I don’t pay much attention to politics as a general rule, but even under my cozy little rock I couldn’t help but hear of the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Supporters of the LGBT Community rejoiced, while many conservatives were outraged. In the aftermath, hate has been spewed on both sides. I won’t presume that adding my two cents will change anyone’s position, but I do hope to offer an alternative perspective that will help everyone move on peaceably with life in light of this change.
I’m addressing this primarily to conservative Christians who oppose the Supreme Court’s decision, but anyone else is welcome to read along.
The LGBT Community is not your enemy. They are sinners like even the most pious Christian, deserving the same love and grace shown to us while we were still dead in our sins. To expect them to adhere to our moral standards is foolishly unrealistic. We were warned in Scripture that we would perpetually be in opposition to the world, and that our message would be rejected. In a postmodern society, this decision should be no shock. The level of surprised indignation expressed by conservatives is really uncalled for considering how openly sin is glorified, sometimes even in the church.
I am not asking that we condone or endorse what the LGBT Community stands for, but I am asking that we have compassion and understanding for them. Remember that the first person hurt by sexual immorality is the one committing the sin. Men and women dead in their sin will never understand the gravity of their sins – or the unconditional love, grace, and forgiveness freely offered by God – when we continually heap condemnation on them and treat them as somehow inferior for their choices. Showing Christ’s love instead of attacking their choices does not require you to compromise the truth of the gospel. If anything you are fulfilling it. There is a time and place for sharing the truth and warning of the consequences of sin, but it must be done in the context of compassion, humility, and forgiveness. Many will still reject the message, but you will have a greater chance of directing their gaze to Christ by following the greatest commandment of showing unconditional love. There is a difference between being hated for speaking truth and being hated for speaking arrogantly and self-righteously.
Honestly it’s often easier for me to sympathize with the reasons such secular groups have for rejecting the church when I see the hypocrisy practiced by so many Christians in the name of Jesus. Those struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation, while we can caution them against this and offer guidance and support, will ultimately make their own decisions regardless of any pleading or persuading.
The real obscenity is that we will not express the same outrage at other sins. Why do we not hold the same disdain for heterosexual cohabitation or sex before marriage? Why do we look the other way when there is adultery or dishonesty in the church? When there is division, why do we contribute to the strife rather than shut it down? When people (in or outside the church) are hurt as a result of the sins or our brothers and sisters in Christ, why do we shove these issues under the carpet or have the audacity to blame the victims for their pain?
If we are going to oppose things like homosexuality with such vehemence, we have no excuse for tolerating any other sin. There is no acceptable sin in God’s eyes; there should be no discrepancy in how we perceive various sins.
This is not the end of the world. We need to stop acting as though the sky is falling because the government made a decision to legalize two people of the same sex getting married. Governments have made equally outlandish edicts in the past. Let’s not forget that the Emperor Caligula allegedly appointed his horse as consul.
We cannot expect to create lasting, positive change apart from Christ. Jesus was not a political pawn to be used to further our own goals and ideals by using force and condemning anyone who disagrees with us. Let us not forget that the God of the Universe is not subservient to our will. As His followers, our first priority is to submit to His will, summarized in one simple instruction: Love.