With last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage throughout the United States, the social media and blog world have been blowing up non-stop over the last week.
I very rarely address political issues on my blog, and I was not planning on writing anything on this topic. But this past Sunday while in worship and prayer, I felt like the Holy Spirit gave me a prompting to write, and an outline for an article. (That is not to say that everything that follows is a “thus saith the Lord”).
How should we as Christians respond to the gay marriage ruling? I have seen all kinds of reactions and have been processing this over the last few days. What I want to address is the ways that we should NOT respond.
Some are reacting with fleshly anger at the gay marriage ruling. I understand that believers are grieved by this decision for multiple reasons. Barack Obama stood before the Christian community in April of 2008 and made the following statement:
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” (More about Obama’s “evolving” view here)
Once his second term was secured he began to show his “true colors” on the topic, culminating with the White House being lit up with the gay pride rainbow on the day the Supreme Court ruling was made. This is truly disgraceful and a slap in the face to the Christian heritage he claimed to live and believe, and the Christian community at large.
I understand why believers are upset. But to respond with unbridled anger is never appropriate and does nothing good. (And how many Christians, including myself, can say that they pray regularly for President Obama and our government the way that Scripture instructs us to?)
The fact of the matter is this: if we are experiencing moral decay in this nation, it is the church’s fault. If darkness is increasing it is because the light is not shining. We can point the finger at the government, Hollywood, or the secular media. But Jesus said this:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
If immorality is running rampant in our nation, it is because the salt is “losing its flavor.” Let’s face it: how can a church full of its own immorality and compromise have a voice to speak into the culture about sexuality and marriage? How can we expect the world to live by the Word of God when we have not done so?
I’m speaking in generalities here, but we have by-and-large been a very weak church. Instead of being the light of the world, we have compromised with the world. Our own ranks are filled with sexual sin and our pulpits are filled with watered down messages. We have often expected the world to embrace our message without a demonstration of the love and power that is meant to accompany it. We lose our authority to influence the culture when our house is so out of order.
I understand that believers are not happy with the ruling. But instead of fleshly anger, perhaps this is an opportunity to take the plank out of our own eye.
Only God knows what the ramifications of last week’s Supreme Court decision will be. Some fear it is the beginning of religious liberty eroding in our nation. Some are concerned that ministers will be forced to perform gay wedding ceremonies, and in fact there are already reports of pastors facing jail time and fines if they do not.
Others see the inevitable increase in sexual perversion. This is a valid concern. The nature of sin—especially lust—is that it is never satisfied and always asks for more. Paul describes this in Ephesians 4:19 (NIV):
“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”
Sexual immorality of all kinds are becoming more and more normalized in our culture, and we are becoming more and more desensitized to it. We will certainly reap what we sow in this area. The devil will always seek to take more ground, and he is restless in enslaving people to deception and immorality.
Though there are legitimate concerns, fear is never the correct response. The last time I checked, God was still on the throne, Jesus was still Lord, and the devil was still defeated. We belong to a kingdom that is not of this world and that cannot be shaken. When we give way to fear, we expose the fact that we are placing our trust in the wrong source.
No matter what is happening around us, now is not the time to shrink back in fear.
Perhaps the most perplexing response I have seen from Christians is celebration. Like international speaker and author John Bevere, I have been confused to watch some of the social media commentary from fellow believers. Bevere posted this on his Facebook page:
“It saddens my heart to see what our government leaders have done, but what is heartbreaking is the responses that so many ‘Christians’ are posting on their social media. Many are saying, ‘love wins.’ How can ‘believers in Jesus’ say this?” (Click here to read John Bevere’s full statement).
Apparently, some view the Supreme Court ruling as a step forward for civil rights. In the same way that the murder of innocent children is justified as a “woman’s right to choose”, the redefinition of marriage is being touted as an issue of equal rights. Part of the problem is that we have allowed a behavior to be classified as an identity and a people group.
Some celebrate that gay friends will now be able to obtain happiness in marriage. This makes me wonder if they really believe what the Bible teaches about sin: that it is destructive in nature and leads to death. If a friend of mine was finding “happiness” in viewing pornography, I would not be a true friend if I did not warn him of its dangers and try to lead him out of it. I would love him, pray with him, walk with him, and be there for him; but I would never affirm him in his sin.
It is certainly true that some in the church have displayed a hateful attitude toward gays. (And homosexuals have been just as guilty of hate and even violence toward Christians). I applaud the efforts of believers who reach out in love to the lost, including gays. But compassion without conviction is just as dangerous as conviction without compassion. And love without truth is no love at all.
Those who celebrate the Supreme Court decision are not celebrating justice, love, or civil rights. They are celebrating immorality and a clear deviation from God’s design for marriage and sexuality. I don’t fault the world for celebrating this decision, as there is a clear distinction between the way the world views sexuality and the way that believers do (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). But how can a believer celebrate what God so clearly condemns? Not only are we warned about practicing sin, but we are warned about approving of those who do (see Romans 1:32).
Just because you can’t legislate morality does not mean that you should legislate immorality. And just because America is not a theocracy does not mean that we should not desire laws that are in alignment with God’s Word. Don’t forget that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
I believe that we will have to take a stand in the coming days. Christians and churches are bowing the knee to the spirit of this age at an unprecedented rate. We must know where we stand on the issue of sexuality and marriage and why we believe what we do. We must not be afraid to speak a word that is contrary to what is popular or politically correct. And we must do this with grace and wisdom, love and truth, boldness and humility.
But in the end, our concern should not be so much how we react to a government ruling, but how we respond to the Word of God. Let’s respond by doing the things that we are supposed to be doing regardless of what is happening in our government and culture:
-Let’s love God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves
-Let’s obey the great commission to make disciples
-Let’s reach out to a lost and dying world with the gospel of Jesus Christ
-Let’s become the praying church that we are called to be
-Let’s repent of our own sins and walk in the purity and freedom that God provided for us in Christ
-Let’s preach the Word of God without compromise or fear
-Let’s seek God for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit
-Let’s heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons
-Let’s tear down enemy strongholds and destroy the works of the devil
-Lets pray for God’s kingdom to come and will to be done on earth as it is in heaven
-Let’s come back to our first love and throw away lukewarm Christianity
-Let’s seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
-Let’s lay down our lives for Christ, His people, and a world that desperately needs God
I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know that if we will do these things we will be obeying God, we will see His kingdom advanced, and we will see His light shine brighter in this nation!