A Serious Matter on April Fool’s Day.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the Director and do not reflect the views of other members of the writing team.
Let me start by saying, Happy April Fool’s day. Today kindergarteners came to class wondering why a leprechaun would turn all their tables over, and this year, they will be stuffed full of Easter Candy and the Ham’s their parents cooked the day before as we celebrated Christ’s death and glorious resurrection. I will be nursing the newly forming calluses from my return to playing drums and you will probably go back to getting involved in facebook debates.
Yes, you know the debates I’m taking about, the ones that have so divided facebook as to make it impossible to identify people by their profile pictures. The debates that have proven once again that very few people have done their homework, the debates that tend to give Christians a bad name because we forget that like Jesus, when we debate we’re supposed to do it graciously and lovingly. I’m talking about the debate over homosexuality and the sanctify of marriage.
Now before I go on I will reiterate my views on the subject, I believe in marriage between a man and a woman, that is the only type of marriage I believe in. I do not support gay marriage, especially in the church. I know that doesn’t make me “relevant” to today’s culture but guess what, we serve a God who is still more relevant today than supporting gay marriage will ever make me. I’ve also seen what seeking relevancy has done to the church, take a look at the Presbyterian Church USA if you want to see an example. This is my viewpoint, based on my biblical worldview, I’m not attacking anyone and respect your ability to form your own viewpoint and worldview even if I disagree.
But church, I have some advice for you, in the wise words of Bob Newhart “STOP IT.” I lost count of how many senseless and ill-handled debates I saw last week, to the point that I almost told 10:31 writers to avoid participating in them. Christians, who are loved by God, were openly using hate speech, disparaging and destroying homosexuals and their heterosexual supporters. Memes popped up on facebook, devaluing people because they didn’t agree with the “Christian view of marriage.” Yes, they do not, but are you not missing the point of the gospel?
Folks I do not deny that homosexuality is wrong. I do not deny that scripture calls it a sin, an abomination in fact. But folks the hardest words of Jesus were the ones that called us out to love our enemies. Think of the story of the good Samaritan, if you had been brutally beaten and left to die would you decline the help of a gay man if he tried to help you? If you came across a gay man who’d been beaten would you help him? Or would you scoff at him, tell him “you deserved it (add expletive)” and walk off. Or would you take the example of Jesus and serve in love, a man who’s lifestyle you don’t agree with.
This is what makes the Christian life so hard, the call to be separate from the world. Remember what Paul says in Roman’s 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV). What’s the point here? That when we engage in debates and continue to lash out in anger and malice towards people of alternative lifestyles we are conforming to the world, not focusing on what is “Good, acceptable and Perfect.” We are acting like children who have had their toys taken away, we have lost our dignity in the eyes of culture because we have failed to combine strong doctrine with love and failed to show the world the love and grace that we were shown on the day that we believed.
I’m tired of the backbiting and infighting, it doesn’t matter if you don’t accept someone you have to love, you were commanded to love them. Remember the second greatest commandment? “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Even if he or she is a homosexual or a Hindu, or a Muslim or a Buhhdist or even a Mormon, love your neighbor as yourself.
We need to come up with a way to talk about these doctrines without the fighting. We need to make Jesus words, even the words that make us uncomfortable, into words that we ourselves live by. Because, brothers and sisters, if God so loved the world, then why shouldn’t we who live by this love and grace alone, not share that love with the world.
You want to talk about my viewpoints we’ll talk, but friends, before you engage in debates and rant about social sin. Please, take the plank of self righteousness and judgment and learn to love, this world is ours to love, so let us love it.