My social media news feed has blown up with articles and opinions about gay marriage being legalized in North Carolina this week. The vast majority of these posts are from conservative Christians, though I have a handful of friends who are either homosexual or supporters of homosexuality. I value both sides tremendously because it enables me to witness the responses from two drastically different perspectives. There’s no question in my mind that for many homosexuals, this legalization represents a victory for them. In contrast, most evangelical Christians see this as a major loss for the sanctity of marriage, and many even believe that we are quickly cascading down a slippery slope into darkness. Realizing that most of my readers are probably evangelical Christians, I typically gear my posts towards things that I see them talking about. Therefore, I want to remind my conservative friends of a couple of things to remember in the wake of the gay marriage legalization in North Carolina (or anywhere else for that matter.)
1: The Biblical view of marriage is not destroyed by gay marriage
Why? Because mankind does not define what constitutes as marriage, nor do we possess the power to destroy it. Remember that Christ said “What God [not man] has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:6). This doesn’t just apply to homosexuality, but divorce as well. Many churches speak openly about their outrage of homosexuality, but glance conveniently over divorce. Why? For reasons you already know. The church is full of hypocrites and cowards (which likely include you and I) who condemn certain sins, and flee from others. This is the elephant in the room that nobody will acknowledge. Some conservatives will justify divorce by saying “If you had seen what I have seen, you would think different.” Some homosexuals will say “If you knew what it was like, you would think differently.” Both arguments are the same. I know this will upset many people, but it has to be said. Evangelicals are just as guilty of distorting marriage as anyone else. I say this as a Christian who holds to a traditional view of marriage. Marriage is not ours to destroy.
2: Your citizenship is not in this world
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate in politics or speak out about your beliefs. This means that you shouldn’t get too comfortable where you are. Christians have enjoyed so much freedom in the United States that we forget that this country doesn’t belong to us. As the US embraces pluralism on a wider scale, we begin to see equilibrium in ways that will challenge us. I believe that marriage is intrinsically a Biblical concept that demonstrates Christ’s relationship to his church; men taking on the role of Christ in sacrificial headship, and women taking on the role of the church as the supportive body. Both roles are equally important, and both roles are embracing Christ’s example. We look at marriage this way, but there is no reason for non-Christians to look at marriage in this way. We are free to teach the Biblical perspective of marriage to each other, and give reasons to the outside world why we believe it to be a certain way. Let’s continue to do this, while understanding that the rest of the world will not see it the way we do. Nor should we expect them to.
3: Beware of hyperbole
Someone once said that we live in an age of hyperbole, where everything is either “the best thing ever” or “the worst thing ever.” This isn’t too far off. As a confession, I’m prone to exaggerations. I understand how difficult it is not to exaggerate when something excites you (in a good or bad way). But we need to be very careful with our words when we talk about homosexuality. That does not mean that we condone it, or refuse to state what we believe to be true—but it means that we don’t go out of our way with unnecessary words to condemn people that aren’t Christians. That is not a way to reach people. Christ had dinner with prostitutes, tax collectors, and probably homosexuals too. These people were drawn to him; and not because he approved of their lifestyle. He certainly didn’t. But the people that Christ really fought against were the hypocritical religious elite, who lacked a drop of compassion in their hearts for the outside world. I rarely see prostitutes or homosexuals drawn towards Christians. If we’re really projecting Christ, I wonder why this isn’t happening.
We need to be very careful to remember that marriage is not in our hands to define or destroy. It is in God’s hands and his hands alone. We need to remember that when we do not approve of the way that things are, that this world isn’t ours, nor should be expect it to be. We need to remember to be careful with our words regarding others. We should speak the truth, but always in love. We should be especially cautious how we address people who do not believe the same things that we do. I can be critical of my Christian brother for his lifestyle in ways that I cannot be critical of my non-Christian friend. If I lack the wisdom to treat them differently, then I can cause irreparable damage. My hope is that Christians will be recognized for their love and wisdom, rather than their condemnation and ignorance. This is something I am working on myself—and I see a disturbing lack of it in the church.
(Thoughts? Comments? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)