I am an admirer of quotations. In fact, I have an entire dictionary of quotations. If I remember correctly, it was given to me as a Christmas gift when I was a child. Yes, I was excited about receiving it. (And yes, I proudly admit my nerdiness!)
So when I read the news article titled“Heads LGBTs Win, Tails Christians Lose,” the following quotation came to mind: “My rights end where your nose begins.”
That’s a loose translation of the well-known words. There are various versions of it, each one credited to a different person. But the message is the same; the message is respect.
Now, I know you can apply these words to either side of a situation to spin it in your favor. I understand that. But I challenge you to think of others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3) in an effort to extend respect and kindness like Canadian Christian jeweler Esau Jardon did.
Jardon is the topic of the news story I mention above. I won’t go into great detail because you can read the story yourself, and I think you should. But here is the story in a nutshell:
Jardon, a believer who opposes same-sex marriage, willingly made a pair of engagement rings for a lesbian couple. He treated the couple as he would any of his customers, with good service, good prices and a good nature. The couple was very pleased and recommended his business to friends. But everything suddenly changed when the couple found out that Jardon upholds the sanctity of natural marriage and wants to protect it. The couple immediately demanded their money back for the rings because they believed they were tainted with the impure thoughts of the jeweler. Jardon initially refused and began being bullied and threatened. He recently decided to return their deposit to protect himself, his family and his business. But he is standing firm in his beliefs.
“I cannot say, ‘Well because you feel bad, I will stop believing what I believe,’” Jardon said.
“You understand, of course, that this is not about getting equal treatment,” writes Rob Dreher for The American Conservative website. “The lesbian couple received that. This is about demonizing a point of view, and driving those who hold it out of the public square. Just so we’re clear about that.”
Too Jardon, it boils down to a matter of respect or, in this instance, disrespect.
“When I walk on Church Street in Toronto … I see [LGBT rainbow flags], and I see a lot of signs and a lot of things on public property, I don’t have a problem with them. … I don’t discriminate against that, nor do I come and tell them to take them down,” Jardon said. “For the same reason, I ask to have the same respect in return, especially when it’s my own business.”
So why am I telling you Esau Jardon’s story? What is the takeaway from it for Christians? I believe it is this:
1. Stand firm in your faith, and refuse to accept what Scripture clearly defines as wrong.
2. Be clear in your convictions but not hateful.
3. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
4. Be an example. Treat others the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
5. In all your ways, imitate and honor Christ.
You may not always win; Jardon didn’t. But you never know when someone may be won over by your love for Christ and His truth. Think of it as an opportunity to invest in someone rather than infringe on his beliefs.