Responding Positively to Gay Marriage.

gay-marriage

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.

“I do”

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.

Refocus

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.

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7 responses to “Responding Positively to Gay Marriage.

  1. Love, love, love! I whole-heartedly agree and once again you put it so eloquently. I just said the exact same thing to FB friend, ‘what if other Christians began highlighting your sin (any sin, not just in marriage) and calling you sick? The truth is we all sin. The truth is grace is open to all of us, even before we recognize our sin as sin. Grace is waiting, knocking on our hearts to let it in. We are meant to be the gentle hand knocking on others’ hearts for the Lord, not pounding them down in fear and hatred.

  2. Well said!

    It’s unfortunate that so many people are obsessed with homosexuality and see any Christlike gesture of love such as you suggest as implicit approval of homosexual behavior.

    I do have one quibble, however, and that is with respect to our acceptance of divorce. It’s true that this acceptance is contrary to the teaching of the Gospels, but it’s still a different issue. The fact that one fails to uphold (interprets differently) the teaching on the permanence of marriage should not, IMO, disqualify one from upholding other teachings.

  3. The laws that govern a nation do not create a culture; they are a reflection of it. As a follower of Christ I am first and foremost concerned about the condition of my own heart. The Law found in scripture makes me painfully aware of the darkness of my own sin and the separation from God that it creates. However, also there, is the good news of Jesus’ redeeming work, which provides the grace and mercy necessary to have peace and hope for the tomorrows of this life and the one to come. At the same time, I am also concerned with the spiritual climate surrounding me. Individuals can’t help but be impacted by the influences, positive and negative, found in the culture of which they are a part. Because of that, it is important to engage the culture with the Christian worldview.
    The Church’s history of accommodation and acceptance of whatever the moral issue of the day has not made it a more relevant, vibrant voice in the culture. Quite the contrary; its voice has been muted and today it is almost completely ignored. Our current laws reflect a nation morally adrift with only the voice of the majority determining what the truth of the day will be. As the Church takes an understanding and caring posture on life choices like divorce, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and sexual relations outside of marriage it continues to find itself being moved by the culture; not the other way around. The Church has become undistinguishable from the rest of the culture. When the Church is unsuccessfully dealing in the same manner, with the same issues, to the same degree, as those who do not follow Christ, then I have to consider the approach to how these issues are being dealt with to be flawed and ineffective. Christ may have dined with the sinners, but he didn’t leave them guessing as to where he stood on the sin that was in their lives. This was true for individuals both inside and outside the religious establishment of his day.
    The reason the Church’s voice is being heard more clearly and sometimes more loudly today in this cultural debate is not because it enjoys picking on the gay community, or that it is the only way it knows how to respond. There was a day when little needed to be said because the culture, by and large, viewed homosexuality the same way as the Church. That is no longer the case as the demands for homosexual equality and acceptance have increased. Along with and because of those demands the cultural norm as shifted. The Church has rightly responded with the truth. It is not right. It is sin. In current contrast, there isn’t a lot of public discussion or debate regarding other sexual practices like bestiality or pedophilia. There doesn’t have to be. For the vast majority of the culture, individuals who partake in these activities are considered to be functioning outside the bounds of normal behavior. For those inside the Church it would be considered sin. When the winds of change begin to blow through the culture with these lifestyle choices, the Church will be right to respond with the truth and in a way previously not required because the cultural norms didn’t require it.
    What I am discovering with gay individuals in my own extended family is that as long as I hold to the truth of homosexuality being a sin, then I am the one being rejected. Without having to say a word, I remind them of what their conscience continues to already know. So they make choices that create separation and I am left trying to figure out how to bridge the gap.
    I am a sinner in daily need of forgiveness. Nothing I do or don’t do assures me of having a right relationship with the God of this world. Only through faith in what Christ has done can any of us be made right. I believe your article is calling me to compromise the clear teaching of scripture. To that end I respectively say no thank you. My prayer is the church will retain what little salt and light it has left. The culture will be better for it.

    • Hi Michael – thanks for commenting. I’m sorry you feel that I am asking you to compromise scripture, but that is the exact opposite of what I’ve stated in this post. We need to uphold God’s word, no doubt. In fact, we need to uphold all of God’s word, not just the parts we like. As much attention we’ve given to the issue of gay marriage, we need to give to all marriages – especially our own and those within our faith communities. Protesting the gay community doesn’t work; therefore, we need to start building relationships with them and be a presence of Christ to them. These are all biblical things, following in the foot steps of Jesus. Not sure how I’m calling you to compromise scripture?

  4. It just sucks because gay people didn’t chose to be gay and they’re expected to go against what is natural to them. Something straight people simply cannot empathize or understand.

    My relationship with God has been volatile, but through time I’ve found he has a rapacious need for me to follow him. I’ve been called often, by my mother, a “baby christian.” I feel my interpretation of God’s will and virtue are liberal and not mainstreamed. Finally allowing myself to see God this way, as my true father, has led me to be closer to him than ever before. This is the whole point in my opinion; finding undeniable love.

    Gays need not change who they are – and I know you have not stated that they must – however as an objective reader I am wondering what you’re underlying desire is here. Christians should be more accepting to witness to LGBT people (L is supposed to come first), get them to attend church, and then what? Break up their marriage? I think the Christian people have come a long way in tolerance, but now they must transition to acceptance. People will quote the bible here, which I feel is highly unfair. Again I have a unique understanding of God. The bible, is a guide – not law. This is probably why so many interpretations of the bible exist.

    It’s a shame that gay marriage is considered a piece of, “a society that is greatly moving away from the Bible as their standard for living.” This interpretation immediately puts a black cloud above gay monogamous relationships that wish to participate in organized religion. Who wants to be considered this way? It is perhaps the greatest offense when a gay person meets awesome Christian people who are great friends when later they confess they do not “agree” with our “lifestyle.” If anything, this type of witnessing is most damaging. It shows gays they cannot trust Christian people. Gay people need true support and that is something most churches simply cannot provide at this time. Gay people have existed forever. In earlier times coming out meant social shun (which still sometimes happens) or death. In the western hemisphere the philosophy of ‘the self’ has led others to welcome diversity and has created an eagerness to share one’s self. The gay population has not “grown” or become an “epidemic,” we’ve just begun to come out. The population of LGBT peoples has and always will be consistent. God has created a wonderful world for us to experience. Instead of criticizing it or trying to change or understand it, let’s celebrate it. We’re not supposed to understand God’s plan, we’re not supposed to tell people how God wants them to live their lives, and we aren’t supposed to criticize, so what are we doing?

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