I hope that my sons are called a lot of names. Ugly names. Hateful names. If there’s one general dream that I have for my sons, that would be it.
Every parent dreams for their children. Some of those dreams stem from our own unmet expectations. Others come from a desire to see our kids do well in life and avoid some of the heartache that is all too common in our world. Don’t get me wrong. I want to see my kids do well. I want them to avoid the stupid mistakes I made when I was growing up. I want them to mature better than I did.
But my dreams for my sons go much deeper than a comfortable, stable life. I want more for them than that.
I want them to be called terrorists.
Not because they blow things up or make signs that say “God Hates Fags.” No, I want them to be called terrorists because of what they believe. In today’s world, you don’t have to be hateful to be called a terrorist. All you have to do is believe what the Bible says about things like marriage, original sin and the only way to be saved. Actually, that’s nothing new. Paul was called a “plague” who “stirs up riots” just because he believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (Acts 24:5, 20-21). Like Paul, I hope that my sons stand firm on the truth of what the Bible says even if such devotion is considered an act of terror.
I want them to be called workaholics.
Not because they spend 80 hours a week on the job. No, I want them to be called workaholics because they don’t expect things to be given to them. Our culture is becoming more and more dependent on handouts. So much so that the man or woman who works hard and saves wisely is considered greedy. In a world where fewer people know the value of a job well done, an honest day of work can look like overkill. I hope that they work hard and go to bed tired at night instead of spending all day in bed and wondering why they’re still tired.
I want them to be called lazy.
Not because they don’t ever work. No, I want them to be called lazy because they make sacrifices. When you think about it, everyone makes sacrifices. It’s just that most people sacrifice their family on the altar of their career. I don’t want my sons to play that game. Instead, I hope that they learn the importance of priorities. That is to say, I hope that they learn how to say no, even if it earns them a nasty reputation.
I want them to be called irrelevant.
Not because they have no idea what’s going on in the culture around them. No, I want them to be called irrelevant because they refuse to be shaped by the culture around them. I’d much rather they influence the culture. To paraphrase D.L. Moody, I want them to be ships in the water instead of ships with water in them.
More than anything, I want them to be called different.
Not because they wear funny clothes or have no social skills. No, I want people to think that they are different because of how they respond when people call them terrorists, greedy, lazy and irrelevant. The typical response to such claims is to fire back with claims of your own in an attempt to discredit, or at least quiet the accuser. A different approach is to respond with love and compassion.
Such a response may be different in our culture but that doesn’t mean that they are alone or the first to react in such a way. When Jesus hung on a cross he showed compassion to the very mob who had put him there.
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Luke 23:34 (ESV)
When Paul dealt with an angry mob that wanted him dead and a king that didn’t know what to do with him he showed the same compassion that his Savior showed years before.
And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am – except for these chains.” Acts 26:29 (ESV)
When everyone agrees and they refuse to hear anything else, it’s called a mob. To a large degree in our culture, the mob rules the day. I can’t imagine what it will be like when my boys are older. No matter what, I hope that they are different. Just like Jesus.
Earlier this week I was talking to two men who had a bad summer. Accusations were made against them. They were called terrorists by people who they thought were friends. Even the national media got in on the name calling.
But they never wavered.
And they never joined in on the name-calling game.
All because they knew that you’re not really living until you’re called a terrorist.