Tuesday, June 30, 2015

and the winner is.... LOVE?

I know a man who uses illegal drugs and has abdicated his role as husband, father and son as a result of his addiction. I love him, but I do not agree with his choices.

I have a friend who chose abortion because she was scared--and because having a baby was going to mess up her life. I love her deeply, but I could not support her decision.

I know a person who is having an affair with a married man. She was also married when this fling began. They have children who are hurting. I love her, but they are breaking my heart.

A former coworker was arrested for possessing child pornography. Later I discovered he had also molested kids. I love him, but I am horrified by what he did to his victims.

I am also closely acquainted with a wretched woman who has committed deeds worthy of death and even though I am repulsed by many of her choices, I love her.

Loving someone does not mandate approval or agreement with the things they do (or did). It never has. But the pervasive insistence that it does, particularly in recent debates over the Supreme Court decision about gay marriage is disturbing.

I am a student of scripture and a professing Christian. Many of my friends and colleagues hold doctorates in theology, religion and Christian studies. They are far better equipped to speak on this subject than I will ever be, and many have persuasively addressed why marriage cannot be defined by man (or the court). 

As I've read dozens of posts and articles that support my own Biblical understanding however, one thing is glaringly evident in the comments section. There are now scores of well-educated, "expert" voices who dissent and disparage the previously universally accepted interpretation of Biblical texts related to homosexual sin.

These writers have sacrificed the scholarship of a millennia + of brilliant thinkers on the altar of changing times and their greater enlightenment and intelligence, and yet in truth, there is nothing new under the sun. Ours is not the first society to attempt to "put asunder" what God ordained.

So what is someone like me to do about those who maintain that if I do not support something I believe to be prohibited, I am not loving?

First, I will love them anyway. Even if they loathe me and my theology.

Second, I will ask them a question. Are you willing to concede that I may be right? If their answer is, "Never!"  or "No!" then I must point out that they are as narrow minded (and unloving?) as they perceive me to be.

When civil discourse is stifled and allegations of lovelessness and hate are the weaponry of choice by either side, love loses.

I don't know a single person who is genuinely committed to Christ who cannot (or will not) with the aid of God's Holy Spirit, love those with whom we principally disagree.

So here is my manifesto: I concede that those who share my theological interpretation will never argue anyone (professing Christian, atheist, or agnostic) into agreement, and I will not engage in uncivil, unholy discourse in an attempt to win you over to my side. There is just too much at stake here for us to be at war with one another.

I cannot control how you treat me and those like me who disagree with the belief that marriage is something that can be redefined by man, but I would remind you that if your motto is "love wins," please be cognizant of that slogan when you engage me in discussion. I will do the same in response.

On both sides of this issue there have been hyperbolic allegations, assaults and accusations. What is accomplished by all of this? Love's defeat.

Can love win? I think so. Will it? I'm not sure. At least not in this realm of existence apart from a God-wrought miracle.

But, if we all decide to think as much as we feel and are willing to do a little dying to self, maybe, just maybe, we will see something amazing happen. Love might actually win.

Oh, and that wretched woman I mentioned earlier, it's me. You probably guessed already. I candidly confess I'm no different than any other sin-stained rebel who needs grace. No matter how strong we all appear externally, we're weaklings when faced with temptations that gratify our insatiable appetite for self-fulfillment and our own personal glory. This universal condition is common to all regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation. But when God's amazing grace is applied to genuine repentance of acknowledged sin, its yield is always love.

I'm still quite imperfect, but perfectly, eternally redeemed. And there is plenty more of that priceless commodity called grace to go around. The cleansing consequence of the application of Jesus Christ's righteous blood is the cancellation of sin that erupts from grateful hearts like a love volcano. His Winning Love. Supernatural. Unquenchable. Unstoppable. Unparalleled. Eternal.

I need it. Desperately. Do you?

One final thought for my friends and family who are practicing homosexuals. You are precious to God and to me. I hope what I've written convinces you that I recognize our similarities. If you've failed to understand that my disagreement with you on this issue will never (and has never) prevented me from loving you, you've completely missed my point. But if by God's grace you're still reading, my sincere hope is that you'll love me back, because in that case, love does win.

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