Poohbear...
      In reading your response you are either FAR more intelligent that I OR your vocabulary is exponentially larger... This post was NOT about basketball OR homosexuality but merely used this event as a springboard to illustrate how believers should live their lives and represent Christ! If believers took our walk with Christ and our responsibility IN CHRIST as seriously as much of the world does with all their self absorbed and self righteous causes... the church would be DOMINANT in the world today and discussions such as this would be moot...

      I do take exception to one thing you said, although you are entitled to your thoughts... and that was that we need to return to judging each other. I beg to differ... we are NOT the judge of each other but the Word of God sets the standard we proclaim. Us proclaiming the word is NOT judging and we must never feel we have the 'right' to step into that role. Ours is a duty to reconcile and seek redemption for the lost, NOT to judge. Judgment is reserved for God alone! This does NOT mean we cannot make the statement that the Word of God has laid down a particular standard and failure to meet that standard is sin in God's eyes... that is not judgment, that is proclamation.
      Just sayin'

  2. re: judgment; finish the sentence, dear Dawg, "..in relation to the imposed environment"; ie, someone has to tell the senior high starter that they are not pro material, yet. In the arena of the spiritual condition of man, no, we are not to judge, however, we must call (proclaim) sin to be sin.
    I confess, I saw an opportunity to jump on a soapbox. One of many that we have around the 100 acre wood because we don't take baths, oh, I digress (that would be the direction the crawfish walks, Dawg). Why, oh why, does our society have to link achievement, at anything, with one's sexual desire? This speaks of a constant hidden agenda that pervades everything. How wonderful a simple, transparent conversation would be!!
    Anyway, I ask your forgiveness and I will strive to do better in the future. Keep contending for the faith, my Brother!

    1. No forgiveness is needed here b/c you have NOT offended NOR do you need to repent... Your comments were germane and relevant. I guess our 'impasse' is simply a matter of semantical shadowboxing. I was once a coach and YES I had to tell young men and their parents, your child has reached his full potential in this sport and he is not able to compete at this level. It is a very hard thing to do and I believe that in the spiritual realm we have a lot of pansy believers who are not willing to speak the truth. I believe proclaiming the truth of God's word brings conviction thru the power of the Holy Spirit. Telling/Proclaiming to the homosexual that their lifestyle is against God is NOT judgmental but proclamational in essence. We did not set the standard but we proclaim it. Much like the Highway patrolman who does not set the speed limits but is charged to enforce them... he is NOT judge, but he PROCLAIMS their existence and is a stark reminder of the truth of their existence. UNLIKE the patrolman, our duty as believer cannot make 'judgment' calls as to the 'why' or 'reason' for an action and we do not have the authority to 'let someone slide this time'... WE also cannot give 'tickets' of judgment, but we are here to issue warnings that go on their spiritual record... This is not us judging (yes I know this is semantics) but this is us simply proclaiming the truth...
      Now I beg your forgiveness for my verbose response!