So here’s the thing.
What Phil Robertson — the patriarch of Duck Dynasty — said to GQ in the January 2014 issue, was out of place. Taking the interview itself was perhaps a mistake. Not every platform is a good platform, and not all publicity is good publicity, contrary to the saying. He should not have been so coarse about homosexuality or promiscuity or terrorism or talked about women’s vaginas. He was running off the mouth and was hurtful.
What he also said, though, at the end of the interview, is that “we were all created by the Almighty, and, like him, I love all of humanity.”
A lot of people didn’t feel love from Phil that day. They just felt the sting of his words. Because love is not a well-spoken sentence; it’s an unspoken act of sacrifice.
But here’s the other thing.
None of us warrants any kind of love. Love is God, and none of us deserves to have God pursue us. Because all of us, at some point, have spoken unloving words or done something we regretted.
Nevertheless–and here’s the beauty of Christmas–Love DID pursue us. In the form of a precious baby. A perfect human baby, who was God with spit-up.
And this is what I think we’re missing in the conversations happening on Twitter and Facebook and around the Internet about Duck Dynasty’s fate: that is, the fact that we are all human.
No matter whether you think Phil should have been suspended from the show indefinitely or not, whether you’re right-wing or left, whether you’re part of GLAAD or the A&E or Joe from the streets who has no idea who “The Beards” are–we are all human.
Including Phil Robertson. Sure, he’s a very wealthy human, who pulls in more than 12 million viewers a show, whose merchandise empire is estimated around $400 million–but in spite of that, he’s comprised of flesh and bones and muscle like all of us and to his credit, he’s never pretended to be anything other than a sinful person who needs Jesus.
What the 67-year-old said was shocking, yes. And was it wrong to say it the way he did, in spite of his convictions? Most likely. But is any of us more or less human than the other? No. We all eat and sleep and curse behind the preacher’s back and have days when we want to hurt someone or feel jealous or get tired of being good.
And this is the hope that is offered in a manger at Christmas: Grace.
Christ, the creator of all humanity, knew the only way he could repair what sin had stolen was to come down as a human himself. He became the one perfect human who would represent all of us before the throne of his father on Judgment Day. Including Phil Robertson.
Jesus is the answer, when we run out of words.
Phil can’t take back what he said. But God can take what Phil said, and somehow use the whole situation for his glory.
Because that’s what God does: he takes our mess, and he turns it into miraculous. He takes our sin, and turns it into salvation. He takes our humanity and turns it into holiness.
In the grandest display of unspoken sacrifice, God was born within the womb of his own creation so we all could know grace for those days when we say the wrong thing.
So, this Christmas?
Let’s give each other the greatest gift–GRACE. Because we’re all human. And we all need Jesus.