Did you click on the title of this post hoping for everything to suddenly make sense? That you would finally know exactly what God thinks about gay marriage and how you should culturally live that out? I understand the desire. Just so we are clear, you won’t get that from this post. But keep reading.
I’ve watched recently as social media has been flooded with opinionsÂ aboutÂ gay marriage. I’ve had numerous people ask me to weigh in on the issue. Truthfully, I’m not sure what to say. Not because I don’t have opinions but because I don’t know what is healthy and productive and what is destructive. Jesus didn’t answer many questions He was asked. I’ve taken a cue from Him and tried to be selective with the opinions I carry.
So I’m not ready to fully dive into the topic myself quite yet. I’m still praying for wisdom and discernment in navigating the complexities and the implications of this topic. Like I mentioned in my post about Obama and the end times, I think issues like this one are fueled by fear (especially from Christians). That isn’t a healthy environment to find your stance. The Church has survived cultures that have included far more extreme behaviors than gay marriage and it did just fine. So relax.
This morning I was reflecting on a passage in the Bible where Luke tells of a “sinful” woman who cries on Jesus’ feet, wipes them with her hair, and thenÂ anointsÂ his feet with perfume. It is absolutely insulting to the religious people watching. I’m convinced that the heart of this issue is whether a gay person could love Jesus like that. Many of them want nothing to do with Jesus (or His Christians). I know many others do and yet it creates the same reaction in the Church today that Jesus saw with this woman.
So here are some interesting things I’ve read about the issue that I’m thinking and praying through. I invite you to do the same.
Let’s begin with a quote I’m sure you’ve probably seen floating around the web in one form or another from Rick Warren.
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someoneâ€™s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You donâ€™t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.â€
I read a great article about the parallel of gay marriage as a civil rights issue from Pastor Voddie Baucham. This was the guy who preached the sermon that single-handedly caused me to hear from God about having more kids. Here is the article where he again shines with wisdom. Here are some of the points that stand out:
Hence, it seems same-sex attraction alone isn’t enough to identify a person as a homosexual. And what about LUGS in college, or same-sex relationships in prison? Are these people homosexual? How about men who are extremely effeminate but prefer women, or those who once were practicing homosexuals but have since come out of the lifestyle (i.e., 1 Cor. 6:9-11)? In short, it’s impossible to identify who is or is not a homosexual. As a result, how do we know to whom the civil rights in question should be attributed? Should a man who isn’t a homosexual (assuming we could determine such a thing) but tries to enter a same-sex union be treated the same as a woman who isn’t Native American but tries to claim it to win sympathy, or casino rights, or votes?
It should be noted that the right to marry is one of the most frequently denied rights we have. People who are already married, 12-year-olds, and people who are too closely related are just a few categories of people routinely and/or categorically denied the right to marry. Hence, the charge that it is wrong to deny any person a “fundamental right” rings hollow. There has always been, and, by necessity, will always be discrimination in marriage laws.
For example, following this line of reasoning, one could argue, “I have the right to join the military, but I am a pacifist. Therefore, I don’t really have the right (since it would be repulsive to me). Therefore, we need to establish a pacifist branch of the military so that I can fulfill both my desire to join, and my desire not to fight.”
Or this post from Phil Eubank:
Gay people donâ€™t need heterosexuality to meet Jesus; they need Jesus for life change. In the same way we donâ€™t have right standing with God because we are heterosexual, we have it because we are â€˜in Christ.â€™
I believe that God will work this out and that the church doesnâ€™t need to worry (because weâ€™re told not to worry â€“ Phil.4) about what the Supreme Court chooses (although we should be praying for them -Rom.13), we should be the church and share the Gospel, including the hard parts of Godâ€™s Word. When it hurts us with conviction we need to be honest and not play games with our sin because when we donâ€™t take our sin seriously we are judgmental to the world (which isnâ€™t the appropriate direction for judgment from us) we are seen as hypocritical and disingenuous.
Or this post from a guy named Greg:
Many conservative voices are stating that a Supreme Court ruling in support of gay marriage will â€œdestroy traditional marriage.â€ Really? How can that be? See, somewhere along the line we lost sight of the fact that GOD defines Christian marriage, not the government. Marriage licenses in America are nothing more than an acknowledgement of a civil union of two people. If GOD defines Christian marriage, then guess what? SCOTUS, POTUS, and all the other USes canâ€™t redefine it. The problem is, the Church has lost sight of the fact that IT is the agency on earth that acknowledges the unity of one man and one woman in HOLY matrimony. Those who claim a favorable ruling for gay marriage will destroy â€traditional marriageâ€ have just given that power to the Stateâ€“the State doesnâ€™t have it unless the Church abdicates it.
Instead of trying to make followers of God by creating laws that legislate morality and virtuous behavior (sound a little bit like the religious leaders of Jesusâ€™ day?), letâ€™s take the radical, revolutionary approach modeled by Jesus: Unconditionally love ALL mankind!
In the next few days, the Supreme Court is going to rule on two landmark cases which may redefine what secular government defines as marriage. No matter which way they rule, the Kingdom of God is still at hand, God is still on the throne, and NOTHING that he defines can be harmed in the least bit by any earthly government. So what the heck are us Christians all tweaked about? Letâ€™s get about the business of shining our light, and pouring out Godâ€™s GRACE through us onto mankind, rather than dispensing our judgment.
Yes, I believe that the Bible speaks clearly into this topic and it isn’t a new issue for our times only. If you read through history, you see that homosexuality has been equally as prevalentÂ sinceÂ long before Biblical times. Yes, I believe that historically many Christians have done a terrible job of communicating it. Yes, fear is driving much of the animosity from both sides.
But most of all, I believe we must be willing to communicate openly without name-calling and hate from either side. Love demands a different level of investment. One where we put aside things that make us uncomfortable if it means the chance to speak grace and truth into someone’s life. One where we avoid villainizingÂ people who disagree with us. This debate isn’t going away and won’t be wrapped up with a bow anytime soon. We all need the Gospel.