The recent legalisation of gay marriage in the U.S. has unleashed a tsunami of mixed emotions - from love and celebration to fear and confusion. This is not a blog about either. My hope is to simply bring clarity to Christians (Let me repeat - Christians!) trying to respond the way Jesus would. This is my feeble attempt at tackling an incredibly complex issue with boldness and grace. Bare with me.
1. Remember God loves all people (including gay people).
God's love is not exclusive. The Bible tells us, "for God so loved the world". I am pretty sure "the world" includes both the heterosexual and the homosexual. His love and kindness is towards every single person on planet earth regardless of their sexual orientation, their stance on gay marriage, their past or future choices, their skin colour, their moral bearing, their piercings or their tattoos (I quite happen to like them). His love is extravagant, excessive and unconditional.
2. stop expecting people who don't believe in god; to live according to his word.
If someone doesn't believe in God, why would they value His word? That just doesn't make sense. Why do we keep expecting non-Christians to behave like Christians? My goodness, sometimes Christians don't even behave that great (Myself included). Maybe it's time we stop quoting scriptures until we are blue in the face, and actually stop and listen to a person's story. Maybe we need to meet people where they are at, not where we are.
3. CHRISTIANITY has always been COUNTERCULTURAL.
From the beginning of time Christians have been holding fast to beliefs and values that the rest of the world has seen as irrelevant and even ridiculous. Christians have been marked by behaviours that do not align with world they live in - Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world."
4. stand STRONG ON HIS WORD, BUT WITH A GENTLE SPIRIT.
I see how non-believers can separate church and state. As a Christian, I however, cannot. I wholeheartedly believe His command for marriage is for one man, one wife (Genesis 1). To me, the Bible is gospel, literally (Let me reiterate, to me, a Christian). Marriage began far before governments and institutions. It was symbolised in the sexual union of man and woman, but that doesn't mean I go around condemning anyone that disagrees. Let us stand strongly on His word, but with gentleness and compassion.
5. there are no levels TO sin.
According to God's law, if you break one then you've broken them all. (James 1:10 makes that clear) In Gods eyes sin is sin. A liar is as bad as a cheat. Homosexuality holds the same weight of sin as someone who gossips or steals (I have done both). Let's stop making this the greatest of all evils and realise all sin separates us from God, all sin is destructive and we all need a Saviour to redeem our hearts and transform our actions. I do believe the repercussions of sin vary. There will be far greater consequences for someone who kills a person than someone who gets angry with their spouse. The point is not disregarding the fall out of sin, (that is very real) the point is not comparing sin and saying one is worse than another's.
6. attempt to understand, nOT DEBATE.
The more I study and explore this issue, the more I realise the great complexity of the human soul and the uniqueness of each individual's experience. I refuse to make generalisations that diminish a person to slogans and statistics. There are biological, environmental, psychological and spiritual factors that influence a person's predispositions and behaviour. The great thing is Jesus supersedes all circumstances and experiences. He (Not us) has the ability to completely redeem and transform a person's life. Imagine for a second what it would be like in their shoes. Kindness goes a long way, friend. Arguing about theology and belittling someone's behaviour is a really bad way to win people to Christ. Like seriously, no one became a Christian because they lost a Facebook debate.
7. honour marriage yourself.
When I hear people say, "homosexuality dishonours marriage" a part of me wants to gag. I am pretty sure heterosexual couples have done a fine job at eroding the bonds of holy matrimony over the years. As Christians, let us honour marriage. Let us practice what we preach. Let us stop pointing fingers and waving scriptures (It's coming off pretty crazy, guys). If we believe marriage is a sacred space, let's prove that with our actions and not just our words. Let us remain faithful to our spouse and good parents to our children.
8. find the right forum.
Sometimes a public space is not the right place to talk about private issues. Engage in conversations in the right forum. Social media is not the best platform to make blanket statements that express your fears and frustrations (I know that's a little ironic seeing as I am writing a blog about it). It is true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it to are as important as what you say (1 Timothy 1:8-11).
9. all sexuality SHOULd HAVE BOUNDARIES.
For a long time now people have been engaging in sexual relationships outside of marriage. If we aren't willing to talk about straight sex outside of marriage, why should we be talking about gay sex? To me, that seems like a bit of a double standard. I believe that all sexuality should have boundaries. Please don't get on your soap box and rant and rave about how wrong homosexuality is, but think it's ok to watch porn and sleep with the person you're dating. They are two in the same. Both are outside of God's design.
(If you want to read more about why I personally believe that sex is intended within marriage, read "I waited until my wedding night to lose my virginity").
10. acceptance VS approval.
As Christians, I believe we should fully accept a person regardless of their orientation, but that doesn't mean we have to approve of their lifestyle. There is a big difference between showing genuine kindness and affirming behaviour. Christian, beware that you do not swing too far this way in the name of love. Love covers sin, it doesn't justify it. Love does not say anything goes. It says you are made right in Jesus, not your sin is right. I personally do not endorse same sex marriage. Rick Warren articulates it so well, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’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 don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
Let me leave you with a Facebook status I read last night (Profound I know). ;)
Christian: Jesus loved and accepted all, then He asked those who loved Him to change how they live and follow Him. They joyfully did so because they found life in Him. May we follow this order, and not strive for the latter first.