June 29, 2015
Howdy doodly from Doodleland! I’ve had a difficult time sorting out my thoughts this month. Generally I prefer not to delve into current political or cultural issues in this space. I don’t feel comfortable or equipped to plumb the depths of controversy. So many others do it much better than I. But I feel a need to voice my feelings on the most recent Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage. The problem is my feelings are a bit confused.
As a Christian I believe God’s Word, the Bible, is the absolute authority on how we should live on this earth. I’ve read many articles and blog posts this week on the subject of homosexuality and same sex marriage. I have friends on both sides of the aisle on this issue. Many are overjoyed that gay people can finally enjoy equality in marriage in all fifty states. Others are convinced that our nation is going down the toilet and all gay people are hideous sinners on a slippery slide to hell. Many of them quote scripture to back up their views.
Here’s how I see it, as I read the scriptures. Let me say from the get go, that I’m sure I don’t have it all figured out correctly. I don’t think ANYONE in this life ever gets God things all figured out completely. We’re all scrawny humans in comparison to a great big God. What I understand from all the years of studying the Bible on my own and in Sunday School and church is that we are all sinners–every last one of us. It started when Eve took that first bite from the one fruit God had said not to touch, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3). Kablam! Sin entered the world and from then on everyone has had to deal with his/her compunction toward sin. And each of us struggles more with some sins than others.
Sexual immorality is just one type of sin. And yes, homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, and it’s not just mentioned in Leviticus, as some people seem to think. The first chapter of Romans mentions it in verses 26 and 27 as one result of humankind not following God’s law. But then in the next four verses, we find these other attributes of fallen people:
>Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
But then the next verses, in Romans chapter two, say this:
>You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment against those who do such things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
I could quote a boatload more Scriptures from all over the Bible about the inherent sinfulness of every one of us, but I won’t. Instead I will share the Good News, which is also found all over the Bible, but especially in the New Testament. Skip down to Romans 3:21-25a and you will find:
>But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
Goodness, if you want to know how glorious God’s plan for mankind has been from the beginning and how much He loves us, just keep on reading through the book of Romans! It’s just plain amazing and humbling.
I guess what I’m trying to say is as a Christian, forgiven and redeemed by faith in Jesus alone, I personally don’t feel it helps anyone to stand in judgment of a fellow sinner. I don’t know that God sees a difference in one sin from another, although I do believe that when a person truly comes to God in repentance through faith in Jesus, God will begin changing that person, but He works on each individual differently. What one person may be convicted of as sin in his life may not be what another person will be convicted of at that same time. It’s not my job to judge someone else’s life. That’s backed up by scripture in many places including Luke 6:37-42.
Jesus was once asked which is the greatest commandment. His answer from Matthew 22:37-40 is this:
>Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
The world would be a better place, and I think many more people would come to know Jesus, if we as Christians lived this kind of love daily. That doesn’t mean that we should ignore the sins in the world, but we should realize that loving God with all our heart leads us to love all of our fellow sinners, because God loves them just as He loves us.
I realize this is a simplistic look at a complex subject. So much more could be said. Of all the articles I’ve read this past week, this one here resonated with me the most.
So to end this in a more Doodlish way, as Eeyore said, “A little consideration, a little thought for others makes all the difference.”