Expectations

Target’s decision to come out of the closet with an official statement proudly proclaiming their commitment of allowing persons to use the bathrooms and fitting rooms corresponding with the gender they identify with at that moment rather than the biological sex they were born with (and is listed on their birth certificates) has amped up the rhetoric on this front of the culture wars America is now fighting.

Part of Target’s statement says…

“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” (Read the entire statement here).

That’s plain and straightforward. No ambiguity. In a world of politicians and businesses that strain themselves to parse words in an attempt to say all things to all people so they can take credit for being politically correct and deny being politically correct at the same time, depending on who their audience is, Target’s forthrightness to proclaim itself a company that proudly embraces immorality is refreshing. As a Christian it made choosing to boycott Target an easy decision.

But not everyone, including Christians, believe boycotting Target is the best decision. One such Christian is Bethany Berreth, the girl’s minister at the Bay Area First Baptist Church in Texas. I don’t know her, but I have no reason to doubt she is a Christian or to doubt she loves Jesus Christ. And in fairness to her she doesn’t tell Christians to not boycott target. She says…

“If you feel so led, sign petitions, call Target, do what you must do to exercise the rights you hold as an American citizen to make your opinion heard.”

She then quotes Colossians 4:5-6…

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Of course. But gracious speech is not necessarily pleasing speech. It is not necessarily speech that tickles the ear. It is speech that speaks truth and Truth is often described as hate speech by those who have chosen to believe lies. Those who live in darkness hate the light (Truth) and prefer to remain unsalted (preserved by the Truth) because as salt poured on to an open wound stings so Truth “poured” on to a heart wounded with sin “stings”. In fact walking in wisdom, speaking gracious words, being light and salt toward outsiders, got Jesus killed.

Certainly, as Christians we do not want to unnecessarily offend anyone, but neither do we want to remain silent in the face of evil. Truth will always offend someone.

After Berrreth made clear she was not telling Christians to not boycott Target she explained why she would not. She wrote…

“Target has never stated or even pretended to have Christian values and morals at the foundation of their decisions as a company. They have always been a ‘secular’ if you will, company. Why, then, are Christians surprised and angry when such a store holds to standards that are set in direct opposition to God’s ways (not to mention public safety)? Scripture makes it very clear that when we are children of darkness we walk in darkness (Ephesians 4:18-20) and when we are children of light we should choose to walk in the light (Ephesians 5:8). Those who are not of God, and the companies they run, are of the darkness. We shouldn’t expect them to look like those who are of the light. We wouldn’t expect an apple tree to produce oranges, and then rail at it when it failed our expectations. It just wouldn’t make sense. Sure, it’s much more comfortable when a company’s choices don’t step on our morality toes. But at their core, they are no different today than they were in the days, weeks and years before this decision.

“I’ll speak plainly here. It is utterly ridiculous to expect those who are in darkness to display the same characteristics of those who have been saved by the grace and mercy of God and are empowered to walk in light by the Holy Spirit. Not only is it ridiculous, but even if, EVEN IF we could convince them to abide by the principles of light, it is pointless in the face of eternity: they are still without hope and without God in the world. Like I said before, we may feel more comfortable purchasing products from Target when they seem to resemble our values, but that is a false comfort.” — Bethany Berreth (Full blog here).

Unquestionably, unbelievers and “secular” companies have always “walked” in darkness as Berreth points out because they are not saved. They live outside the light of the Holy Spirit. But the darkness they walk in has never been total darkness. Even unsaved man and ‘secular’ companies have walked in partial light since the Fall of man. The Apostle Paul makes that abundantly clear when he says…

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:18-23 ESV).

Therefore, unsaved man and secular companies have always walked it at least partial light. So, when Berreth says that it is utterly ridiculous to expect them to exhibit the same characteristics, values, as Believers she is only partially right.

She is right that we should not expect unsaved man or secular companies to live or operate in the light that Yahweh is the only true God as Believers do in accordance to the 1st commandment…

“You shall have no other gods before me (Yahweh)” (Exodus 20:3 ESV);

or to not expect them to live their lives pursuing money or power or fame or pleasure or any other created thing (idols) while Believers place God first in their lives (forsake all idols) in accordance to the 2nd commandment…

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:3-6 ESV);

or to not expect them to honor and keep holy Yahweh’s name as Believers do in accordance the 3rd commandment…

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:3 ESV).

Obeying these commandments in spirit and truth does indeed require the illumination of the Holy Spirit, an illumination unbelievers and secular companies do not have.

But even unbelievers and secular companies have walked in the shadow of the light created by the commandments that pertain directly to their fellow man. I know of no sane individual or civilization or company that has believed that murder is a virtue. That indicates that they possess at the least a glimmer of the light given in the 6th commandment…

“You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13 ESV).

Likewise, they walk in a flicker of the light given in the 8th and 9th commandments…

“You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15 ESV) and “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16 ESV) respectively.

Thievery and lying are despised by non-Christians and secular companies because they know these activities are wrong.
Even the 7th commandment…

“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14 ESV)…

has universally been regarded as a virtue worthy of esteem even by unbelievers and secular companies. I know of no unbelievers that think unfaithfulness is a virtue nor have I ever known of a company openly praising adulterous relationships.

So, for Berreth to say…

“Target has never stated or even pretended to have Christian values and morals at the foundation of their decisions as a company” isn’t entirely true. The virtues of not murdering or even harming someone (whether willfully or through negligence), of not stealing from someone, or of not lying to someone are Christian virtues that, while not always obeyed perfectly, are nonetheless virtues that Christians and non-Christians and secular companies are rightly expected to obey or at least strive to conform to.

Therefore, I do not think it is ridiculous to expect those who are in partial darkness as Target is to display the same characteristics as those who have been saved and are enlightened by the Holy Spirit do as far as one’s interaction with one’s fellowman is concerned.

My expectations are for unbelieves and secular companies to live by the light, dim though it may be, that has been available to everyone, saved or unsaved, from the beginning of creation.

My expectations of unbelievers and secular companies are to follow the same moral laws Christians do, at least physically speaking. I expect unbelievers and secular companies to not kill (you shall not murder); I expect unbelievers and secular companies to not lie (you shall not bear false witness); I expect unbelievers and companies to not condone or facilitate sexual immorality (you shall not commit adultery – which includes a variety of sexual sins) (Target’s failing); I expect unbelievers and secular companies to not steal (you shall not steal).

I don’t a have problem being salt and light to Target, but they may not like the application of said salt and light. Early in Jesus’ ministry He sent some of His disciples out as missionaries for a short time. Among His instructions to these men He said…

“As you enter the house (to stay in while in a town), greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town” (Matthew 10:12-15 ESV).

I have entered the house of Target many times and greeted it with my money. I have lived in peace with them because they were worthy of it in the sense they did not actively embrace and facilitate evil that has been known to be evil by Christians and non-Christians alike for thousands of years.

Therefore, I will let my peace return to me and shake off any connection I have with Target.

In other words I will boycott Target and pray they return to the light they have turned from while they still can.

#BoycottTarget

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