Recent work in several areas has glaringly portrayed to me that even God’s people can, over time and with the right exposure to and stimuli from a wicked environment, come to accept sinful behaviors and even to be sharply critical of the people of God who do not come to celebrate the culture’s accepted sins. Things that could have been said twenty years ago with the unanimous approval of Bible-believing people are today the catalysts of division in families, both physical and spiritual. (Darwinian evolution, even given millions of years, can never be accomplished. But the evolution of sin’s acceptance happens with the passage of much briefer periods.) I have a friend who was an advocate of holy marriage twenty years ago, but is now a confessed impenitent adulterer; another who stood squarely for the submissive role of women in worship who now worships in a church where women are fully incorporated into leadership positions; yet another who believed in the sanctity of Biblical marriage just 15 years ago, who now is married to her same-sex partner. I ache in my soul for these friends, understanding that the changes in their perspectives came, not because God’s perfect Will evolved with the times, but because they looked away from His Will –they got distracted, coming out of the Word and into the world.
It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort, in an environment that’s spiraled so quickly, to make the change. You get to ride the strong waves of culture’s tide. But coming back is a herculean battle against that tide. It’s easier for people to go with the current and lash out against those who believe the very things that they, themselves, knew to be true only a few short years ago. It’s self-gratifying to use words like backward, unloving, intolerant, bigoted, holier-than-thou, and judgmental in describing those who believe the very things that they once, a short time ago, knew, from the Bible, to be truth. On the other hand, it’s conscience-soothing to use words like enlightened, matured, liberated, discerning, loving, accepting and open-minded about one’s self, when one has traveled with the current.
Today’s guest writer chronicles the short trip so many have taken in a culture of subjectivity and spiritual death. She shares it with a heavy heart and a flickering light of hope that could still be fanned into flames if hearts will turn.
Growing up, I was always taught that marriage was between a man and a woman. My parents are still married after raising all their children to adulthood, and for as long as I can remember, they stood against those who would defame marriage with homosexuality. While I did not grow up in the church, my parents professed a belief in God, and homosexuality was never a gray area for us — we knew that it was wrong, even with our limited exposure to true Christianity. The same was true for pornography. Although I grew up with virtually no “modesty” standards, we knew that viewing pornography was bad. I don’t remember ever even being tempted by either of these sins (homosexuality or pornography), because the teaching on these was so absolute that I knew I never wanted to get close to them.
However, the devil works in crafty ways. He can penetrate even the most resolute hearts if we give him entrance and do not immerse ourselves in God’s word. After I moved out of the house and started my own family, one of my younger siblings engaged in some behavior online that resulted in punitive action from the internet and email providers. My parents were stunned. Surely a child raised in their home could not have engaged in such horrific behavior under their watchful eyes! They had done all things “right” in that sense. The computers were in prominent locations in the house. Screen time was limited. We were told to be careful where we clicked and looked. The internet company had surely made a mistake! We were “good” kids. However, after investigating the browser history on the computer, it became obvious that there had, indeed, been inappropriate behavior occurring in their home. So began the tearing down of strongholds in our family. Slowly but surely, things that had once been deemed terrible sins by my family began to have “another side to the story.” One thing led to another, and gradually our family values were torn apart.
I still remember the day years ago when my sister called me out of the blue. I was shocked (and yet, not surprised) when the confession was made that her ever-present same-sex roommate was actually way more than a roommate and was, in fact, a “partner.” Even though I suspected this for a long time and knew deep down that this was the case, hearing the actual words from my own flesh and blood destroyed something in my heart and in our family. I found out that my parents had encouraged this hidden life and secret-keeping because they knew my stance on the matter and wanted to protect my sister from my “judgment.” In that moment, I knew we were at a crossroads and that life would never be the same. We talked for a long time, and I let her know in no uncertain terms that she was living in sin. Yet, I reminded her that we were family and that I still cared for her soul. We ended our conversation on heartbroken terms, and we rarely see each other now. I still pray for her often, and I still try to find opportunities to teach her and to love her while hating her sin.
It has been unbelievable to me to see how my parents have progressed through the years. What was first appalling and disgusting to them has now become acceptable and even glorified. When my sister and her partner decided to “marry” according to the law, there was great rejoicing and celebration among my family (although not from me or my husband). The rest of my family considers this “marriage” to be the same as mine to my husband, and they can’t understand why I cannot accept it as such. They have begun justifying her choices and accepting this sin that once was incomprehensible. They view us as judgmental, unloving, and intolerant, and they constantly encourage us to “accept her just as God made her.” What they once reviled, they have now determined is “the way she was created.”
I have witnessed firsthand the destructive nature of sin. I have seen the slow progression from covetousness, to lust, to sin, and to spiritual death. My children have been exposed to things at an early age that I would have chosen to shield them from much longer. I have not given up on my family accepting God’s word and obeying the gospel, but this sin has torn asunder any shadow of a foundation of truth in their hearts. Sin is destructive. Sin is selfish. Sin is sin. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” Isaiah 5:20 May we never be among those who blur the lines of truth. May we ever be steadfast and resolute in our battle for what is right.