I’ve been thinking about this whole Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson thing for a couple of days. I thought I would avoid wading into this duck pond of controversy. But then, I’ve never been great at keeping my mouth closed, so I think I’ll just go ahead and jump in.
Plenty has been said about free speech and religious rights. I agree. It’s a constitutional right, but that’s been said, so I’ll keep moving. Except to say that free speech is for everyone and not just those we agree with. And I wish Phil had been a little less course with some of his comments about body parts (did you read the article?). What I’m thinking about is what I would like to hear someone from the Evangelical Christian community say to the gay community. Whenever someone asks an Evangelical Christian what they think of homosexuality, of course they defend marriage (as they should) and at the end they tack on, but I love everyone.
What if we started with love instead of tacking it onto the end? What if, when Evangelical Christians (I’m one) were asked what we think of homosexuality, our answer went something like this:
[ Above all I believe the Bible says that we are all created in the image of God. Each of us are made unique and designed by the creator of the universe. He intends for us to have purpose and meaning and we are made to need others and to love. Even more amazing, God desires to have a relationship with you and me. He wants us to know His presence and His power in our lives and is concerned about all the things that concern us. He is a God of compassion whose heart grieves for us when our hearts are hurting and broken.
But the thing about God is that He is perfection and the thing about all of us is that we are broken. We are sinful, meaning: We fail. We hurt those we love. We mess up. We are unkind. We wrestle with our thoughts and we want to hate anyone who isn’t like us. We try to control people and we chase after all kinds of things trying to fill the empty spots in our lives only to find ourselves still empty. We need someone to save us from ourselves and all the hurt we can cause (to ourselves and others.) We, all of us, are broken in some way.
God is holiness. Perfection. And we are broken with darkened hearts. How can God have a relationship with us? He desires to show us His love so much that He sent His son Jesus to be the bridge for us. To be punished for all our wrong and to pave a path that will lead us to peace and contentment and love and joy.
So the question isn’t what I think about homosexuality. The question is what do you think about God? Will you have a relationship with Him and know all the gifts He has to offer you? I do have a relationship with Him because I accepted His mercy towards me and it has changed everything about my life. It doesn’t make me perfect. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It makes me forgiven and continually being forgiven and I’m at peace. And so I try to please Him. In doing that, I want to uphold the truth of His word.
You can decide for yourself what you want to do with God and His word. I don’t have to agree with your choice to love or respect you. And you don’t have to agree with mine. God gave us all free will to choose. So make your choice and I will make mine, but whatever you choose, you are still created in the image of God and He loves you immensely and I respect you as being precious in His sight. ]
The truth is, I don’t know if it would make a difference. Maybe not to the masses, but it might to a few. And that’s the few that I want to reach. What I hear Christians saying often is “you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong………..but I love you.” What I’m afraid of is that nobody believes us. Love isn’t love because you say it. Love is love because you demonstrate it. So if you are in the camp of Evangelical Christians with me, let me ask you, when’s the last time you demonstrated the love of God to someone who is NOT like you? Different religion? Different race? Different background? Different economic standard? Do you know any gay people? If so, how do you treat them? Do you show them respect? Do you pray about the things that are important to them? Do you ask them about their family? Have they been to your home or have you met them for coffee?
Hmmmm, no? Then you don’t love them. You’re simply trying not to hate them. There is a huge difference. When we love people the way Jesus did, then we spend time with them. We go where they are. We don’t worry what others might think.
Let me be clear. I believe in God’s definition of marriage. I will always defend it. But I also believe in God’s definition of love. I have known many people in the course of my life. From every walk of life. Demonstrated love means opening your heart to people who may not be like you. It doesn’t mean you agree with their lifestyle, but if you are showing them respect and loving them, then they will usually respect you back. And here’s the thing….the person of Jesus Christ has changed my life forever. I’ll never be the same. I KNOW peace and joy and I’m empowered to live my life by His spirit. I want everyone I meet to know that too. God IS love, so that’s where we have to start.
Listen. We are all the same. We are all in need of God’s grace. He’s extended it to us. Let us extend some too.
2 Peter 1:5-9
make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins