This past week, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that all states in the Union must acknowledge the legality of same sex relationships (it’s much more complicated than that but for the sake of brevity, that’s how I’ll summarize it here). As I looked on Facebook to see the general response from those I know, it was no big surprise to see our culture totally polarized. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on this issue. Over couple of days following, the rhetoric online was a virtual tidal wave of anger and judgment from both sides of the equation. Those against same-sex marriage were outraged and angry and those that supported it were outraged and angry that anyone would be outraged and angry about it.
I saw many people saying that if any of their “friends” (their online, virtual friendships) said anything hateful about it, then they would be removed or whatnot. The irony was how so many people never realized that name-calling and/or finger-pointing about people being “judgmental” is, in and of itself, judgmental. It has been a very sad thing to watch happen…people being so hateful and angry from either side of the discussion…people being so judgmental from both points of view.
I saw one particular thread online that said that the judgment of God is now going to fall on us just like it did on Sodom and Gomorrah. According to Ezekiel’s prophecy…homosexuality was not the reason that Sodom and Gomorrah were judged…read chapter 16, verse 49 if you want to know what God’s problem them was…(and prepare to have your mind blown).
The next thing I saw happen was the thing by which I have been most troubled…and it seems to me that the vast majority of Christians are not picking up on it…
Over the past two or three years, I’ve noticed that Christians can tell you all about their particular beliefs regarding end-times…or politics…or certain other areas of doctrine…like predestination or free will. They can generally tell you what their church’s positions are on these subjects pretty readily as well. A few years ago…the reality of something hit me like it never had before. I was familiar with all kinds of areas of study and knew a lot about the political mixture of our nation…but if you would have asked me what the basic idea of the Gospel was…I would have stuttered and stammered and said something like…”Well…that’s a pretty deep subject and a complicated question.”
Here’s the thing…it’s not complicated. It is the simplest and most direct message in the Bible…so I decided to start asking people what they believed it took for a person to go to Heaven. Most were just like I had been. They stumbled and stammered. If I had asked them about political candidates they would have a strong opinion…if I had asked them about same sex marriage or abortion…then once again, they would have black and white, strong opinions. But…when it came to the very thing we are to be preaching…the very thing we are to be sharing…the very reason that the church exists in the world today…they had very uncertain answers…as if they had never given it much thought.
God did not put His church in the world to get people elected. God did not put us in the world to moralize a culture. The task or commission Jesus gave us to carry out was to do one thing that would have far reaching implications and impact. The main thing that Jesus gave us to do was to make disciples (which means students/followers) for His Kingdom. The message of the Kingdom is clear. It’s the Gospel. The main thing of the church is really, really, REALLY simple. It’s not always simple to carry out…but it is simple to understand. The role of the church is to teach people the Gospel and to do so in such a way that they in turn teach others. The church isn’t meant to be a political body. It isn’t meant to be a social club or an institution. It’s meant to be a wildfire that spreads across the landscape of the world with the single flame of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.
Jesus is not a political position. He is not a Supreme Court decision nor is He affected by it.
Let’s not let all of the rhetoric affect what we know we should be doing…which is staying on message…staying with the main thing…which is found explicitly in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (v. 21 is my favorite verse EVER):
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore,we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
The Christian Church, of which I am proudly a part, seems to have a habit of expecting everyone in the world to behave like we do (or like we think we do), meanwhile they often don’t even believe like we do…and we aren’t always sure what we even believe either.
Here’s a question for us all to consider: Think about the way that many Christians are treating non-believers in these types of discussions…now think about the ways that Jesus engaged people…especially those on the outside of the faith…how would He react to those outside of the church in our society today…and remember that the people He personally preached to with “hellfire and brimstone” were the people of the religious establishment…