This morning I asked the question, “Where should we draw the line in the sand concerning sexual sin?” The comments to that post have been thoughtful, insightful, challenging. This is a very difficult question, with really no clear answers. Yet it is a topic we cannot ignore. Because of President Obama’s stance on gay marriage, this will be a battle in the upcoming presidential campaign. His appearance on the cover of Newsweek as the “first gay president” is but a sample of what’s ahead. And, of course, politicians must bring religion into their decision-making, which means we must face this subject.
Outside of the Potomac Beltline, we are still faced with where to draw the line. For instance, a same-sex couple was denied entrance to a Catholic school’s prom. And a recent Gallup Poll reveals that acceptance of homosexuality is the “new norm” among Americans.
What should we as Christians, followers of Jesus, do?
Here is what we should not do. We should not disengage from this conversation, circling our wagons and talking only among ourselves. We should not—shall not—remain a part of the “good us vs. bad them” discussion. Finger-pointing and name-calling are wrong, immature and wasteful actions.
So again, what should we do?
First of all, we are to do all in the shadow of Jesus. His command to “follow me” includes walking through, not around, these issues, letting our conversations and encounters, our successes and failures, shape us into the image of Christ. This is not an easy thing to do. But it is essential as sons and daughters of the King.
We need to become listeners. Listening is an act of love. Too often we close our ears and our hearts and become one big mouth. We need to listen to those who have been hurt. Pastors, you are in a great position to listen and to encourage others to listen. What are we listening for? We need to get to know the person talking or yelling at us as an individual, not as a stereotype. Notice I didn’t say we patronize the speaker. But we listen. Jesus listened to woman at the well. We must learn to do likewise.
We must understand that we are not all going to agree. Sorry, but there are no obvious “right” and “wrong” answers here. It’s a topic where you and your closest friend may have a strong disagreement. You do not have all the right answers. Remember that Jesus did not come to judge, so we must not either.
We should make this a matter of discussion in small groups and one-on-one rather than from the pulpit. This is a matter that cannot be decided by declarations from pulpits. Pronouncements and proclamations are ok for some things, but this is such a volatile issue, and we don’t need to be throwing gasoline on an already roaring fire.
We should realize this is not the most important issue followers of Jesus should focus on. We were commanded to “go and make disciples,” not “go and rid the world of sin.” Realize that if homosexuality runs rampant, a gay politician is elected president, gay characters on TV and in the movies continue to increase, same-sex marriage is made legal in every state, and the U.S. flag is changed from stars and stripes to a rainbow, God is still God. Jesus still died and resurrected. The Holy Spirit still lives within the souls of those who trust Jesus for their salvation. It’s ok. Let God deal with what only he can deal with.
We are to love. Period. No restrictions, no conditions, no judgment. Love. You know, the act that covers a multitude of sins. We are to love and let the Lord take care of the rest. If you have any questions about what to say or do, err on the side of love.
If each of us reading this would begin to practice these few things—listen, talk in small groups, let go of the need to be right or in control, and love love love—we would begin to see changes. No, not in our culture or among homosexuals. Those may or may not come. But we most definitely will see changes in ourselves. And that’s where it all must begin.