Friday, September 18, 2015

Our Missed Opportunity

By arguing with gay people about the validity of their love, we've missed the opportunity to talk with them about the reality of Christ's love.

Worse yet, we’ve also lost our chance to demonstrate the love of Jesus to them, and this is something that many of them are most desperate to experience.

What Jesus commanded of us, and what Jesus expects of us, is that we lead with love; and that we love others "as I have loved you" - which was unconditionally and completely.

Instead, we’ve decided that “love” is about telling people the truth. Therefore, by telling people that they are horrible sinners who are destined for an eternal suffering in hell, we are “loving” them and therefore we are fulfilling Jesus’ command to “love others”.

The problem with that is – it’s not love, it’s pride. Arrogance and judgment, maybe, but not love.

When Jesus gave us these commands to love others and to put others first, his examples included showing compassion to our enemies, spending our money to take care of their needs, healing their wounds, transporting them at our personal expense, and treating them the way we would like to be treated.

Here’s a simple test we can use to determine if we’re fulfilling Jesus’ command to be known by our love:

If people feel loved, then you are loving them.

If people feel hated, hurt and judged, you are not loving them.

I feel like we’ve been trying to make this Gay Marriage debate about them, when it’s really about us.

What I mean is, we’ve focused so much on how “wrong” they are – and how “right” we are – that we’ve failed to stop and see all the ways we are wrong.

Instead of stopping to ask ourselves what our mission to this culture really is, we’ve continued onward in a frenzy, desperate for the world to hurry up and open their eyes and see how right we are.

And in our impassioned ranting all they can see is how angry, and petty, and dismissive, and condescending, and unloving we are.

Put another way, all we have shown them is just how unlike Jesus we are.

Or, more tragically, we have told them that we represent Jesus, and then we have done what he would never have done; We have rejected them. We have condemned them. We have given them no hope.

The other day I read a blog post by a friend of mine from High School. He’s not a Christian. He’s also gay.

As I attempted to read this blog out loud to Wendy, in our kitchen, I just broke down into tears. His words sliced into my heart and ripped into my soul.

Here’s just a sample of what he shared:

“Apparently, this guy died on a cross so that I wouldn't be able to get married. I don't know how he knew that it would be an issue, over 2,000 years later, but he did it.

[Of course] he never said anything like that in the Bible, if you believe in that sort of thing. I personally don't think this guy died for [that]. I think he died because he tried to show that his God was not what everyone else was saying he was. I think he died because churches had become places of profit, rather than worship.

I think, if I believe the Bible, that he hung out with a whore and 12 other guys who went fishing a lot. I don't think he'd have trouble with guys who like guys.

I'm not even dating anyone, so what do I care? I care, because the oppressive energy behind this religious fervor is disheartening. When I am told that I cannot get married, I'm told I cannot be loved. To say to me that I may not get married is to say to me that I am sentenced to die alone.

I have a very dear cousin who has said to me, that God does not and will not honor my marriage. That I may not get married. I don't know if he realizes that he has said to me; that I may not express my love of someone else; that if I may not reach the destination of marriage, why bother making the trip?

Why bother trying to find someone that you can't marry? And if you're not married, you are living in sin. If you express physical love with someone you are not married to, you are sinning.

God hates sin. God hates you. God meant for you to be alone; [to] die alone.

Certainly, I don't believe any of those things are true, but my cousin does. He chooses to believe that God does not want me to be with someone.

Or maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind I do believe it. Maybe that's why I've gone this long without finding someone. Maybe I am alone because a while back, someone who is so close to me told me that I am unworthy of love.”

I know that reading all that may evoke a variety of thoughts and emotions in your heart.

You may be tempted to argue that my friend is arguing with God’s Word. You may be tempted to call him a sinner and point out how depraved his lifestyle is, according to a few verses in the Bible.

But, for a moment, I hope you can understand the value of hearing someone on the other side of this conversation reflecting back to us what we sound like.

Receive this as a gift from God to you. Understand that, in our pursuit of ultimate “rightness” we have been sending a non-Christian person messages like:

“God hates you.”

“You are unworthy of love.”

“You’ve been sentenced to die alone”.

It doesn’t really matter if we’ve intended to send those messages. Those are the messages they have received from us.

To me, the Christian church has missed the mark when it comes to loving the gay community.

Does anyone know another word for “missing the mark”?

Oh yeah, I think it was the word “sin”.

We can do better.

If we can set aside our need to be right and start getting on our knees to wash feet, and humble ourselves just a little, we just might convince people that God’s love is real, and that Jesus really does love them, and that they are not only worthy of love, they are at the center of His heart and dearly treasured by Him – and by us.

In fact, until they are loved and treasured by us, I’m not sure anyone will ever believe that they are loved and treasured by God.

“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” [2 Cor. 5:20]



1 comment:

RonFurg said...

Thanks for sharing this truth with us Keith. Very well done. <><