Love or Hate? Which?

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Wire_AP_9673b3bba0d9471ab228d8fc95beac7b_16x9_992It’s one of those days when I can’t find words. I don’t know how to breathe deeply enough to be calm in my soul when I think about the ramifications of last weekend’s Supreme Court  announcement. But I know I have to move on. WE have to move on. A huge premium of morality has been lost in America.  The night when our government dollars would light our grand old White House with the LGBT rainbow is a night I thought I would never see. And, in the shadows of those lights, it is as dark a night as it has ever been in the short history of the United States of America.

My nine-month-old grandson, Ezra, sleeps a few feet away from me tonight. To think that Ezra will never be able to even remember a time in America when marriage necessarily implied the union of a man and a woman is surreal to me. To think that his parents are going to have to talk to him, at least on some level, about the very adult subject of homosexuality, even in his early childhood, is very sad to me. To know that his father, grandfathers, and great-grandfather, all preachers of the gospel,  might very feasibly be placed in a position in which they would have to go to court and maybe even to jail for disobeying the laws of this land when they are called on to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples, is a frightening prospect. The acceptance and legality of homosexual marriage in our United States has happened so relatively quickly. And this final ruling by the Supreme Court which forces all states to issue marriage licenses to gay couples is nothing short of a direct frontal attack on Christianity.

Twenty-three years ago, when my own children were very young, I vividly recall walking into a Walker County, Alabama library in which was being aired the live inaugural parade of the newly elected William Clinton, President of the United States. I could not believe there was a “gay pride” demonstration in that parade, for the first time in history, endorsed by that new administration. I remember the sadness of that moment and asking in my own heart “What will America be like when my kids are raising my grandchildren?” But I could not have imagined that the sacred institution of marriage could be so defiled by the rulers of our land as to legally acknowledge gay marriage. I could not have imagined that, to celebrate such an acknowledgment, our President would make the White House, the national seat of our government, a symbol of the LGBT movement, by shining the gay pride rainbow colors on it.

Several charges are being leveled at people like me, who are still writing and speaking about the sinfulness of homosexuality. The first is that we are hypocritical. “You just pick out one sin to hate, while ignoring the sins of your own hearts and lives.” Let’s make it crystal clear that Christians hate all sin of all kinds, especially the ones that beset us personally.  We understand that all of us sin and that none of us has any hope of eternal life without the blood of Jesus. But while continuing in any sin can keep you out of heaven, there are  certain sins that have greater consequences in this lifetime, than do others. Purposefully bringing up children in homes without a mother AND a father is a sin against those children. Recognizing nationally a “right to marry” for gay couples leaves Christian justices and ministers in a position in which they must disobey federal law or violate their convictions based in clear passages of the New Testament (Romans 1: 26-32). For the first time in United States history (at least of which I am aware), the federal government is obligating Christians to violate the law or violate their consciences. It is difficult for me to see how this conflict is going to play out without resulting in persecution of preachers and their families, among others (cake-makers, caterers, formal shops, and jewelers, to name a few).

Secondly, there is a broad charge against Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin and who are opposed to the legalization of homosexual marriage, that we are filled with hate and that we “spew forth conservative venom against innocent people.” There may be some people in the “One-man-for-one-woman-for life” camp that are full of hate. You can probably take almost any platform that has a large number of adherents and find some hate mongers. But may I say that hate mongers are not Christians. If they call themselves Christians, they lie, for, by definition, a Christian is a follower of Christ—the Christ who said “As you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” He commands, over and over, those who follow Him to love—even to love our enemies. Christians are not militant. They do not hate people. They are a people of self-control. Christians love people and hate sin.

I’ve been privileged to get to travel all over the United States and speak to conservative groups of women. I have often spoken about what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. I’ve engaged many women in conversation who have family members or loved ones who are involved in the sin of homosexuality. I cannot recall a single time when any of these women had anything but hearts of love and kindness toward those who were caught up in the sin of homosexuality. They are saddened, it is true. But they are kind. They are meek, prayerful and broken over the loss of souls that they love. This picture is the spirit of love; not hate. And it is the spirit of the overwhelming majority of those who, basing their opposition on the Word, oppose homosexuality.

The truth is, there are many “haters” in the homosexual camp. They are very critical and angry at those of us who still call homosexuality a sin. Why are they so angered by those who believe what the Bible clearly says about homosexuality? I suggest that it’s not really because we are hypocritical or hateful. We could change “hypocritical” or “hateful”. But proponents of gay marriage are highly critical of Christians because of something we cannot change: the Word of God. We cannot change the very clear truth about homosexuality from the Word of God:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Finally, let’s just imagine, without blaspheming the Word of God, that our lives here on earth are done and we come to the other side of death….Only there is no other side. The Bible-rejecting majority was right. Life on earth was all there will ever be and we are all simply and forever annihilated. Who would be worse off? The one who sojourned on earth as a Christian or the one who lived in the sin of homosexuality or some other sin of outright rebellion against the Word? Honest people would have to answer “If we are all annihilated, never to again live, no one is any better or worse off than anyone else.”

But what if people, like me, who have examined the evidence and believe that Jehovah is our creator and sustainer and that His word is absolute moral law, in the end, are right? What if there is a God and the sins of Romans 1 do make us “worthy of death”?  What if there really is a place of eternal punishment and a place of everlasting life?  Who, in this scenario, would be worse off? Ah, in that case, the homosexual couple would give a million lives and “marriages” just like the one they celebrate now to have another chance to renounce sin and live for Him. But, in that scenario, there would be no more chances.

So now I would pose this question: If I really believe His Word (and I do), what is it that motivates me to call homosexuality “sin”?  Is it love or hate? Which is it that compels me to speak against the sin of homosexuality…to beg those who are involved to leave those “vile affections” (Romans 1:26) and be washed and sanctified and justified (I Corinthians 6:7-9)?  Is it love or is it hate if I really believe the Word of God? I submit to you that the convicted cannot help but call sinners to repentance. That’s not “hate speech”. It’s “love speech” at the highest level. It’s love that, in 2015, takes courage. And it’s love that may soon take His people to places of persecution—even maybe to jail.  But, for true believers, it’s worth the risk. We will work beneath the blood-stained banner that calls all men with all kinds of sin to salvation, even if the White House is, of all things, striped. Yes, it IS love that makes us call sin, “sin”.   And ultimately, eternally…love wins.

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