The Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states this week leading to a mixture of responses and heated discussions – my wife and I included. As missionaries on the other side of the planet we can’t help but think of the missiological implications, “How will this affect the faith and witness of Christians in the U.S.?” Our prayer is that God would be glorified as people respond in healthy ways. Here are 4 responses we can have as followers of Christ:
1. Stop Hating: These are people, not our enemies. They are broken human beings created in the image of God just like you and I. Our hate is not with words, pitchforks or signs (most of us aren’t like that at all), but it’s indifference that leads to unfounded fears, animosities and hidden prejudices. We categorize the LGBT community as if they were the only group in the world who stand in direct opposition to Biblical values – mostly because many of us live in a very small and geocentric world called the United States.
My family and I live in a very big world and it includes murderers and ex-convicts but we don’t hate them. It also includes animists who worship spirits and sacrifice animals but we don’t hate them. It includes communists who put Christians in jail and terrorists who execute entire families but we don’t hate them. More than 3 billion people on this planet are completely lost, separated from God, held captive by sin and considered HIS enemies…but we don’t hate them.
Almighty God is the only one who can deal justly with HIS enemies. One day all of us will have to account for our sin; the sin we blatantly committed, the sin we didn’t recognize as sin and the sins we declared right and approved by Him. God is the only one who can judge and He is the only who can provide grace and forgiveness. God’s response to His enemies was to love them by sending His perfect Son to die for their sins.
2. Stop Crying: Many of us feel betrayed or even personally attacked. Many people who claim to follow Jesus have already responded with disdain, disgust and even depression. We have not taken the time to dig deep and evaluate the motives of our hearts. Have we asked ourselves “Why do we feel the way we do?” If the answer has to do with country, freedom, liberty, personal rights or ethics, then you are probably not a true disciple of Jesus.
The reasons listed above are self-serving and don’t characterize someone who follows Jesus. Jesus did not command us to die for our country, he commanded us to die to our sin, take up our cross and follow him. The disciples did not cry or complain about circumstances outside their control but rejoiced after getting beat down “because they had been counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5:41) I am not saying we should celebrate evil or difficult circumstances but we should see it as an opportunity to bring God glory by having a counter cultural response – just like the disciples.
In the country we work in, we have local Christian friends who spent over a year in prison for helping a dying woman. Our friends were praying for a new believer who was terminally ill. On the ride home from the hospital she died in their care. District authorities tried to charge the Christians with murder which was dropped. Instead they charged them with “medical malpractice” because their crime was prayer. That is betrayal. That is true injustice. That is something worth rejoicing over.
3. Start Loving: Obama’s hashtag #LoveWins is trending as number one on Twitter this week. The White House is the least qualified in the universe to define love. President Obama’s definition of love is self-serving. It says that we have the right to seek our own happiness. It says that we can marry whomever we want to fulfill our personal desires. It says that we can do whatever we want, sleep with anyone we want and smoke whatever we want to meet our needs for self-worth. The world wants us to believe that love is about us.
God is the only one in the universe qualified to define marriage and love. God’s definition of love is self-sacrifice. He says that we are utterly helpless and can’t find love to fill our brokenness. He says that love can only be found in right relationship with Him. He says that he loved us so much that he sent his only Son to live with us, die for us and rise again from the grave to empower us. He says that through repentance and surrender we can live in freedom from sin and love others. God wants us to know that love is about Him.
Those who gripe the most about social issues are generally the ones who do the least to love their neighbors. God doesn’t care about your blogs, hashtags or rants on Facebook. He wants you to sacrificially give your lives to Him and His agenda. He wants you to sacrificially love people of all walks of life, languages and nations…starting with your neighbors.
4. Start Living: The Gospel is literally “Good News”, and you can’t have good news without bad news. The bad news is that we suck as human beings. The good news is that God has provided a way through Jesus. This message has withstood opposition for 2,000 years and continues to penetrate every corner of the earth – especially in very difficult places outside the US where persecution is an everyday reality.
God uses his people to live out this message. We don’t need policy changes in our government. We don’t need to vote for more Christians in office. We don’t need to fight for our individual rights and liberties. We need to die to our own individual rights and liberties for the sake of Christ. We need to rejoice in opposition, pray for those in government and have compassion for the lost. We need people to start living out the Gospel both in word and in deed. The Supreme Court ruling is just another opportunity to live out our faith in love and truth. It is an opportunity to step outside our comfort zones and talk about sexuality, confess sin, show grace and share the transforming message of the Gospel.