Coming to My Senses, Dying to the Flesh
July 22, 2012
Gay Marriage is Not an Attack on the Church, It’s an Opportunity
Just based on the title of this article, if you are a “traditional marriage protector,” you are probably reading this article because you already disagree with me. If you are someone who is a “gay marriage equality advocate,” you probably pointed at your computer screen and said “yeah, exactly!” Well, before you jump to conclusions in agreement or disagreement, you probably want to read on…both groups will probably find plenty to disagree and get angry with in the following paragraphs. Let me preempt your judgements by saying that this article is not intended to be argumentative, hateful or divisive in any way. Like all of my articles, this is just me putting my thoughts down and making them available in a public forum. Hot-button topics such as gay marriage are very real and personal issues for many people, and personal issues often create powerful emotional responses. I just hope you will read this and respect my beliefs and opinions, whether or not you agree.
First, I would like to clarify that I believe homosexual relationships and acts are considered sinful to God. The basis for that belief is my Christian faith. Both God’s Word and the Holy Spirit lead me to that conclusion. I really don’t understand how any Christian can make an argument that homosexuality is not specifically spelled out in both the Old and New Testaments as explicit sins…it’s as clear as day. I also don’t understand why anyone would be surprised that homosexuality would be considered a sin before God. Humans are born into sin and by nature seek to satisfy the desires of our flesh. Sexual desires fall into that realm. Thankfully, God created a reasonable boundary within which our sexual desire can be unleashed. That boundary is marriage between a man and a woman. Sex within the marriage covenant produces many fruitful results, but sex outside the marriage covenant simply feeds the flesh, creating more and more emptiness, ever-expanding the hunger for more. So praise God for giving us the marriage covenant so that sin becomes unnecessary! I am very sorry to say, my friends, that is probably a praise that God rarely receives. You see, it is obvious that people don’t take marriage seriously these days. You can just look at the divorce rate and come to that conclusion fairly easily. Now I know you’ll be tempted to reminisce about the 1950’s and say “back in the good old days that wasn’t the case,” right? Well, that would really depend on what you call the “good old days”.
I’m going to challenge you to do some homework. Study the history of marriage and you’ll find that it wasn’t until recent history (the last few hundred years) that it became more of a personal matter between a couple rather than a social contract involving entire families. For most of recorded history, there was no “government official” or even “church official” who performed wedding ceremonies. There certainly were no licenses issued by the government for a couple to be deemed eligible to become married. In fact, as long as a couple lived together, most historical societies officially recognized it as a marriage no matter what kind of agreement was made or ceremony was performed. Believe it or not, the rules and regulations of marriage are largely a product of American culture with roots in ancient Rome, and an evolution through Medieval Christianity, the Protestant Reformation and finally the Industrial Revolution with a smattering of Women’s Lib thrown in for good measure. I hate to break it to you non-Christians, but modern Christianity has probably done more to remove the social stigma historically attached to remaining single as an adult, and also opening the door for both man and woman to enter into marriage as consenting equals (two things I’m sure you adamantly support), than any other society, culture or religion in history.
Despite all the good things Christianity has done for marriage equality, let’s consider a few basic principles that I believe have gotten lost in this heated debate. The United States abides by a Constitution which declares in the First Amendment that no laws shall be created respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. So if you truly believe that the government creating our laws is “of the people, by the people and for the people,” then you have to agree that laws will change over time as a reflection of society. There’s no doubt in my mind that today’s society is in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and like The Rembrandts said, “that’s just the way it is, baby.” With every new day, a news story pops up about another major corporation endorsing gay marriage (though I would argue whether this is sincerely based on principle or on stone cold economics). Across the nation, petitions are being signed, activists are taking to the streets…heck, even The Muppets are getting involved (as if Bert and Ernie weren’t already a dead giveaway). We have to face it…just because (as Christians) we have enjoyed being the “moral majority” for the last half-century or so, things are taking a turn toward “the flesh”. We can’t force the country we all love to act the way we want…she has a mind of her own. Just as Moses returned from Mount Sinai to find Israel worshiping the golden calf, our nation is forsaking our Creator and turning to idolatry. The push for gay marriage is just a symptom of the underlying illness.
