When talking with people about the recent US Supreme Court ruling regarding gay marriage, I have found a range of emotions and responses. Some people are angry, while some seem to be numb. Others seem resigned to agree with whatever our government decrees.
How should I respond if someone close to me is personally involved in this situation? Does the presence or absence of a relationship with someone who struggles with gender issues affect my thinking?
Here’s some interesting data from a recent Lifeway Research project:
It seems that, for many people, personally knowing someone who is gay changes what we think and how we respond to the topic.
More “heat” than “light?”
My friend Rebekah Mathis-Stump, who is a gifted attorney and a wonderful Christian influence in the world at large, recently posted this on Facebook:
“As a person of faith and a lawyer, the two most disturbing thoughts I have seen posted by other believers in the discussions related to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on marriage are these:
- Now that the Supreme Court has said gay marriage is legal, I will accept them.
- Now that the Supreme Court has said gay marriage is legal, I will speak out against it vehemently.
Here’s why both of those concepts bother me…as people of faith, regardless of which side of the discussion we stand, I believe we have a higher authority than law and if we believe that authority calls us to action, then we should act.
The two comments above lead me to think some believers (on both sides of the issue) have waited on the law to set their moral compass to true north. As much as I love the law and have tremendous respect for those who create it and enforce it, and especially the Supreme Court, which has to analyze serious legal questions in the face of vastly differing personal opinions and even legal precedents set across the nation, I believe waiting on the law to be our moral compass is like waiting on the coroner to diagnose our health concerns.” (Emphasis mine – RJ)
Dr. Cecil May, Jr. would sometimes say regarding controversial topics, “Some people generate more heat than light on this subject . . .” It seems to me that the response to the Supreme Court’s ruling fits into this category.
Here are some of my thoughts from a personal, Christian father’s perspective:
- If one of my kids is gay, we won’t hide it.
I try to live my life as an open book. You can see my calendar and my bank statement. You have my permission to see any room and open any door if you visit my house. I won’t act like I’m ashamed of them by using vague language, and whatever struggles they face, including sexual ones, we’ll face openly together as a family.
- If one of my kids is gay, I’ll pray for them.
I’ll ask God to help them live a Godly life in spite of the tendency/temptation, just like I do for alcoholic and drug addict friends of mine. I’ll ask God to help them wisely discern the difference between what is “temptation” and what is actually “sin.” I’ll pray that God will protect them from those who will despise them and wish them harm. And, I’ll pray that their struggles and the hurtful reactions of others won’t blind them to the love God has for them.
- If one of my kids is gay, I’ll love them deeply.
No matter what, they are mine! Whatever their shortcomings, failures, pains or disappointments, I want them to be touched deeply by my love, care and support. I will openly and lavishly show them my love in any way I can.
Here are some of my thoughts from a public, Christian minister’s perspective:
- God’s people have ALWAYS had different views and norms from the world at large.
It does seem to be true that we are living through a HUGE cultural shift in values from even just a few years ago. So what? It has always been that way for serious members of God’s family.
- Non-Christians have ALWAYS lived in opposition to Biblical teaching.
Even some inside the church do so, it’s just that the “sin” being considered might be more or less culturally accepted by other believers. As Jim Cymbala (Brooklyn Tabernacle, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire) recently said, “Why do sinners sin? Because they are sinners! Why are we surprised by that, when we ourselves, who are no longer known as ‘sinners’ still sin?”
- Sex outside of traditional marriage has been a way of life for a LONG time, yes even for people inside of the church.
Very few single people totally surrender their sexuality as they follow Christ, not to mention married people who struggle with lust, porn, disrespect, etc. Gay sex and gay marriage isn’t part of God’s design, but neither are these other types of things.
- First century Christians didn’t expect moral guidance from their government.
Jesus’ ministry didn’t include demands that the government change its laws. Paul asked governmental agents to allow Jesus to change them personally, but he didn’t ask them to change civic laws either. Paul and Jesus looked to God instead of looking to the government for help.
- Being harsh, demanding and judgmental with LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning) people is a huge mistake.
— God loves them so much He sent His only Son to represent Himself to them.
— Jesus loves them so much he died for them.
— Jesus said that we receive the same type of judgment that we show to others.
— Paul told the Corinthians not to judge people outside the church.
— Paul reminded the Romans that we were not saved by good works but by grace.
I am not saying that it doesn’t matter how people live their lives. Neither am I saying that Christians should totally abandon their beliefs. What I am saying is that representing Christ, as an ambassador in this fallen world, requires more than just holding the right beliefs.
So, relax and remember — you were saved by grace. But remember this too — your sins are no less terrible than those of other people.
We should extend the same kind of love that we were shown, especially with people we disagree with.
Facebook Post — Rebekah Mathis-Stump, June 27 at 9:53am
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