The Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 vote, ruled that same sex marriage is a constitutional right. Before I dive into this vote and how I want my church to respond to this decision, let me share with you where I stand. I believe the Bible is truly a word to us from God. I believe the Bible clearly teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. I do not consider that belief to make me homophobic or bigoted toward the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) community. I have argued for years in my ministry that the majority Christian treatment of the LGBT community is sinful. Read my article on Caitlyn Jenner, or on the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, or on Vanessa Collier’s Funeral. I believe whole heartedly that Christians should show compassion and dare I say, friendship to the LGBT community and its supporters. Compassion and friendship can happen without agreeing with a lifestyle or decision. I know there are many that love and care for me that do not agree with my variety of Christianity. Disagreement does not mean we have to fight.
Now, I want to discuss this seismic decision…or is it? Same sex marriage has been legal in numerous states. Same sex unions have enjoyed federal tax benefits for a while now. I do not think this decision is as earth shattering in American culture as it first appears. I think it is clear that the Supreme Court just sided with the political wind of the day. The only massive change I see coming from this decision is on local court judges that may be forced to perform same sex marriages, but if you are not a judge, what really changed?
Same sex relationships no longer have to drive or fly to another state to get married. Big deal. This decision cannot force pastors to perform any marriage against their held beliefs, whether it be a same sex marriage or a marriage between man and a woman. The corporation of Hobby Lobby was granted “freedom of religion.” If freedom of religion was granted to a business entity, I doubt it will be taken away from a person. I don’t think this ruling changed anyone’s declaration of their sexual orientation. Again, outside of civil judges, the biggest change I see is that same sex couples can save gas or money on plane tickets.
Here is my fear. I am afraid that us Christians are going to overreact. “We are supposed to be a Christian nation!” “How could they?!” “What is wrong with our country?!” I am afraid that we are going get angry at a decision made by nine individuals in robes and unleash our anger on the LGBT community. I received an email almost immediately following the decision from the Georgia Baptist Convention, to which Sunnyside belongs, condemning this decision. I have seen several similar statements from different Christian groups supporting the Biblical definition of marriage. Some of these statements are calmly sharing their beliefs on marriage, and some are viciously stating this is the beginning of the Christian apocalypse in America. My fear is that we Christians are going to ridicule, attack, mock, scream, or worse to the LGBT community, and that will do nothing but damage the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am also afraid that the LGBT community and its supporters are going to mock Christians too, and the divide will grow. I do not want to see a vote taken by nine people deepen the rift between two groups, hate then grows, and despicable acts follow. I do not want hate crimes to occur because of this vote, but my fear is they will.
As I did on my article on the Confederate Flag, I will turn my attention to the group to which I belong. Jesus Christ showed compassion toward all. He was kind and built relationships with people whom He didn’t agree with their lifestyles. He used those relationships to lovingly share the Gospel with them, not scream they’re evil!. That is the Biblical response here.
Christians that pride themselves on believing in the “Biblical” definition of marriage, pride yourself, also, in Jesus Christ’s Biblical response to sinners!
Love and compassion and friendship can absolutely occur Biblically to members of the LGBT community without compromising God’s word one bit. I have no doubt that Jesus would befriend a homosexual. I fully believe that it is through love and compassion and friendship that the Gospel will more powerfully go forth and change lives for the uplifting of souls and the glory of God. It was Jesus’ offer of friendship that caused Matthew to leave his tax collectors booth. It was Jesus’ kind explanation that changed the heart of Nicodemus. It was Jesus’ loving response instead of an angry tirade that ended Thomas’ doubts.
I can tell you one thing. Anger and hate and petitions and lobbying and voting and political action and lawsuits have done nothing over the past 20 years to further the Gospel in this country. Church attendance numbers of those same 20 years proves that beyond all doubt.
Christian do not let this decision drive you to hate and bigotry. Instead allow it to drive us to compassionately build relationships to share the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you want to see change in the country, lovingly share the Gospel, but too many of us Christians, want the Supreme Count to mandate Biblical living, so we do not have to lead people to the Gospel. Mandated Biblical obedience means nothing. God desires a broken and contrite heart.
Let’s not overreact. Let’s not hate. Let’s love, and let’s commit to the Biblical response of Jesus and compassionately share the Gospel to lead our country closer to God, one soul and one neighbor at a time. Those ones will add up and strengthen the church.