But take heart Christians! Along with this bleak realization of a country no longer proudly proclaiming to be “one nation under God,” comes a silver lining…the second segment of the First Amendment ensures that we will always be free to exercise our religion. And this is precisely where gay marriage stops becoming an attack and starts becoming an opportunity! I say let gay marriage become legal. Yes, you read that correctly and I’ll say it again…gay marriage should be legalized. Even though I wouldn’t personally vote to legalize gay marriage (just as I wouldn’t vote for a President who I didn’t want to be in office), I do realize that I am in the minority on that issue. If the majority of people in our country want gay marriage to be legalized, why prevent it? Why shouldn’t a free country get to decide for themselves what types of relationships will be recognized by a secular government as an official “marriage”? As long as Christian marriages are also recognized as legal marriages, what should it matter to us? We are the ones following God, not them.
Instead of fighting so vehemently in opposition to gay marriage, earning a bad reputation in the process, why not simply stick to our own principles of marriage and let others do as they please? This is our opportunity, my Christian brothers and sisters. It is our opportunity to remain steadfast in our faith and to be there with loving open arms when hurting people need us the most. It is our opportunity to show the absolute acceptance and unconditional love of our Savior, Jesus. It is our opportunity to show support, nurture, care and peace to people who have been deceived by the enemy into believing that they were standing for a noble cause, people who got swept up in the emotion and passion of a “civil rights movement”, people who, by giving in to the temptations of the flesh, were simply giving themselves up as slaves to sin. So when people are burned by the world and need a place to turn for love and support, will we have shown them our true colors or will we have turned them off with negativity?
Though I speak strongly against their actions, I do not hate any of these people. I will not turn my back on them, mock them, revile them or wish misery upon them in any way, though they may do those things to me. In fact, I am struck by compassion for them. You see, I am a former drug addict. I have heard the lies of satan firsthand. I have been a slave to sin (as we all have) and know what it is like to (selfishly) believe that my decisions had no effect on anyone but myself. I’m still coming to grips with the unnecessary pain and anguish I inflicted on family and friends because of “my choices” and “my lifestyle”. But by the grace of God I was saved! I was not saved to become a judgmental hate-monger, I was saved to show the same grace that was shown me, to as many as God sends my way. Does that mean I should be “open minded” to homosexuality? Certainly not! I was called by God into salvation in Christ to be freed from sin, not to remain in bed with it. I will not lead anyone to believe that homosexuality is anything but despicable sin before a righteous God, but I’m also not the one who is responsible for revealing sin in another person’s life. Only the Word reveals sin, and only Jesus frees us from it.
So this is our opportunity, my fellow saints. This is our opportunity to let go of the pipe dream that the world will want to follow God when it comes to the definition of marriage. This is our opportunity to hold tightly to the wonderful covenant of marriage within the church, to fight to protect it like we are fighting to protect our own brides, husbands or children. This is our opportunity to separate ourselves further from the world…to remain faithful to God and to not give in to the temptation to conform to the ways of the world. This is our opportunity to abide in Christ, holding high His glorious light, so that as those trapped in darkness catch a glimpse of its beauty, they will be drawn to its purity and find warmth, love, forgiveness and adoption into the eternal family of our Father in heaven and His Son Jesus the Christ.
I’m not asking you to endorse gay marriage…I don’t. I’m just asking you to defend Christian marriage inside the church, not inside the courts. Let the world define its own rules concerning “government marriage” and wait until our civil liberties are really under attack to put up such a staunch opposition. Take the high road. Continue in love and perseverance, living above reproach, ready for the opportunity to accept all those who God sends your way with joy.