One of the hardest things about forming a viewpoint on this topic (same-sex marriage) is that I’m probably subjecting myself to alienation within the Church from people who think I’m compromising the truth, and with non-believers (especially those who have strong feelings about same sex marriage).
I want people to know the truth about Jesus Christ, encounter him in a way that they are confronted with the truth that he was more than just a good teacher, or a good example, but fully God while being fully man, and sent here for the sacrifice and atonement for the sins of all mankind. The truth that He is the ONLY way to God (spoken by Jesus himself) and His eternal Kingdom (John 14:6), and that without him, everlasting destruction is a person’s choice (Matthew 13:42, Luke 17:19-31). And that he was a God who came speaking truth AND grace. Not one or the other. The problem is, people are not going to make their way to a church to hear this message, or spend time with a professing Christian, when they feel as though they face immediate human judgment when in the presence of these people.
I’m really having a hard time understanding why some Christian brothers and sisters feel like gay marriage is the be-all end-all sin issue that will destroy this world as we know it. Isn’t God still on the throne? Can’t he still redeem anyone? Yes, it will change the landscape of things, yes it will quite likely require that Christians become very unpopular if they hold to what they believe. (1 Peter 2:11 Dear Friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your souls) Following Jesus may become more costly. Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy and awesome in this lifetime. “I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33)
It’s not “Us vs. Them”. “They” (insert whatever group of people you are classifying by a certain sin) are sinful people yes, but so are YOU. So am I. We all need the cross of Christ, and it excludes no one! The only exclusion is the proud heart of a person unwilling to receive it in a state of humility, and accepting the fact that they cannot do anything to repay God for a life lived in open rebellion since the day they entered the world. Gay or Straight, Jesus came to save all people.
Matthew 2: 13-17:
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus didn’t have a picket sign. He didn’t have a special logo on his facebook page. He simply went to sinful people, told them the truth about God, graciously showed them their need for repentance, and then let the people decide if they wanted to take him up on His offer or not.
We cannot argue, or legislate people into the Kingdom of God. We can pray that people meet Jesus, accept His atoning work on the cross on behalf of all of humanity, and then God gets to work out the details of their life. We are to lovingly come alongside people in truth and love, proclaiming the good news of Jesus and loving people right where they are. The Holy Spirit is the one who does the work in people's lives. Not a court, not a facebook post (which, is it ironic that I just wrote that in a blog post?...oh well), not a picket line.
I’m also troubled that we seem to have ignored a big theme of Scripture that would quickly convict many people in our country if they read ALL of Scripture, and what God has to say about what it means to live out our faith in him.
Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
Jeremiah 22:16 “‘He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.”
Malachi 3:5 ” So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
Luke 12:33 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”
When are we going to start yelling about no one taking these verses seriously? I thank God that He has been raising up prophetic voices in the church who are bringing this to light (and they usually get accused of trying to subversively introduce socialism into the church), but I think it’s something that we will need to hear preached repeatedly, because let’s face it, inside and outside of the church, this country WORSHIPS money. It drives everything. It’s so subtle that we worship it without even realizing it. We can’t “afford” to give money away to people in need because we’ve crafted a lifestyle that exceeds our income. I know this seriously makes people uncomfortable. Again, it’s because we LOVE our money!
I know some of you are screaming “She’s talking about poverty theology!!!!!” I would encourage you to do a survey of all of the Scriptures and see if the bible has more to say about God’s judgment of homosexuality, or His judgment of His people forsaking and oppressing the poor, alien, widow, and orphan. Again, to be clear, it is my belief that all of the aforementioned things are sinful, but I think American Christendom has sort of winked at each other pulling up to church in Cadillacs for many decades, while simultaneously yelling and screaming about things “out there” that are going to “ruin our country”.
This is probably close to my heart because I used to do the exact things I just said. I assumed I was a Christian because I “believed in Jesus”, voted Republican, went to church at least 10 times per year, and I’d never killed anyone and I was a pretty good person. All the while, I was a loud, cruel, awful voice against people I thought were “worse” sinners than me. I had no idea who Jesus really was. My God was money, and I was fiercely nationalistic and a die-hard conservative.
Anyway, these are just some of my random thoughts that I felt compelled to share. I have a hard time not talking about things, so if you made it through all of that, thanks for listening.
Bottom line? Jesus is God. He loves you. He died and was raised to life for you and whether or not you accept that is an eternal issue. I hope you will take a hard look at Him and who he claimed to be, and what He has made available to you, and make a decision. Don’t look to Christians. We are sinful humans and sometimes we do a horrible job of representing Christ. Take it up with Him, call out to Him, see what the bible has to say. Please. If you don’t have a bible, here: http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible/