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Christian Reality in a Tolerant World

July 16th 2015 1 comment so far  

supreme-court-546279_1920-2-600x391Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling that will change the landscape of Christianity in America permanently. In a 5-4 ruling, gay marriage is now legal nationwide.

A long legal slog through the court of appeals and states pushing back is still to come, but the damage is done. The hope of Christians “putting God back in the government” or reverting the United States to a majority Christian nation again is dead. Our new reality is that we are quickly becoming a minority in our country. Maybe we already are, and I’m too naïve to realize it.

Up to this point, I’ve been able to cruise through life as a Christian without looking too different from the majority, and I suspect many of you identify with that. That isn’t going to fly anymore. There will be pressure on the church from outside to water down our beliefs, or adjust them entirely. You will feel social pressure, sometimes from other Christians, to go with the flow and accept the new norm. This is a battle for someone’s rights, they will tell you, why are you trying to oppress someone?

You are going to be called a bigot. You are going to be called intolerant. You will be painted as a socially backward religious nut job full of hate. You will be told you are on the wrong side of history, grouped with those who opposed civil rights and women’s suffrage. Are you willing to endure this, or potentially much worse, for your beliefs? Or will you accept the new normal and compromise your beliefs to avoid it?

If you are a Christian, homosexuality is a sin. Just like adultery, anger, murder, lying, or whenever a cuss word slips out of my mouth. They are all transgressions against God. However, God loves you and me, just as He loves those who struggle with or are consumed by a homosexual lifestyle. God loves those who have joined ISIS. God loves Dzokhar Tsarnaev. God loved Paul when he was hunting down Christians. God’s love goes beyond what we on Earth understand. We have all fallen short, but He loves every single one of us anyway, including homosexuals.

I heard an opinion recently that “if we want all Christians to be heterosexual, that’s going to complicate things.” I’m not naïve enough to believe that all Christians have purely heterosexual feelings. I’m also not naïve enough to believe that all Christian males avoid pornography. You don’t choose to feel a feeling. I understand that.

What makes a Christian different is that we don’t let our feelings define who we are. Instead, we reject our humanity to follow God. We don’t accept certain facets of our sin nature and expect the Word of God to adjust to it. We strive to be different, to be holy. A homosexual lifestyle—or acceptance of it—and Christianity cannot exist in the same heart.

How do we apply this to our everyday lives? What do we do when confronted with a neighbor or even a relative that has adopted this lifestyle? For some biblical perspective, let’s take a look at Mark 2:13-17.

13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

The first thing we need to glean from this is Jesus didn’t limit his search for followers to inside church walls. He engaged someone most people wouldn’t be caught dead talking to. He not only talked to Levi, but invited him to become a follower. We shouldn’t limit our ministry to people already agreeing with us. To be effective, you have to go where others won’t. That’s the only way the Kingdom will grow.

Second, Jesus says He came to call “not those who are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” To reach sinners, we must first come to terms with our own sin nature. We are not above those who struggle with homosexuality. Each of us has a sin that tempts us more than others. I’ll have a beer with dinner every now and again; it’s never been a source of major temptation for me. It doesn’t mean I’m better than Josh Hamilton, who probably shouldn’t go into a wet county by himself.

With that said, should you lie down and concede to this new norm? Should you attend gay weddings in full support? Be pleased that children are going to be raised in these households? No, you shouldn’t. Now, what does actually standing up for your beliefs in this situation look like? I honestly have no idea. In fact if any of you have an all-encompassing answer that I could use, I would love to have it so I know what to do.

If I could give you one, definite line in the sand on this issue, it would be this: Are you willing to stick to the Word of God and face the consequences? Or will you adjust what you believe to avoid being called a bigot?



    Chicago Land July 18th at 3:41 am  

    I work in a situation where I am most likely the only evangelical, the only person who would vote on certain sides of an issue. The “new norm”? For me, that’s pretty much been most of my life. If my high school graduating class were gathered for a reunion, I suspect I’d (still) be on a different wavelength than most of the others. It was that way in college as well. I expect that in any given environment, the majority –and depending on the environment, it could be everyone in that environment– could be different than I am. This is where Christians are needed. Christians are needed to be the type of people who, day-in, day-out, go about quietly living a life that is just a little bit distinctive to others around them. But to do that, the Christian must feed him/herself a very different “diet” of the soul/mind than everyone else. The difference may not lie so much in what we do or say or don’t do or say so much as the difference in our “daily diet.” There’s not much out there behind comedians making jokes, video games, new gadgets, comic books, the latest fads.

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