Friday, June 26, 2015

Where Do We Go From Here

I, like everyone else was greeted with the news this morning that The Supreme Court has decided that homosexual couples have the right to marry in The United States. As I have scrolled through my news feeds and social media pages, I have read a variety of opinions that are as wide as the Grand Canyon. Some people, whom I love and care for are rejoicing that today is a “great day.” Others are lashing out in anger. Still others are expressing grief and sadness over this ruling. Add to this the name calling, personal attacks and venomous words that are being spewed from every side and I wonder where should we go from here?

I feel like there are several things that we need to consider. I am sure that I will anger some as I share my thoughts, but please hear my heart and simply think about it.

1. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion

There is a lost principle in our culture today that needs to be found again. It IS possible to fundamentally disagree with another person’s opinion without hating or attacking them. It would seem from what I see and read that if I disagree with someone or they disagree with me, we must hate each other. This is not productive, nor helpful. I have read things today from individuals who, knowingly or unknowingly are calling me all sorts of vile names. While not saying my name directly, they have lumped together every person who believes as I do into one very vulgar and disrespectful category. The trouble is these individuals are people that I know and have relatively good relationships with. I don’t believe they would ever say those things to my face directly, but it’s not me they are speaking of. It is the “THEY” of idiotic people who disagree and who are not “enlightened” enough to know what’s really going on. This happens on all sides of the argument. I have also noticed people who agree with my opinion completely that I am disgusted by. The hatred coming from some on the “Christian” side of things is just as vile and repulsive in the eyes of God as anything else.

 Does hatred, name-calling and disrespect reflect the love that Christ has commanded us to show? I am not for one moment speaking of compromising Biblical truth. I’m speaking of simple Christ-like love and respect. It is easy to sit behind a computer screen or in our churches and lash out at nameless and faceless people. It is much different when you are engaged in a face to face relationship with someone, with whom you disagree, but who still has hopes, dreams, feelings, hurts, struggles and sin. Jesus truly loves and died for them as much as anyone else. We must reflect that to our culture. As Christians, we must refuse to become the caricature of hateful, uninformed Neanderthals that culture and media represent us to be. Don’t fuel the fire with your own hate. Don’t be overcome with negativity but overcome the negativity with the true, uncompromised love and compassion of Christ.

2. The Bible does not change based on the opinions of a court.

It really makes no difference what the court, the president, the congress or anyone else says or believes about the issue of homosexuality. In the end, we are not beholden to any man. Martin Luther said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.” I must confess I agree with this sentiment.

With much respect and love I must speak the truth of scripture. Homosexuality is a sin. It can’t be made to not be sin because men and woman in black robes said so. It doesn’t work that way. For thousands of years there have been attempts to eliminate the influence of God and the Bible from society. Each time this has been attempted, the society falls but the Word of God still stands firm. This will never change.

Yes, the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. However, it must be recognized that we are ALL sinners. The Bible says, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We must ALL recognize that we are sinners and that we need to turn to Christ and ask His forgiveness for our sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, NO MAN comes to the Father except through me.” My response to someone who says I am a homosexual is the same as my response to anyone else who tells me about their sin. You need Jesus.

Some will say this is judgment and hatred. This is not hatred. In fact, it is the complete opposite of hatred. If I see a young child reaching their hand into a fire, I would do whatever it takes to stop them. Is that hatred? Absolutely not! It would be hatred to stand by and watch the child get burned. To say to the homosexual or anyone else for that matter that they need to turn from their sin and toward Jesus is not hatred at all. If I truly believe the Bible, then I must believe that there will be an eternal consequence for sin. It would be hate for me to stand by and say nothing.

The love of Christ is that He gave His life on the cross so that we could all find forgiveness for all of our sin. There is freedom from sin for all who hear and believe in what Christ has done. Jesus didn’t say I came to be angry and tell everyone they are going to Hell. He said I have come to give life in all of its fullness. However, this life can’t be accessed without admitting, and turning away from our sin. We can’t judge our lives based on what a court or a society says.  We can only rightly judge our lives according to what scripture says. What scripture counts as sin, we must count as sin. Anything less that this is to deny what The Bible really says.

3. We must carry on

Jesus never promised that it would be easy to follow Him. He promised the opposite. He told his disciples that there would be persecution for following him. Where does the church go from this decision by the Supreme Court? We carry on! We continue to pray.  We continue to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We continue to love each other and reflect that love in our communities. We continue to speak the words of scripture without compromise. It may very well get more difficult to carry on, but we must carry on nonetheless. It is not the time to shrink back, but to press forward. I will never purposely try to stir up anger and controversy. We should never look to stir up trouble, but if trouble finds us, then so be it. Our hearts are captive to the Word of God.