GOD reigns over the nations. GOD sits on His holy throne.
This has been a tumultuous week on the political scene putting the limelight on the virulent debate over homosexuality, gay rights, same-sex marriage, traditional Christian values and whether or not the Supreme Court decision actually spells trouble for religious freedoms in this country. Some say it’s a ridiculous charge since the First Amendment grants freedom of religion, while others point to the prosecutions and social ostracization of pastors and wedding service providers that is already happening as evidence of the erosion of such freedoms as just the tip of the iceberg. This post is not about blasting one side or the other, regardless of my personal feelings and beliefs. Nonetheless, I find much truth in the statements going around that disagreement does not have to mean hate and judgement:
That statement is equal opportunity for BOTH sides of this debate. Christians do not need to compromise their faith to relate to the LGBT community in love. In fact, Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). He Himself shocked and the religious aristocracy of His time by freely associating with and dining with the “sinners” of that day. He touched the “unclean” and reached out to the fringe elements of that society without a single word of condemnation or hellfire and damnation. No heavy handed, holier-than-thou “come to Jesus” meetings. Just love and acceptance and they came to Him in droves to get what they had certainly never received anywhere else in their culture. So even if you are of the mind that homosexuality and gay marriage are sins, if you are following in the footsteps of your Master, your response, regardless of whether you approve of their actions, is to share the same love He showed you when you brought your brokenness and hurt to the foot of the Cross. As has been said, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
On the other side, the LGBT community and same-sex marriage/gay rights’ advocates, do not need to compromise their beliefs that there is nothing inherently wrong in their lifestyle and they deserve the same rights as heterosexual couples to relate with conservative Christians in love. I have seen it said that all you want is love, respect and acceptance for who you are. That is understandable. It is a basic human need to be loved and accepted. Nonethless, you cannot achieve this goal at the point of a sword, so to speak. When you automatically assume that “conservative” or “Christian” means “hateful, judgemental hypocrite,” you are engaging in the same type of labeling and stereotyping that you do not want placed on you.
So, for both sides, when you adopt a militantly offensive posture and start shooting venomous accusations at anyone who gives even the slightest hint of perhaps not agreeing with you 100 percent or testing everyone you meet just to see if you can provoke a so-called “anti-gay” or “anti-Christian” reaction or catch them in a misstep or mispoken word just to prove your point and justify your antagonism, you are not going to find that it stimulates a warm, fuzzy response. No one is at their best when they feel attacked. When you deliberately bait someone (individual or business) whom you know probably disagrees with you just so you can provoke a legal action against them, you are not practicing the kind of love and compassion that you want to receive. Every school child has probably heard at some point, “If you want a friend, be a friend.” That applies even if there are deep ideological differences between two people. You may not win them over to your exact ideology, but you can learn to respect and care for one another in spite of those differences. After all, you are both still human beings. As the old adage goes, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
At the end of all the arguments, when all the celebrations and rainbows go away, and the courts move onto other issues, the important thing to remember is that God has not abdicated. He is still on His throne. He is the same “yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and He will settle all accounts in His own time. He will decide who is right and wrong and to what degree on all the theological points over which men love to argue and debate and divide. I daresay that when that day comes, He will be much more concerned with the quantity and quality of love a person has carried in his or her heart, both for God and for his or her fellow man. So it is better to err on the side of love, albeit without feeling the pressure to conform or participate in, condone or enable lifestyles that directly contradict your beliefs, but loving the person instead. Honestly, when our actions are informed more by love than our man-made political/religious agendas and we allow others to act according to the dictates of their conscience in personal and business life, the whole debate over religious freedom violations will go away. We can get back to the business of just loving our neighbors, whether we agree with their politics or religion or not.
Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I am not ashamed for I know in Whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12