After BuzzFeed reporter Kate Authur published a viral hit piece attacking Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s home remodelling show Fixer Upper, she became the subject of nasty attacks from supporters of the couple including many Christians.
Just in case you didn’t see the full story, the Gaineses are Christians who attend a church with a pastor who is opposed to same-sex marriage, and an author BuzzFeed dug this up and ran a story painting them as a pair of anti-gay bigots, without any actual evidence or confirmation about their views on homosexuality. The viral story sparked a huge controversy with lots of responses about how it was inappropriate, poor journalism, and a frightening attempt at a “witch hunt” by the gay mafia. Others pointed out that since such teaching is a basic tenet of evangelical Christianity and especially since Chip and Joanna had never spoken about the issue themselves, the piece was a “non-story.”
While many of us would certainly feel righteous indignation over this travesty and be inclined to lash out in a manner that would not be very Christ-like, Chip has surprised many Christians and conservatives in an extraordinary way when he called on fans to show respect toward Aurthur and Gina Mei, a Cosmopolitan reporter who joined in the bullying.
He tweeted last week…
— Chip Gaines (@chippergaines) December 3, 2016
As Fox News reported, Chip followed with another tweet Sunday emphasizing his family’s Christian faith: “In times of trouble.. you’ll find the gaines family at church.”
In times of trouble.. you’ll find the gaines family at church.
— Chip Gaines (@chippergaines) December 4, 2016
Chip is living out what God has instructed us to do: to take the high road and to show love to our enemies even when they abuse and shame us publicly.
I believe this was a powerful lesson for all of us who call ourselves Christians – especially those of us involved in the public sphere where people look to us to represent the name of Christ in an honourable way. It was a humbling lesson for me personally.
We cannot use the tactics of the enemy. Instead when reviled we, as instructed by Christ, must follow His example by not returning the abuse (1 Peter 2:21-23).
This action that Chip took was more effective than if he went on a public tirade on TV to call out Authur and all the other tabloid reporters. He heaped coals of fire on their heads and lived out Christ’s command to “bless those who persecute you.”
This is certainly not something that any of us would find easy to do as our natural tendencies are to immediately retaliate to anything that threatens us.
But Chip didn’t do that. He showed true Christian spirit, true Christ-likeness. In doing so, he has glorified our heavenly father and showed a good public example to the world of what Christianity is all about.
I think that is highly commendable.
His kind and forgiving gesture certainly did not go unnoticed. For example, The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher noted on Twitter that this is how one “puts Christian beliefs into practice.”
This is a good man. And I hope those two appreciate that he puts his Christian beliefs into practice. https://t.co/ww9rFLBnde
— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) December 3, 2016
Many other Twitter users commended Chip on his politeness, exercise of self-control and classiness. Meanwhile others continued assaulting him and his wife with a barrage of abuse and insults.
You can imagine if Chip went on a vitriolic rant on TV how very different the public’s reaction would be. Nobody would have shown him respect or glorified God indirectly if that happened.
Matthew 5:16 commands Christians to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Chip did exactly that.
Since Chip and Joanna’s rise to fame with the debut of Fixer Upper in 2013, the couple has been vocal about their Christian faith.
While Chip and Joanna have still not responded to requests for statements about the controversy (and neither are they obliged to in any way), HGTV seems to be backing the couple unlike what happened to the Benham Brothers in 2014 when they lost their show over pro-family and pro-traditional marriage beliefs.
Fixer Upper’s fourth season premiered as planned on November 29, the same day the Buzzfeed article debuted. The premier reportedly drew 3.4 million views — the most non-news views of any cable show that night.
— HGTV (@hgtv) December 1, 2016