Don’t Fear People – Love Jesus!
Update: The day after I posted this blog, John Piper posted a blog concerning this issue. His take on “the new calamity” is fresh and insightful. I’d highly recommend it to all of you.
Last Friday, New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Its Senate voted 33-29 in favor of the measure, and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law shortly thereafter. As Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, notes, this means that fully one out of every nine Americans lives in a place where same sex marriage is “the law of the land,” and if California’s Proposition 8 is ultimately declared unconstiutional, then over 33 percent of Americans will live in such a place.
Later in the same article, Dr. Mohler has this further analysis:
One of the lessons learned in this sad spectacle is the fact that enough Republican senators changed their positions on the issue under intense pressure, thus enabling the passage of the legislation. The same was true for the minority of Democratic senators who had previously voted against the measure. One of these, Carl Kruger, changed his vote because the nephew of the woman Kruger lives with was so outraged over the issue that he had cut the couple off from an ongoing relationship. “I don’t need this,” the Senator told a colleague, “It has gotten personal now.”
Well, of course it has. But what this statement really means is that many Americans, including many in the political class, simply fold their moral convictions when they conflict with the lifestyles or convictions of a friend or relative.
The above reminded me of a passage in Matthew where Jesus says that Christians should not “simply fold their moral convictions” in the face of relational adversity on the human level. To quote Christ directly:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (10:34-39)
Carl Kruger is no Christian (he is Jewish), but we Christians should learn from this situation. We must remember that we must not allow cultural pressure to overcome our biblical convictions. And as I have already written in a previous blog from almost a full year ago, the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong. So we must not allow those around us to scare us into backing off from our convictions.
There are those who may say, “But Jesus’ own words here are that ‘those who do not love me more than they love their parents are not worthy of me.’ And aren’t we all unworthy of Christ?” Yes, those are Jesus’ own words, but we must allow context to protect us from avoiding a text’s unpopular, though valid, application. How does Jesus conclude this paragraph? “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” So to be unworthy of Jesus (to use this passage’s language) is to lose one’s life from finding life outside of Christ. This is the clear teaching of Scripture (Acts 4:10-12, et al).
To find life outside of Christ is to not love him supremely. To find life outside of Christ is to love father or mother or wife or children more than you love Christ. True faith in Christ includes an all-surpassing love for him that exceeds your love for all others. And let us not forget the Holy Spirit’s words in 1 John 4:18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” If we truly love Christ, that love will overcome any fear of the people around us who support the legalization of same sex marriage. (And we all know at least someone who supports it.) Let us not be like Carl Kruger, an unbeliever who goes against his previous votes against same-sex marriage “because the nephew of the woman [he] lives with was so outraged over the issue that he had cut the couple off from an ongoing relationship.” (There is also the grievous evil of cohabitation in this situation, but that’s another post for another day.)
Fellow Christian, by the grace of the Holy Spirit of God who empowers you to persevere, keep finding your life in Christ, and don’t be afraid to stand by the increasingly unpopular conviction that homosexuality is wrong. Love Christ more than you love (or is it fear?) those around you who condone homosexuality by advocating for same-sex marriage.
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