Within 24 hours of each other last week, we saw what amounted to a prime-time double feature of human rights debates.
Nationally, the United States Supreme Court made 2 rulings that paved the way for gay marriage in America to be more mainstream and accepted, at least governmentally.
Here in Texas, Senator Wendy Davis, D – of my home town Fort Worth, successfully filibustered away the vote on a bill that would have regulated and limited abortions in Texas. This has since been described as “epic” by the national media, and made Wendy Davis a national political celebrity.
Needless to say, the conditions have been ripe to intensify the public debate over what are likely the two most heated human rights topics in a generation. You would be hard-pressed to find someone not fired up about all of this – one way or another.
Including and especially Christians.
Judging by my Facebook News Feed and my Twitter Feed – the Christian response has been hot and bothered on both topics.
Here’s a breaking news flash – Christians don’t agree with men having sex with men, and women having sex with women, and they really don’t like same-sex marriage. They also very much dislike the killing of innocent, unborn human beings.
And they will let you hear about it.
And I am finding myself increasingly bothered by this.
Necessary “Full disclosure”: I have dear friends who are gay. I also am very close to dear people who have had, or are having abortions. If you know me, or even if you don’t – but have spent 2 seconds on this blog – you know that I follow Jesus Christ. That means that I identify with the increasingly amorphous term “Christian.” Inherent in that identity (or more importantly Who I identify with) are my personal beliefs that homosexuality and gay marriage are sin – that is they are against the mind and will and instruction of God. Also inherent is my belief that murder is a sin. This includes babies in utero.
I intend not to list all the reasons I believe this way. If you somehow have not seen a Scriptural background for why most Christians believe this way on these issues, Google it – you’ll find them in abundance.
You don’t need Google for this one – you’ve already been beaten to death by a “Christian” with all the evidence.
And it didn’t change anything except create more tension.
None of that is what this post is about.
As I contemplated the events of last week, and the issues that they addressed, and the increasing intensity of these issues in the public forum – I began to really seek Jesus about my response to it all. It is not that I felt like I “needed” to have a response, so much as it was feeling a need to move deeper than my so-often seemingly pre-programmed response to things like gay marriage and abortion. I needed to go deeper into what role Jesus wanted to play through me. I needed to have a sense of direction, a compass and a path, for what will likely only be a bigger and bigger reality of the atmosphere in which I must live right now.
I really needed Jesus to talk to me about these things, not rely on my own feelings, or 33 years of Christian, “churchy” wiring.
I have a feeling this will be an ongoing dialogue into maturity (mine) between He and I, but here is where I am right now (feeling very vulnerable)…
…I think Jesus would have His followers shut up about abortion and gay marriage, and instead love up and pray up.
Jesus said that in regards to our spiritual condition, our greatest requirement is to “believe in the One whom (God) has sent (Jesus).” (John 6:28-29) Jesus also said that in regards to all else, the greatest of His teachings was “to love one another.” (1 John 3:23) Jesus even said shocking things like:
- “whoever slaps your right cheek, turn the other cheek to him also.”
- “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.”
- “forgive others, or you will not be forgiven.”
- “do not judge, so that you will not be judged.”
- “treat others as you would want to be treated.”
- “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”
These are found sequentially in red letters in Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. And I can’t reconcile them with how abortion and gay marriage are being responded to. After all, this same Sermon reveals that:
According to Jesus I have also committed “murder” by way of being “angry with my brother.” How does that make me different from an abortionist?
According to Jesus I have also committed “adultery” (sexual impurity) by way of “looking at a woman with lust.” How does that make me different from a person who is gay?
Christian, follower of Jesus:
- If you are threatened by these issues and feel slapped across the face – Jesus is saying “turn the other cheek.”
- If you feel persecuted for your faith and beliefs by those who share opposing beliefs – Jesus is saying “love them and pray for them.”
- If you cannot forgive others – Jesus is saying “neither can I forgive you.”
- If you are judging – Jesus is saying “you are being judged.”
- If you are responding in anger or hate or vitriol towards gay marriage or abortion – Jesus is saying “is this how you want to be treated?”
Christian, follower of Jesus:
I humbly submit that there is no level of protesting, or arguing, or debating, or Bible thumping, or Facebook posting, or Tweeting, or blogging (including this one) that is going to shape the views on gay marriage and abortion away from the world’s and towards God’s.
But Jesus Christ can.
The root of my discomfort with how these issues are primarily attacked is just that… they are attacked. In the strength of man.
And we can do nothing in that. (John 15:5)
But we can pray. We can quit fighting in our strength and rest in His Strength, in the Vine upon whom we can do all things (also John 15:5; Philippians 4:13). We can instead love via His Life in us.
We can give it fully to Jesus, who is saying “Are you asking me? Are you seeking me? Are you knocking?”
God is not surprised by the results of last week. He is not shaken by abortion or gay marriage. But sadly, the world is also noticeably not surprised by the response of the “children of God” – a response that shows little belief, little love, and little faith in praying to He who is not surprised.
We need a new response.
What would happen if we remembered our own murder and adultery, and out of a love response to the grace we’ve been shown, we love other “murderers” and “adulterers?”
What would happen if the people of the Kingdom of God turned the energy spent yelling and screaming about abortion and gay marriage, and instead spent it loving and praying?
What would happen to a person in a homosexual lifestyle if a professed Christian loved them, really loved them?
What would happen to a young mother considering aborting her baby if a follower of Christ came alongside her in love, while praying intensely in their closet for her and her baby?
What would happen if we “believed,” really believed?
What would happen if we “loved,” really loved?
What would happen if we “prayed,” really prayed?
The world would see Jesus. Abortion and homosexuality and sin of all names would dissipate in His glorious Light.
And Heaven would be a little closer to earth.
Be sure and read the “Follow-up” post to this, published October 10, 2013, in which the negative reaction to the use of the phrase “Shut up” is responded to.