Reverend Franklin Graham proves that not all modern Christian leaders are weak-willed and spineless.
On Facebook, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham lashed out at John Boehner. The former speaker of the House recently called senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” and the worst “son of a b*tch” he had ever worked with.
The comparison with Lucifer especially set off alarm bells with Rev. Graham. And rightly so:
What troubles me most about Boehner’s insults isn’t his calling Cruz a SOB. It’s calling this godly man Lucifer, comparing him to the devil when he knows that Cruz is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, a man who takes his religion very seriously. It’s not merely disgraceful, it proves that Boehner wouldn’t recognize God’s Word if it slapped him in the face.
Of course, observant Christians like Cruz know that they will be persecuted by the powers that be—by those who walk according to the flesh, rather than by the spirit (Romans 8:1). And yes, that’s what Mr. Boehner does. He is a man who loves the world (1 John 2:15).
And that explains, of course, why Boehner doesn’t recognize a godly man when he sees one. As God says later on in that same verse: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Those who do not love the Father cannot possibly love His children.
Although I certainly share Rev. Graham’s outrage over Boehner’s ridiculous comments, I believe that Senator Cruz should wear them as a badge of honor. After all, the Bible tells us in many different places that God’s people will be persecuted, insulted and harassed. It’s partially what sets us apart from the world: the fact that we’re persecuted and that we’re happy to suffer for God’s glory, because Christ — who is God — first suffered for us. See John 15:20 (ESV):
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
David, the great king of the ancient Jews, was also a follower of God the Father, and he too was faced with strong opposition. As he cried out in Psalm 9:13 (ESV):
Be gracious to me, O Lord!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death.
I’m sure that Senator Cruz was terribly insulted by Boehner’s words, but he should take pride in them, knowing that the Lord God has his back (Matthew 5:12 ESV):
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In fact, Boehner’s personal attacks on the senator should be reason for Cruz to rejoice (2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV):
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Now, some might argue that there’s a difference between being persecuted and insulted because you stand for God’s promises and laws, and being accused of being a servant of the devil. That’s not true. This is how the lovers of this world have always acted, and it’s what they have always accused godly men of doing. Even Jesus Himself was accused of “working with Beelzebul.” See Matthew 12:22-24 (ESV):
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”
And that’s when Jesus gave both the ancient and the modern Pharisees the refutation they would never forget (Matthew 12:25-32 ESV):
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Senator Cruz has nothing to worry about. The Lord God Himself is his shield and strength. In Him, rather than in the approval of his colleagues in Washington, should he trust, and only by Him is he helped. As King David writes in Psalm 28:7 (ESV):
[M]y heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Take that, John Boehner.