On Friday, the Supreme Court struck down the ban on gay marriage in this country. Make no mistake. This was a landmark day and a pivotal moment in American history.
And shortly after hearing the news, in my curiosity, I decided to open Facebook.
I wish I hadn’t.
Maybe I should have expected the response. But I didn’t. What I saw was social media at its worst. Post after post. Tweet after tweet. Some even using Bible verses and statements referencing God as stones to throw at a community of people who has suffered immensely at the hands of Christians.
In a moment where the whole world was watching, when Christians had an opportunity to show everyone something different, what I witnessed was more of the same tired approach. An approach that has led to the dehumanization of a community of men and women created in the image of God.
Yes, I am frustrated. Maybe I am guilty of youthful immaturity. But I can’t imagine a scenario where Jesus is pleased with the Christian community’s response to the ruling of the Supreme Court.
And, yes, I get it. For many, this decision is representative of a larger issue in our country. But this decision is also representative of a larger issue in the Christian community’s theology.
Here are some thoughts I have about the Supreme Court decision, social media, and the Christian community’s response to the LBGT community.
1.) God saw this decision coming, and it didn’t shock him.
“I affirm God’s design for marriage.”
“God’s word is truth.”
“Marriage = one man + one woman.”
These are just a few of the posts I saw. The feeling of panic and fear was almost tangible as I slid my finger further down my timeline.
And it’s disheartening because Christians trust a God who never freaks out. Never.
When the decision came down from the Supreme Court, God didn’t call an emergency meeting with the Trinity. He saw this coming. And it didn’t shock him. It shouldn’t shock Christians either. If your eyes are fixed on God, you will never allow something on earth to force you into panic mode. God’s got this.
He was in control when Jesus took his last breath and it appeared to his followers as though everything was over. He was in control when Christians endured severe persecution in the early days of the church. He is still in control. Even if America falls, God’s plan will not fall. He will ultimately prevail.
The world needs to see a different response. Freaking out is the way of the world. But peace in the midst of a storm is weird and puzzling. Just puzzling enough for others to become curious. Just weird enough to open the door for God to show himself through you.
2.) Our government is not the Savior.
The government is not always going to adhere to Christian values. Just think about it. Government is responsible for the death of Jesus, most of the apostles, and Paul.
Jesus had an opportunity to usher in his kingdom through the government. Most everyone during his ministry thought this was the way of the Messiah. But it wasn’t the way. So when our government makes a decision that doesn’t line up with Christian values, why are we shocked? Our government is not the Savior. Jesus is. In fact, historically, Christianity has grown in environments where followers were oppressed, mostly at the hands of the government.
So, pray for our government and our officials. Respect them. But don’t place your allegiance there. That belongs to God.
3.) Lives aren’t transformed by words. They are transformed by actions.
Social media is a great tool for information, communication, and even teaching. But it’s not a great tool to address and resolve issues as complex as homosexuality. This issue will only be solved through human interaction, which is messy. Hard work. An investment of time. And many aren’t willing to make those sacrifices.
But doing nothing feels wrong. So, rather than taking the time to show the love of Christ to others through their actions, many Christians choose write a few words about God to no one in particular. Then they carry on with their day.
I think the Christian community has written enough. I would be willing to bet almost everyone knows where Christians stand on the issue of gay marriage. It’s time to put down the phone and start the messy process of building relationships.
4.) God loves the LBGT community, and you should too.
Make no mistake. Every person on the face of the earth is loved by God. This includes me. A sinner. A terrible sinner. This also includes homosexuals.
Christians should love everyone as well. Not just those you agree with. Not just those who love you. Everyone. This separates Christians from the rest of the world. This love is transformative. It changes the world.
So, before you post something on social media or make a derogatory statement, ask yourself if the words are coming from a foundation of love. Is your desire to honestly see lives changed? If not, you will only add fuel to Satan’s fire, further widening the gap between the Christian and LBGT communities.
