Saturday, May 12, 2012

Copied in full from Ridley Baron Ministries

I’ve watched with great interest the conversations that have been going on via Facebook, Twitter, and even the news. Obviously, two major events have occurred lately as they relate to the issue of homosexual marriage in our country. First, North Carolina joined some other states in voting for an amendment saying that marriage is between a man and a woman. Then, closely on the heels of that announcement, President Obama became the first sitting president to openly endorse the “right” of homosexuals to be married. Immediately the airwaves and the internet were filled with debate. The words became heated. The division grew wider between those who support and those who oppose homosexual marriage. I’ve held off for a little while on sharing my thoughts simply because I wasn’t sure that I was ready to share. I also wanted to see if other, wiser men and women, could stir my thoughts. They have. But so have others who, quite frankly, are willing to twist words and facts to make whatever their opinion is to be the only one that matters. Most people are not as interested in having a conversation as they are in being right.
So let me just share my thoughts in no particular order. I don’t know that they will sway anyone’s opinion nor do I really think that’s my purpose here. I simply felt a need to share these thoughts for others who are listening to the ongoing debate.
First, let’s understand what love is. I read Facebook (FB) today as one young man said  that because Jesus loved everyone we should too and that means we should leave everyone alone and let them do what they choose. This is a misunderstanding. You see love is not an overall acceptance of everything that someone else does. If it were, every mom and dad who has ever lovingly disciplined their child for wrong behavior would have to go back and apologize. More important, Jesus would have to apologize to a prostitute (whom He loved by the way) for telling her in John 8:11 to “go and sin no more.” Modern translation: “I love you but your sinful lifestyle isn’t acceptable and you need to leave that lifestyle.” He would also have to apologize to the rich, young man (whom He also loved) because He told him in Matthew 19:21 to go and sell all that he had and give it to the poor. Modern translation: “I love you but your values system is messed up and there are more important things than your wealth.”
N0, love is the very reason that I am compelled to speak up when my children misbehave, when a friend is making poor choices or our country has lost its direction on a particular issue. I–along with every other person who has ever truly loved someone–must feel compelled to speak up to save those we love from what we believe are poor choices.
Second thought…while my views on homosexuality may not line up with yours, I truly do my best to honor God by loving everyone. I love those who don’t vote like me, don’t worship like me, don’t act like me or don’t dress like me. Just because I don’t agree with them does not mean that I don’t love them (besides, if that’s true, why isn’t anyone talking to them about loving me? It goes both ways).
Thirdly, I’m confused by this question of “homosexual marriage.” Why do we have to “redefine” marriage? Isn’t that like looking at a mountain and insisting that we call it a river? Throughout the course of history, marriage has been defined as being between a man and a woman. The reason that is the case is because the first marriage was ordained by God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:21-24) and it was “defined” then as being between a woman and a man. If homosexuals want a partnership, let them call it what they want. Call it unions, call it partnerships, call them durable arrangements. I don’t care. But don’t call it marriage because its not…just like a mountain is not a river. I know that much of this debate centers on the question of tax and other benefits. I don’t care one inch about those benefits. You can have them because the way the government is moving backward on us, we’ll all be losing those benefits shortly any way.
Let me be clear. I do not think that homosexuality honors God. I don’t think it’s the right choice for any man or woman. I also don’t think its the biggest problem the Church is facing. It receives an inordinate amount of attention from us. In fact, just after the passage of Scripture where Paul talks about homosexuality being against God’s plan for humanity (Romans 1:26-27), he also lists the following wrong sins that plague humans: wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, God-hating, insolent, arrogant and boastful. Not only are these problems far more prevalent, they are found far too frequently among the ones who are called to living differently in this world…the Christ-followers.
Maybe if Christ followers did less gossiping, envied each other less, encouraged each other more and learned what true love was really all about, those walking down paths that do not honor God would feel more compelled to find out why we are the way we are. Maybe they would be drawn to Christ rather than repelled from what we do.
One last thought. I’m really frustrated by how this word judgment gets tossed around so easily. First of all, determining if someone is doing right or wrong is not judgment. If that was what God was talking about when He said do not judge, then He would have no leg to stand on when we did something wrong. We could say we simply refused to judge. Judging is something that goes deeper, more eternal than watching as someone harms someone else and deciding its wrong. None of us would watch a grown man steal food from a starving child and hesitate to “judge” that his behavior was abhorrent. I also get bothered when those pointing fingers at the church tell us not “to judge”–quoting Scripture from a Bible they choose not to believe otherwise. You can’t pick and choose when you follow the Bible. That’s not an option. The same Bible that says “be careful how you judge” is also the one that says” Be holy as HE (God) is holy.” The last time I checked we all–every single one of us–have miles to go before we can say we’ve accomplished that one.