Summary: How believers are to handle the contempt of the world.
By now, I’m sure all of us are familiar with the interview with Don Cathy, the chief operating officer of Chick-Fil-A that set off such a firestorm several weeks ago. As we might expect, much of the reporting on what he actually said has been inaccurate. So let me read to you a portion of the transcript of the interview by K. Allan Blume of the Baptist Press:
Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.
"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
"We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that," Cathy emphasized.
"We intend to stay the course," he said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."
Shortly after that interview, Cathy appeared on “The Ken Coleman Show,” where he spoke these words.
…I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage” and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.
The response to his words is really not all that surprising. Most of you are probably pretty familiar with it, so I won’t belabor the point, but here are a few of the headlines from various people who reported on what Cathy said:
“Chick-Fil-A President Goes Public With Anti-Gay Marriage Stance”
“It's Official: Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy Comes Out as Antigay”
“Chick-Fil-A: A-OK with being anti-gay, says prez”
“Chick-fil-A Anti-Gay and Proud Of It”
“Chick-fil-A Hate-In: Dan Cathy and Rick Warren Gloat over the Chick-fil-A Hate-In of Gay People”
And then there was the Chick-fil-a store in Torrance, California where someone painted the words “Tastes like hate” on the side of the building.
We really shouldn’t be surprised that his words generated such contempt against Dan Cathy since we live in a world that is increasingly opposed to Jesus and the teachings of His Word. So how are we as His followers to respond to that kind of contempt?
Fortunately for us, Psalm 123, the fourth of the Psalm of Ascents, helps us to answer that question. Once again, we’ll begin by reading that Psalm out loud together:
To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
till he has mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.
Psalm 123:1-4 (ESV)
If you’re anything at all like me, you can definitely relate to the sentiments expressed by the Psalmist in the last two verses of this Psalm. I know that I’ve certainly had more than enough of the contempt that our cultures showers on Jesus and His followers. My soul has had more than enough scorn from self-sufficient people who are arrogant and proud and who belittle my faith in God.
So I know I need this Psalm and my guess is that you need it too.
Although this Psalm is short – only four verses – it is rich and actually gives us a pretty comprehensive picture of how we can conquer the contempt of the world.
HOW TO CONQUER CONTEMPT
• Anticipate the world’s contempt
Like His fellow Hebrews, the Psalmist lived the majority of his life not on the mountaintop in the Temple in Jerusalem, but rather in the valleys where he was surrounded by the ungodly. And both he and the people around him recognized the differences that existed between them. And it was not just the physical differences that separated them. As a Jew, the Psalmist had a completely different world view and set of values than the people around him. And those differences were evident in the way he lived his life – the choices he made, the way he treated others, the way he responded to success and failure, prosperity and need.