I watched the little girl from China explain to her friends how Bhudda is worshipped–demonstrating the posture one would take to pray to the statue. Knowing that she’d learned much about Jesus since coming to the United States, I asked how she felt about praying to Bhudda now. She replied with a question:
“Does God care if I worship Bhudda?”
My heart stopped for a moment while I decided which path to take. Should I spare a child’s feelings or tell the truth as I see it? Which is more loving?
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage, my heart stops once again.
Because this is important. Love is at stake. I have friends and family who are elated at the prospect of a legal marriage–something that was only a dream for them before. A new political tide has turned, and it seems the whole world is on board. I cringe at the thought of putting a damper on the excitement of those I care about by voicing a different point of view.
It’s hard to tell the truth when the truth might cause pain, but love doesn’t lie. It’s scary to risk offending someone you genuinely care for, but is it always loving to stay silent when the truth is so crucial?
There was a time when a Bible-based, Christian world-view fit in quite nicely with culture. That is no longer the case, but for those who build their lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ, a shift in culture cannot mean an automatic adjustment in beliefs.
I am not arrogant enough to believe that every aspect of my way of thinking is superior and flawless, but I do know that when I surrendered my life to Jesus, I handed over the right to shape my own opinions.
My values are a lump of clay, gradually being transformed on a potter’s wheel. The Master Potter patiently smooths each imperfection, working toward the day when my heart will reflect His own. As clay, my only job is to remain malleable to the Sculptor’s hands.
I have no right to mold my own heart, nor can I allow secular culture or religious tradition to hijack my mind, fashioning my ideals to their tastes.
I believe that it is as the Bible describes: From the beginning, God created a woman to be in intimate relationship with a man. In a display of faultless goodness, He looked down through the corridors of time and put something in place to protect and preserve the people He had made. God created family. With the institution of marriage, God’s perfect wisdom provided instructions to ensure that families would always protect and preserve, just as He had intended.
We’ve all ignored the instructions many times over, and it leads to heartache. Fathers leave and mothers hold on too tight. Husbands neglect, wives scorn, sons dishonor, and daughters rebel. We’ve made a mess of it all, and this God-thing called family feels fractured.
It’s tempting to throw everything out and come up with something new. Life can leave us in shambles, and we search for a way to become whole. We are so often told what we are and are not. In time, we come to believe that the voices are right and the Creator is somehow wrong, misunderstood, or has changed His mind. But God who designed family is still God. His blueprint is not to blame, humanity’s failure to trust in it is.
I cannot make concessions where faith in God is concerned. If I believe that He is God, then I must hold to the truth that His idea is the best idea, His Way the only way. If He is God, then His wisdom is not lacking and there is no doubt or uncertainty in His commands. I believe that the Bible paints a clear picture of marriage between a man and woman.
This would be an obvious place to launch into a debate of Scripture, but that was not my purpose in writing. Most who know the Bible well have already formed an opinion, and others need only read what it says. Those who believe the Bible condones same-sex marriage are no more likely to be swayed by my interpretation of Scripture than I am by theirs. Only the Spirit of God can lead any of us to the truth (John 16:13). Our job is to come humbly and pray that He will illuminate the Word of God in our hearts and help us to act on truth revealed. May each of us do just that!
Revealed truth and the conviction of the Holy Spirit moved me to tell my little Chinese friend–with as much love as possible–that, no, God does not want her to worship Bhudda. In fact, He directly commands against it. Her eternity is at stake! How could I miss an opportunity to point her to the One who is the only Way and whose ways lead to life?
It is vital that Christians do not withold the truth as they see it in order to remain politically correct or inoffensive. The gospel is too powerful and too pivotal to be treated as anything less then absolutely essential to life and joy–now and for eternity.
But the element so often missed is a context of love. We would never dream of telling a child that she is somehow less–worthy of contempt because her life experience taught her to worship an idol. Yet, our words and actions scream to the LGBT community, “We do not accept you, because you are not like us!”
Jesus said things that I’m sure were hard to hear, but many people listened (and still listen) because He spoke the truth while waving a banner of love, acceptance and healing. You do not have to agree with someone’s lifestyle to love and accept them as a person desired and cherished by God.
To the child who worshipped Bhudda I said, “We have all lifted people, things and ourselves above God, and we each need grace and help to worship Him the way He deserves and commands.”
To Christians I would say, “Tell the truth, and do it with wisdom and in love.” Thinking you have the key to abundant life vs. death, joy vs. despair–and NOT sharing it? That’s selfish and cruel. Emphasizing the love of God without also realizing that His commands are the path to real life? That is dangerous. But turning the gospel of a Savior who shed innocent blood to purchase life and freedom for ALL into a weapon that subtly or overtly propogates hatred? That is an offense to the heart of God and a stumbling block to those who would come to Him.
To those in the LGBT community I say, “I love and accept you as a person loved by God.” Faith moves me to pray that you find the joy that God intended–first in Him, then in marriage and family and every other good thing. Personal conviction tells me that God’s kind of joy can only be found in His kind of marriage–between a man and a woman. I want you to experience that joy! Still, love will compel me whether you agree with me or not. I love you–no ifs, ands, or buts.
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”– 1 John 3:16
“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you …”–1 Thessalonians 3:12 (emphasis mine)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”–I Corinthians 13:-8a
Real love is based on truth. And yes, love does win: the love of God triumphs–over your hate and my pride, his same-sex relations and her adultery. We have all rebelled against God. We are all equally in need of a Savior. We each have the same access to abundant life in Jesus if we will only come just as we are and trade our way for the Way.