This article is in regards to the same-sex marriage laws and the reactions in the news. I understand people want to voice their opinions, and live their "faith" by their actions and standing against wrong. Great, I commend you. But let's do it in the right way. Note: This article is not what the laws should be, and it's not about constitutional rights. I'm speaking towards how we treat people while we are speaking out.
1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient...love is kind. Note verse 5. Love doesn't dishonor others. When we refuse to serve the gay community because they don't agree with our values and actions, is that love? Is that kindness? To me it seems more like hatred, and it dishonors them. Check out verse 1-3. If we don't do it with love, we're missing the main point of why Jesus came: Love. Love for everyone, not just those like us.
2. Withholding judgement / the Golden Rule:
And, if we're going to not serve them, then in order to not be hypocritical (James 2:1-3), hateful and judgemental, then we would also have to not serve fornicators -- (about 30% of the teen population?) and adulturers -- (about 50% of the married population?). (Oops! That pretty much includes, uh, almost everybody). I know, nobody likes the verses about re-marriage and adultery. But, if we're going to refuse to serve the gay community, then in order to not discriminate, we need to refuse to serve fornicators and adulturers too. After all, why would we want to show our support for those types of people? And, if we turn the tables, we have to ask ourselves, "If we had an 'alternate lifestyle', would we want someone to dishonor us because of our lifestyle? If we keep reading, the right action is found in verse 8-10 "Love your neighbor as yourself' and verse 10 'For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it'. James 2:8-13. Verse 13 makes it clear: Mercy wins over judgement. Isn't that the biblical response. And right there in the same passage, James continues on about Rahab the prostitute in James 2:25-26. Would we refuse to serve her too?
Let's keep going. Faith without works is not faith at all. If we've received mercy, shouldn't we extend it to others?
3. Seeing Our Own Sin / Not Showing Favortism:
This same sort of thing actually happened in Jesus' time. The people who were trying to show their own righteousness, and stop the ills of society asked Jesus directly what they should do when they caught the woman in adultery John 8:1-11. I bet they thought they were being upstanding citizens. They were probably afraid their children would grow up and be "like that". Would Jesus have had a different answer if the woman was caught in a homosexual act? I don't think so! When we refuse to serve same-sex partners, aren't we throwing the first stone (or in some cases, the first piece of cake). Either way, doesn't it hurt our witness? It's so easy to point fingers. And while we're busy pointing fingers, it's easy to be blind to our own sin, especially the inward sins like arrogance and judgmentalism.
I think some are getting confused. We're not to judge those in the world, but purge the church. 1 Corinthians 9-13, not the other way around. That passage also addresses the question, "Should people with (any type of) sinful lifestyle be allowed to serve in the church?" So you see, I'm not supporting that lifestyle.
Am I saying pastors should marry same-sex couples? I can't answer that for you. We are each responsible to the Lord. But if we refuse to marry them, should we also think about refusing to marry adulturers. After all, wouldn't your actions be condoning adultery and be "helping" them sin. I'm glad you're not afraid if you're preaching against homosexuality. I commend your faith. But, are you also preaching against fornication and against adultry? I guess that takes us back to point 2, above. Scripture even includes them all in the same verse 1 Corinthians 6:9 What does God's word say? 2 Timothy 4:1-5 Aren't we to teach the "whole counsel of God?" Act 20:25-32
Let's take this further. If you were Noah, back in that time, and a gay couple wanted to board the ark before the door was shut, would you have shut the door on them and refused them access?
4. Grace and compassion
Some will rise up against this article and say I'm condoning homosexuality or the transgender agenda. No, but I remember that I am a sinner, saved by grace. I'd like to share that grace, not keep it all to myself and "people like me". I'd like to give the same message to everyone: Jesus died for sinners. So I'm not going to throw stones, or cake, or close the door on anyone. In this world Satan has a multitude of ways he influences people to do what they do. Right? Deception, making things sound good, using attractive people to influence us, ads promising acceptance or love. Maybe gays were abused as children. I'm not excusing their behavior, nor any of my sin. But, isn't love and compassion always the biblical response? I don't know who said, "Hate the sin, love the sinner", but I see that as the biblical response.
5. Being Light to a Lost World:
We know that we Christians will be hated for our faith, but let's not be hated for our sin: our discrimination, or dispising of people who have different lifestyles. 1 Peter 3:17 Let's show them God's mercy and kindness, so they want to know our great God. Jesus had compoassion for the lost lambs. Jesus would leave the 99 (Christians) to go out to find his lost lamb (the ones who don't yet know Jesus). Jesus died for the sinner, remember? Romans 5:8 Which is what we are too.
Love one another. Be salt and light, not hatred and darkness to a dying world. John 3:16 So if we have cake on our face because we didn't do what scripture tells us to do, as in James 1:22-25, we don't have to despair. Hebrews 9:14-15; 27-28 tells us how Jesus can wash it off. Ephesians 2:13, There's still hope for us too: Hebrews 4:16
I want to be very clear, I am in no way condoning or supporting gay marriage like some are doing, or gay relationships or any sexual relationship that is outside of marriage between a man and a woman. The Bible is clear on this:
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
But these sins are no more deetestable to God than other sins, even if they are to us. God looks at the heart: Proverbs 6:16-19 God hates sin, inward and outward. God hates pride. He hates hatred. He hates judgementalism. Let's look inward, not just at others' outward sins. Did I rejoice with the same-sex laws? No. I was very saddened.
6. Let's See How Jesus Treated the Lost? Did he Refuse to Serve Sinners?
Let's examine scripture and see if Jesus refused to serve sinners:
Who did Jesus hang out with so much that people accused him of basically being a party-er and glutton? Sinners.
Matthwew 11:18-19 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved right by her deeds." NIV
After Zacchaeus repented, this is what Jesus said:
Luke 19:9-10 9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." NIV
Remember the "Faith Chapter" - Y ou know the faith chapter that commends some of the "heros' of faith. It includes Rahab the prostitute. Check out verse 11.
Hebrews 11:31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. NIV
When Jesus spoke against hypocrisy to the religious leaders he spoke about serving and humility. Here's what he said:
Matthew 23:11-14 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 14 NIV
7. Who did Jesus die for?
Romans 5: 8-11 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. NIV
8. So in response to Jesus' love and grace and reconciliation:
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. NIV (See the chapter for the context).
Addendum: A popular online Bible teacher scanned the above article. His response was, "I agree with most of what you say, but you don't understand that "they" have an agenda (referring to the transgender agenda). I didn't, at the time. But my response would've still been:
So, does their agenda invalidate God's word? Does that mean we then throw out God's word and react according to our own "righteous anger"? No, God's word still stands. God's agenda is bigger than anyone else's agenda. He wins the battle in the end. And, those on his side will win too. Revelation 19:11-21. Just make sure your agenda is winning as many as possible to the Lord Jesus, not shutting the door in their face. Remember where you once were:
Ephesians 2:1-5 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. ... 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. NIV
And remember the parable of the Good Samaritan? That hurting one laying on the side of the road could easily be interpreted as the ones Satan comes to destroy spiritually to follow after him, not just people who have physical or financial needs. The transgenders and gays are your neighbors too. Read about the mercy Jesus asked to have on them in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-38
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