When you apologize to someone, there’s no room for your butt (but). You have to leave it out completely, or it really isn’t an apology.
Have you ever had someone apologize to you by saying, “I’m sorry, but…” Once that ‘but’ comes in, the apology ceases to be an apology, but more of a deference/shift of blame. “I’m sorry, but it’s really your fault.” “I’m sorry but, you know, you’re not that smart to begin with.”
If you’re sorry, just leave it with “I’m sorry.” No if, ands or buts about it.
I think it’s safe to apply this rule for professing Christian.
Tucker Carlson went on TV show on a certain network a little while ago, and talked about Michael Vick’s imprisonment for dog fighting. Carlson said that Michael Vick should’ve been executed for his transgressions. (On a side note, didn’t know how I felt about a white man on a network that’s watched predominantly by white folks calling for the execution of a black man. But you know, that’s me.)
But what bothered me the most about this interview is that Tucker started out his opinion basically saying, I’m a Christian, but…
Here’s what he actually said:
“I’m a Christian, I’ve made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances. But Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should’ve been executed for that.”
He admits that he believes “fervently” in second chances, yet Michael Vick should’ve been executed? Where’s Vick’s chance?
Why even bring Christianity into the conversation, especially if he goes against the idea of grace in the very next sentence?
And, by all accounts, Vick paid his dues. He spent time in prison. Lost millions in endorsements. Owes money to many people that he may have to file for bankruptcy (unless he has already).
Or, how about another political commentary who has been quoted as saying, “I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second.” Granted, this could’ve been taken out of context, and maybe this person was making a joke…
It’s hard enough that our actions are often contrary to our words, but we can’t let our words contradict each other.
How does being a Christian allow someone to be mean-spirited and bigoted? How does someone who believe in second chances demand the life of a transgressor without being given a second chance?
Shane Claiborne said that no one really knows what a Christian is anymore, because so many people claim to be Christians and yet live vastly different lifestyles with different sets of beliefs and morals.
Shane continues to explain that John the Baptist wanted to make sure that Jesus was the Messiah, so John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one they were all waiting for. Instead of saying a simple, “yes” Jesus told John’s disciples to tell John what they have witnessed and heard, that the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the lepers cured, the dead are raised and the gospel is preached to the poor.
If someone asked us if we are a Christian, could we respond in the manner that Jesus did? Could we say, what have you heard? What have you seen? Do my coworkers say I’m a Christian? What did my friends tell you? What have you seen from the way I live?
Anyone can say anything. Anyone can claim to be anything. It’s easier to say that I’m a Christian than to actually be one. Talk is cheap, yo. Especially when we start bringing out ifs, ands and buts into it.
May they know we are Christians, not by our words, BUT (hah) by our actions.