Sunday, July 29, 2012

Clear and Present

It is a sad state of affairs when my consumer choices communicate subtle social messages on major political matters. So, now, if I eat at Chik-fil-a, I hate gays...if I buy a shirt at JC Penny, I love lesbians...if I shop at Amazon, I am contributing directly to political lobbying in favor of same-sex marriage. This is absurd

I know it's always been this way, but now it's more public than ever. There are picket lines in front of fast food restaurants that were lauded for their food and business practices a month ago, and now, if I want some nuggets, my more politically liberal friends will label me a bigot. If there's a sweet sale at JC Penny on dress shirts, my Christian friends will accuse me of endorsing an anti-biblical lifestyle...

Damned if I do...damned if I do so something else!

Let me be clear on one thing. I'm a Christian. I believe the Bible is the word of God for mankind, and I do not hate gays. On the contrary, I love much as I love anyone else, with a love I am able to extend because Christ first loved me. However, I also believe that God's intention for sexual intimacy is to be between one man and one woman within the confines of marriage. Anything outside of this is outside of God's good design - adultery, rape, prostitution, incest, pornography, homosexuality, and even sexual intimacy between two otherwise wholesome romantic (unmarried) young lovers.

Let me also be clear on another thing - if you fall into one of these categories, I DO NOT HATE YOU. I hope that was clear enough. Just because I believe something you do is wrong, doesn't mean I hate you. "You're wrong." is not the same thing as "I hate you.". If you find yourself in one of these categories, I view you no differently than someone who struggles with lying, impatience, anger, self-righteousness...or any other of a multitude of sinful choices.

I wish you could meet Jesus, as I have. I wish you could know the love of God that causes your heart to break, realizing you've offended and essentially murdered him. I want you to know Him. Once you meet him, I'm confident that his love, his mercy, his offer of forgiveness, and the power of His Spirit, will draw you to turn from your sinful habits, lifestyles and deeds - what we call repentance.

This is by no means a complete treatise on what I believe about these matters...and I know that some of you will only read hate and judgment into my words...others of you will wish I had been more harsh, less welcoming. Let me say to both camps, I know a thing or two about being sinful, about forgiveness, about mercy, love and acceptance first hand. I also know what it's like to be judged, to be ostracized, to be the outcast, and the underdog. I am ever so glad that Jesus was not so harsh on me. He treated me tenderly - not with kid gloves - firmly, but gently...even still, He is bringing me to repentance for thoughts, postures, and actions that are against His will for my life, and though it's not always easy, it's loving.


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