Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love and Acceptance - Jesus' Style

My daughter and a good friend posted an article on Facebook today prompted by the current Supreme Court proceedings on redefining marriage written by a member of the Gospel Coalition advocating we take a stand against homosexuality. I agree with the overall premise of the article, but struggled with its tone. I wrote this response to my friend:

I do not want our country to make same-sex marriage equal to God's clear design of marriage between a man and a woman. I have prayed for God to break through with righteousness in the midst of the debates.

However, I disagree strongly with those who attack gay and lesbian people as uniquely sinful and beyond the reach of God's love and grace carried in His people to them. It seems to me the folks who wrote this article elevate homosexuality above pride, lying, adultery, divorce, alcoholism (drunkenness), obesity, (gluttony) and other sins God also hates.

God's instruction to Israel to humble themselves and pray so He could heal their land, contains a principle I am applying and hoping in for this season. It seems to me a call to prayer and humble grace-filled living, not a call to war within the messed up Body of Christ, would be far more God-honoring and productive.

I do not agree with this writer's application of "love your neighbor as yourself." We MUST love and welcome sinners into our homes and churches, exposing them to the truth of God in love, not becoming their Holy Spirit, but inviting them to the best behaviors that honor God and give them abundant life this side of heaven. If this writer's approach is applied, it seems to me a homosexual would experience judgement first and God's love through us second IF they stayed around long enough to experience love. I don't advocate putting practicing homosexuals in positions of leadership in the church, just as I wouldn't want a person still controlled by alcohol in leadership. I wouldn't want a man or woman in leadership who was abusing people, either. The focus on one sin over others grieves me. It is our natural tendency as humans, but we are called to view all things through the mind of Christ in us, the Holy Spirit.

I don't agree with everything I've read by Rob Bell, yet he seems to be hated in this article. When a believer is corrected, there is a process of one on one, then two or three and THEN, if there is no repentance, they get treated like a sinner/tax gatherer (people Jesus loves and hung out with to win them to His Father). I suspect that process hasn't taken place with Rob Bell. He has been publicly decried and defamed by Christians demonstrating to the world that Christians do not love well.

I wrestle often with what action to take in our country where my voice counts in what we do and do not do. I choose to vote for candidates that align with God's heart. Sadly there are fewer of those each election. I express my opinion respectfully to those elected, whether my choice or not, on issues that matter. I pray for God to win.

It is clear to me that as we move ever closer to our Lord Jesus' return, we will experience much more of this and will not be able to sway our country. We will still stand for Christ, I just think the issue will not be what we think of homosexuality, but it will be that we are
Christians who love God and agree with what He teaches us.

A wise woman added this to the conversation on Facebook:
"A quote from Rick Warren reminds us that we have been cleverly set up to fail:  'Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means that you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.' 
So, in this cultural mindset of "all-or-nothing"-"either you love 100% of everything about me or hate 100% of everything about me", we are instantly pegged as being haters, accused of being "intolerant" and "homophobic", filled with hate speech, with an all-or-nothing mentality of "if you don't love us and everything we are, you hate us with everything you are." I don't need to spell it out. We've all felt or heard it. It's a helpless feeling of feeling bullied and overpowered, people incorrectly putting words in our mouth."

Our very lives will be hated, not only our words. Our goodness and love will be hated and that is already happening.

I think ultimately we need to address these cultural problems one person at a time, as Holy Spirit directs. As the hearts of people are won to Christ and His ways, one by one, the tide will turn. We need to actually demonstrate God's grace and love to each person we meet and by loving them in their mess, establish a way into their hearts for God's truth to take root and transform them as He is transforming me.

Yours for transformed lives, one at a time...


  1. Thank you for your insight. The best quote of your post for me.... "It seems to me a call to prayer and humble grace-filled living, not a call to war...would be far more God honoring and productive..."

  2. Bravo. Thank you for your voice, Linda. A dear friend shared this verse with me as we were visiting over this issue:
    "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect"
    A few days ago I was reading in Richard Rohr's lenten devotional, Wondrous Encounters. I wrote in my journal that day:
    "In John 7 the Religious Right wanted to use the government authorities to arrest Jesus. Their security was in authority - if not the gov't/military, which ended up failing them, then surely in their superior knowledge of the ultimate authority: the scriptures! Richard says "Each remans smug and ignorant 'in his own house' as the episode sadly concludes: 'Don't bother me with larger wisdom, I have my small truth,' they seem to say...They are each hidden in their own house and quoting their own authorities."
    "You do not see any of the Sanhedron believing in him, do you? Or the Pharisees? Only this lot that knows nothing about the Loaw... and they are lost anyway! ...And each went off to his own house." (Jn. 7:48,52)
    I do not want to be guilty of the same -retreating into my small truths and missing the greater wisdom. It is a day to have ears that will listen and eyes that will see.
    Politics and Christians are so deeply divided. We must, I MUST, base my life and actions on Jesus: the way, the truth and the life. The changes taking place in our nation are alarming to many. Are my beliefs based on loyalty to a doctrine, or fear and anxiety? It is important to see with kingdom-vision. This is clarity and freedom. There is nothing new about the issues Americans face: the world Jesus came to was also a mess. This could be religion's fall, and the Body of Christ's finest hour. For my part, I want to be deeply loved, and love deeply. I want to be known, not for what I am against (which is always based in fear and legalism) but for what I am for: forgiveness, freedom from shame and obligation, valuing and respecting people (no matter what their doctrine, nationality, religion, color), mercy, and grace."


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