Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Unholy Debate During Holy Week

For Christians around the world, this week is a reminder of the great love and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  From his final presentation of himself to Israel on Palm Sunday, to his cleansing of the Temple on Monday, to the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday, the week is pregnant with meaning and significance.

For Christians in America this year, we are also watching with either dismay or anticipation as the debate on same sex marriage is taken up by the Supreme Court.  There is an air of inevitability that is portrayed in the media and bolstered by pronouncements by various political and entertainment figures that "now is the time." for what is being called "marriage equality."  

Certainly this is not of the same significance as the events leading up to Easter, but it is a watershed moment for our culture.  Will our government purposely redefine something God created and Jesus specifically defined to bless humanity into something that calls for divine judgment?  Christians who love their nation (as we are instructed to do in Scripture) are right to be concerned.

While many Christians are posting Facebook warnings or concerns or articles on why they oppose legalization, I note that some of my Christian friends using social media sites are displaying an red profile picture of an equal sign, endorsing the cause of same sex marriage.  An article I just read asked a question: "When did it become acceptable for Christians to embrace and endorse" homosexual behavior generally, and then same sex marriage as appropriate in our culture?  

The author argues that it came about gradually, as we substituted the biblical God for a God of "faux love, cultural acceptance, and open theism."  In short, when we became idolaters.   Our idol, especially among the young, promotes a libertarian ideal of freedom that says, "do what you want, as long as it does  no harm."  This sounds charitable and "nice"--a live and let live philosophy.  

But in fact, this kind of thinking shows that those who hold it hate their neighbors--especially their neighbors who embrace evil and call it good.  

Later in the article, I read this explanation:
In endorsing laws based solely on the secular liberal-libertarian conception of freedom (at least those that produce no obvious self-harm), they are doing the very opposite of what Jesus called them to do: They are hating their neighbors, including their gay and lesbian neighbors. You do not love your neighbor by encouraging them to engage in actions that invoke God's wrath (Psalm 5:4-5Romans 1:18). As Christians we may be required to tolerate ungodly behavior, but the moment we begin to endorse the same then we too have become suppressors of the truth. You cannot love your neighbor and want to see them excluded from the kingdom of Christ (Eph. 5:5).
Love of our neighbor demands speaking the truth in love, with grace, but with conviction.  If the law is changed, we will still need to do the same.  But it is right for us to pray and support those who would seek to keep the law from changing, if we would seek to spare our culture further consequences that come from denying God's defining power over his creation.