It’s been a week since the Supreme Court heard two cases surrounding gay marriage. Understandably, last week was monumental for this country.
I’ve expressed my thoughts about gay marriage before (here) on this blog. Today, I want to share some thoughts on how the church can respond positively to gay marriage, as our country heads towards making it legal. The handwriting in on the wall, gay marriage will be made legal in our country – if not this year, then very soon. We live in a society that is greatly moving away from the Bible as their standard for living. So gay marriage becoming legal shouldn’t be of surprise.
Proponents for traditional marriage correctly state that marriage is a holy union between a man, a woman, and God. Since Genesis 1, God created man and woman to be unified as one flesh. Marriage is to be taken seriously, and comes with it great responsibility. It’s not something people should enter into half-heartedly, or as a means to appease a situation. Being people who fall prey to foolishness, pride, and selfish desire, however, mankind has taken God’s original blueprint for marriage and altered it to fit his needs.
Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon are all great men of the Bible. They are men of faith, conviction, wisdom, and leadership. They are also men who tried to go outside of God’s design for marriage, and failed miserably. The actions of these men, and others, do not give allowance for God’s word to be dismissed in regards to marriage being between one man and one woman. Instead, their actions give examples of what happens when we move beyond God’s will and into the land of “my will.”
Divorce is common practice anymore. Children continue to grow up in split families, going from one parent to the next weekly. It’s unhealthy for kids to live like this (I know first hand). It’s unhealthy for the parents, and for the other family members. Now, I do believe there are biblical grounds for divorce (Matthew 5:31-32). Outside of this, however, there are no biblical grounds for divorcing someone. Marriage takes work (lots of hard work). It shouldn’t be an option. Especially for Christians. Sadly, it is an option, a regularly practiced one, and one that is growing within the Christian community yearly (not to mention, men and women living together unmarried).
As I have voiced before, this is why those in favor of gay marriage ridicule the church. We are trying to “protect” something that many of us do not take seriously ourselves. I believe, when a couple says “I do” within a church community, that community responds “We do” and supports that couple with prayer, resources, help, mentors, anything and everything the couple needs. To me, this is how the church should rally behind all marriages within their community of faith. How a couple’s marriage plays out is just as, if not more, important than the day of celebration itself.
If we’re going to stand up for marriage, then let’s get serious and stand up … starting with our own first.
Imagine if protesters lined-up on your lawn, day and night, pointing out the faults of your marriage. How would you react? Say you struggle with porn, which is a major issue within many Christian households. What if the media, or the local church down the road, found out about your struggle and began showing up at your door wanting to discuss things. Everyday on the news, some Christian is telling you how you’re going to burn in hell for looking at porn; that you are ruining the foundations of marriage; that you are bringing God’s judgement upon America. How would you feel about the church? How would you feel about God?
Just maybe, the same discomfort and anger you would feel is what gays and lesbians have been feeling for decades. When’s the last time you sat down and got to know a gay couple, or a gay person? And I mean really got to know them, beyond just their name and occupation. How many of us, in the church, would be willing to invest time into a gay person’s life? How many of us would do what Dan Cathy did with those who protested against him and his beliefs?
Church, our focus needs to change. Not God’s word, or God’s standard for us, but certainly the way we’ve been “witnessing” the message of Jesus to gays and lesbians. God is about redemption, not about hate. God is about relationships, not division. God is about justice, not injustice. God is about truth and grace, not personal agendas and public policy.
Jesus entered into conversation, relationship, and meals with all types of people. If we are called to be like Jesus, shouldn’t we be doing the same? Jesus looked past the sin of the person and saw them for who they were. He spoke into them the great news of who He was. He then allowed the Spirit to work in people’s lives. Not everyone followed Jesus, and not everyone will follow Jesus. However, He faithfully invested time and love into the ones brought before Him, even the ones who would later reject Him. I can’t help but conclude, this is how the church is supposed to be with all people, especially those in the GLBT community.
Get to know gay couples. Invite them over for dinner. Invite them into your church. Treat them as people. Put away the signs and put forth your hand in friendship. This is not a call to deny the truth, but to boldly profess truth through relationships. Just like Jesus. My deepest prayer is that the church responds as it should and not as it has. We represent the image of Christ. Let us never forget this, ever.