What Lens Are You Using?

Written by Wesley Franson / December 2016


And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

I watched two videos this week that both gave me a visceral reaction. These videos were very different in topic and delivery. One was comedic and light-hearted while the other was very somber. One was by a well-known talk-show host (who I usually find hysterical) and the other was delivered by a basketball coach that maybe 2% of America knows the name of.

The subject the comedian approached is a divisive one in our country. It was abortion. Specifically, it was on abortion laws in our country. I am not going to get into the minutiae of the argument because watching a 16-minute video doesn’t make me an expert and that isn’t the point of this article.

But I want to talk about the reception of the video personally and on a societal scale. I found myself at the beginning of the video trying to approach it down the middle, as an unbiased observer, and see where I end up after getting the facts. Upon realizing this I felt shame and paused the video. How could I approach something like this with an unbiased view, when the morality surrounding it is objective?

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This passage grabs all of our worries, insecurities, and sadness in life and wraps them in a blanket. The comfort given from these simple words and that the Almighty (whose plans and thoughts are far beyond our reasoning) is on our side, is so humbling.

Children are a heritage from the LORD. (Psalm 127:3-5) God knows us personally in the womb. (Jeremiah 1:5) God saw to our development in the womb and was the one making our growth happen. (Psalm 139: 13-16). These are facts (for as Christians, we believe the Bible is fact). You can see how without such basis of faith, a secular world could get so confused and off track on this topic. But as followers of Christ, how can we be indecisive after reading those words above?

The most disturbing part about the video was either the frankness with which the host spoke about something that is so serious and brutal in nature or the audience applauding his points. As societal views shift on this and similar topics, it is difficult to not feel swayed by the surrounding water like strands of seaweed pulled in the direction of the current. So we need to be tied to something a little more stable than seaweed. “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2) This stability through our Fortress is something worth striving and fighting for.

The coach’s monologue had a much more serious setting and tone. It was at a funeral; his wife and the mother of his children’s’ funeral. And it was uplifting!

His speech centered on several Bible passages and thoughts.

The First Thought. “God is love.” ( 1 John 4:8) After losing his wife, Monty addressed the congregation by alluding to this passage. That is such a powerful sentiment to remember in trying times. It’s too easy to forget when we are so wrapped up in our lives and the world around us.

The Second Thought. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This passage grabs all of our worries, insecurities, and sadness in life and wraps them in a blanket. The comfort given from these simple words and that the Almighty (whose plans and thoughts are far beyond our reasoning) is on our side, is so humbling.

The Third Thought. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15) Finally, Monty talked about the other person involved in the car accident. How his family was praying and had forgiven that driver. What an exemplary Christian! One who can forgive and pray for others in a trial and tribulation like that.

The Final Thought. The segment of the speech that I had the most emotional reaction to was “We didn’t lose her. When you lose something, you can’t find it.” Monty was not encompassed in the emotion of the present. He was looking to future. He knew his wife was with her Creator and was excited to join them both. He was also looking at the past. He was so incredibly thankful for his and his wife’s salvation through Christ. There was no hesitation in sharing this message that made him so composed and even joyful on this heart-wrenching day.

Why do I bring up these videos together? I honestly don’t know. It could be to reinforce “Don’t judge a book by its cover” because these are two very different videos with unique messages. It could be to encourage about how there are strong, incredible Christians outside of your church or synod who you can still be encouraged by. But I think it might be this. It all depends on the lens you are looking through. The talk-show host, along with society, is using the wrong lens when looking at abortion and other moral issues. We have the lens that gives us certainty. Make sure you use it; make sure you read it. Make sure you share it with others. Monty used his lens to view a tragic accident as God working in his life while sharing that message with hundreds of thousands of people through his platform.

Paul wrote it well when he said, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Let us be filled with joy and peace as we use that lens of hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.