5.) An “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude destroys the bridge between the world and God.
Christians have played this game for too long. Rather than show love, Christians fight for their views and doctrines. We tell the world their sins from the mountaintop. We care more about winning an argument than rescuing a life. We use hateful, anger-saturated comments in an attempt to shame others, especially those in the LBGT community. And we somehow hope that in their shame, they will repent.
But shame has NEVER led a person to Christ. Shame ostracizes, belittles, and dehumanizes. And the only remedy for shame is vulnerability and authenticity. This is where the Christian community finds themselves. We created the gap, and the only way to bridge the gap is to come down from our high horse, admit our faults, and listen.
Are you willing to sit across the table from someone in the LBGT community and apologize? Are you willing to lose an argument if it means winning the war? And the war is not against the LBGT community. It is against the evil one. The one who has been deceiving, shaming, and dividing from the beginning. Satan.
6.) Homosexuality is just one layer of sexuality.
Carey Neiuwhof’s recent comments on this point are excellent. He sums it up with this statement, “If you believe gay sex is sinful, it’s really no morally different than straight sex outside of marriage.”
Homosexuality is just one layer of the larger issue of sexuality. And, in my experience, the Christian community has not handled sexuality well. Recently, I was talking with a couple at our church, and I asked them what percentage of teenagers the believe have engaged (or currently engage) in sexual activity. This person said, “Maybe…25%?”
The answer is closer to 100%. Lust. Masturbation. Porn. Sex outside of marriage. All of these are issues of sexuality. And almost all unmarried people (and many who are married) are involved in sexual activities that are against God’s design.
So, if you address homosexuality as a sinful activity, don’t elevate it above other layers of sexuality. And if you haven’t addressed issues of sexuality in your personal life, or if your church has a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to heterosexual issues related to sex outside of marriage, you might do well to address those issues before you tackle homosexuality.
7.) Create a culture of engagement, not withdrawal.
I have listened to many church leaders tell the world via social media what they won’t do. “I will never perform a gay marriage. Our church will never allow gay couples to marry in this building,” and various other similar statements.
And, while I understand and respect their convictions, I am tired of hearing church leaders tell the world what they WON’T do. The Christian community’s attitude of withdrawal is doing little to solve the problem at hand. I am ready to hear what Christians WILL do in response to the Supreme Court’s decision.
Christians must engage the culture to impact it. And we have always believed this on a cognitive level. But the principle hasn’t moved from our head to our hands.
The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) record 52 parables of Jesus. Of those, 45 have a marketplace context. The marketplace was a place of diversity. It was common ground for everyone. Jesus not only engaged people who weren’t righteous, he spent a large majority of his ministry in their contexts. He embraced all people.
So, instead of telling the world what you WON’T do, why not sit down with your community of friends and find things you WILL do?
Change is never easy. And America is certainly in a season of transition. But never forget you serve a God who never changes (Heb. 13:8). He doesn’t shift back and forth. He isn’t swayed by human reasoning or Supreme Court decisions. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Don’t lose hope. Christians are people of hope, always trusting the future is better than the present because the future brings us one step closer to perfect, eternal shalom with God. As your church wrestles with the implications of the Supreme Court decision, pray for God’s wisdom and discernment. Pray for the government. Pray for those in your community…and those outside of it.
I am wrestling with the decision just like everyone else. These are simply my thoughts. You might not agree with me. That’s fine.
My goal isn’t for people to agree with my worldview or theology. My goal is to be an instrument for God. That’s all I can do. I don’t have it all figured out. But I believe with every ounce of my being that God is the path to joy and peace. I pray your eyes will be opened to God. He has totally transformed my life. He can do the same for you.
How do you believe Christians should respond to the LBGT community? Please respond thoughtfully and let your words be seasoned with grace and love. I reserve the right to delete any comment that doesn’t contribute to the conversation.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!