As most of you know by now the Supreme Court of the United States, in a five to four decision, legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states this week. The significance of this decision to Christians can not be overstated. For the believer who, like you, seeks to actively defend their faith these may be trying times. You want to know how to speak the truth in love, while knowing that for some on both sides of the issue nothing you say can prevent an emotional upheaval. Before we spout WHAT we think about the issues of the day we should begin by asking ourselves HOW we think. If it’s not intentional, if it’s reflexive, if we find ourselves relying solely on unexamined dogmas or forgetting that we’re speaking to and about human beings all of our opinions will become suspect, and our influence may be seen as counterfeit. So what you won’t get here is political opinions, or even what the bible says about homosexuality. Our apologetic must be lived before it is preached. The advocates of same-sex marriage chanted Love Wins when the decision came down, I say we make sure it does!
So how do we live a true apologetic in such trying times? First and foremost the person in front of you when you’re responding to these issues is NOT a homosexual, they may lead a lifestyle of which homosexuality is a feature, but what they really are is a person whom God would desperately like to have an encounter with. No words that you’re going to say are going to win them over if your heart is not correctly oriented, and it has to be oriented to let the Holy Spirit love them through you. Second, if you have this idea in your mind that homosexuals are excluded from heaven then you need to purge that from you heart and your mind. I beg of you please do not engage on this issue until you have worked that out through prayer and fasting if necessary. I bet that the same passages you’d use to explain to me that “the gays” are excluded also mention at least one sin you’ve committed regularly (gossip much?) and yet you think you’re in? Let me be 100% clear here I believe that homosexuality is sin, full stop. I also believe that lusting after the opposite sex is sin, as is idolatry, greed, lying, and stealing. So just stop doing all of those, and all of the others I didn’t mention and you too can stand before God blameless. Yeah, that’s what I thought….
Finally, there is a lot of talk about the possibility of civil disobedience if the government attempts to force Christian organizations to hire or serve homosexuals in ways that we don’t believe our faith allows. My admonition to you would be to extend grace in every way you can. Look for ways you can be of greater service, not ways you can’t. There is tons of information out there on how to safeguard yourself and your ministry while denying services, but in the end if our thoughts are always about what we can withhold then we’re not living up our Master’s command in John 15:12, “Love each other as I have loved you”. You can not do anything that appears to endorse sin, but you can do many things that help sinners. And if you do feel the need to resist you don’t have the liberty to do even that without love and grace in your heart. Don’t be seen being dragged out of your church or your office kicking and cursing. Be seen standing firm, but still welcoming your persecutors. The life of ministry in service of our God is a relatively safe occupation only here in the west, should we be surprised if it is not always so? And whether you realize it or not, being a Christian means you are engaged in full-time ministry. Micah 6:8 says in part, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” All three of those components are equally important and none of them are optional. If you let one of them get out of balance you risk alienating people God wants to use you to reach, and where do they go after you? You’ll never know.
One of the pastors at my church made an interesting point today. In the story about the woman who was caught in sin and brought to Jesus to be stoned, He pointed out the sinfulness of the ones who had gathered to stone her, He forgave her, and He told her to go and turn from her sinful ways, but what we don’t know is if it changed anyone involved in any lasting way. Yet Jesus doesn’t seem to be sweating it. You and I have got to be less concerned with changing people’s minds and more concerned with seeing people’s hearts changed, no spoken apologetic has ever or will ever do that, though if it’s done right it may open the door.