Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few days, you’ve heard that on Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 5-4 split decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Of course, most Christians were not surprised by the decision. The cultural tide on the issue of homosexuality turned many years ago.
The confusion for conservative Christians who affirm traditional marriage (one man+one woman) is not centered on how this has happened, but on what our response should be.
In that light may I offer a few suggestions:
1. We must continue to speak out on what we are FOR and not just what we are against.
Whenever we feel that society is moving in the wrong direction, it’s tempting to curse the darkness rather than turn on the light. We must resist the temptation to harp on everything we think is wrong instead of holding up the banner of truth.
The fact is, it really doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court’s ruling was. Truth is non-negotiable. If the high court were to outlaw Christianity, I would continue to “obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).
It is critical that we continue to share God’s ruling on marriage: One man with one woman for life.
As followers of Jesus, we must decide who has the final word in our convictions – culture or Christ?
I choose Christ.
2. We must continue to distinguish between what a person does and who a person is.
Perhaps the saddest part of this is how often people confuse this issue with identity. If God is right, and I believe He is, then homosexuality is a sin, not a state of being; as is adultery, lying, cheating, drunkenness, and stealing (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
The good news is that the blood of Jesus Christ is an equal opportunity cleanser. We are ALL sinners saved by grace. None of us deserve heaven. Therefore, we must never treat anyone as less deserving of God’s grace and mercy. There is no sin too far that His grace cannot reach.
No one–heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transgender–is unloved by God.
We are all equally loved by Christ and we must treat every person with dignity and respect.
3. We must expect to be misunderstood, misquoted, and misrepresented.
There are really only two positions a Christian can take on this issue: agree with the culture and be liked or agree with God and be vilified. It’s incredibly unfair and frankly intolerant, but that’s how this plays out.
If you decide to take the position that homosexuality, and thus gay marriage is wrong, then same-sex marriage advocates will often assume the worst. They will equivocate your conviction with intolerance and hatred.
As Rick Warren has so aptly stated, “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.”
This is a tension you will have to live with or like so many, you can simply cave in or clam up.
4. We must remember that dark times in the culture are bright opportunities for the gospel.
We must not be surprised that our culture is drifting further and further from its Judeo-Christian heritage. I expect far more divisive decisions and trends in our future.
However, this is exactly the cultural environment that the gospel was born in!
As the culture grows darker our witness should grow stronger and God’s glory will shine brighter.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Let’s continue to shine the love and truth of Jesus Christ to a lost and broken world.