As far as I’m concerned, Jesus has cornered the market when it comes to righteous anger. (He also saved his anger for the supposedly “righteous” folk doing unrighteous stuff in the name of God. Like exploiting workers and people who were coming to the temple to worship. Remember the upside-down tables?)
If he gets mad about something, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s automatically okay. And good and right.
(Cornered the market? Bet your bottom dollar? I love idioms.)
I cannot say the same thing about my own anger (may this serve as my disclaimer). Which is why the bulk of my opinions, heated and otherwise, end up in my journals where most of them stay.
But every now and again, I pull one out. In my “Love the Sinner; Hate the Sin?” post Tuesday, I alluded to the fact that I’d started writing it several times in my journal. Well, this morning I sat down to write (normal, benign, “Good morning, Jesus”-type things), and my pen wasn’t working. So I randomly flipped to another page to scribble my ink into flowing.
I landed on 12.22.13. And the word “homosexuality” popped out at me. And I read what I wrote.
And, after three months of simmering, I feel the same way.
So here you go. (I promise not to make a habit of this.)
A little background context. I wrote this right after one of the Duck Dynasty dudes got himself in trouble for speaking out about homosexuality in a magazine interview, and half the Christians in my Facebook feed were in an uproar about it.
9:02am, 12.22.13, Sunday.
Clang, clang, clang. I can almost hear those noisy cymbals (1 Corinthians 13:1). What in the world?
People are annoying the heck out of me with their mamby-pamby don’t-take-my-rights-away blah-blah-blah. And when I questioned why we’re wasting so much time on this when there’s a world out there in desperate need (of food, Jesus, freedom, etc.), someone asked me, “If they take away our rights, how will we help those in need??”
Oh my word. For real? In countries like China and North Korea, where people have ZERO rights, Christianity is spreading like wildfire. People are coming to Jesus faster than you can blink. Persecuted Christians have every single right stripped away (and then some), and they’re still obeying Jesus and helping people in need.
And American Christians are in a tizzy because a millionaire reality TV star got his hand slapped for saying homosexuality is a sin.
Why do we insist on setting up straw men, cowering behind them, and pretending we’re busy advancing the kingdom?
The homosexuality-as-sin debate is in no way–not even close–central to the message of the gospel. No way. The gospel is LOVE. It’s reconciling people to God and each other. Reconciling a lost world to Christ.
Homosexuality is like this peripheral issue (that Jesus never even mentioned). Yet we are hanging everything on it.
“But what if they take away our rights????”
Does the Bible say they’ll know we’re Jesus’ disciples by our freedom to speak out against homosexuality?
Close. It says they’ll know us by our LOVE. Not our rights. Our LOVE.
Take away my rights, and I can still love people to Jesus.
We Americans want a receptive, warm, happy, safe place to talk about Jesus in this country, and we’re going to cry and whine until we get it.
Newsflash: WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET IT.
We certainly aren’t promised it. The only thing Jesus said about that is that we would be persecuted. And we’re fighting to the death to make sure his words don’t come true.
So, if we’re gonna lose “rights,” then maybe we should think up Plan B.
Plan B (which should’ve been Plan A) = LOVE.
Love is how you dump coals. (not by actually dumping coals)
REAL Christians live and move and work and breathe and SHARE THE GOSPEL in places so hostile to Jesus-followers that we Americans can’t even fathom it.
We’ve got to STOP BEING BABIES.
We WILL be persecuted. And we’ve got to suck it up. And be about our Father’s business. Defending the rights of the poor, the fatherless, and the oppressed (not our own).
Four-year-old boys and girls are being sold for sex right now, and we are whining that someone had to sit out an episode of his TV show for saying something his producers didn’t like.
How is this a thing???
Jesus managed to share the gospel for three whole years without once (to our knowledge) mentioning homosexuality. I’ll bet we could do it too if we tried.
Gay people are not the threat here. Misplaced rage, wimpy faith, self-centered, self-protective, self self self is.
Even the Sodom verses in the Bible that we think are all about homosexuality? Aren’t. “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49) And he says it will be worse for other cities (who thought they were pretty awesome) on the day of judgment than it will even be for Sodom.
(Oh, we are in so much trouble.)
C’mon, friends. Are we done being cotton-headed ninny muggins? There’s real kingdom work to be done here, and I know deep down, we really want to be about it, no? Then let’s go!
Whew. Tell us how you really feel, Marla.One last thing. I certainly don’t have this Jesus-love-all-the-time thing figured out, but I so desperately want to. And I want us to figure it out together. And I know some of you are doing it SO, SO WELL (I won’t name names). THANK YOU.
And thank you thank you thank you to everyone who responded privately to my last post, sharing stories of real-life love you’re living out. I’m so encouraged. Bless you, friends. Back to our regularly-scheduled boring blog topics soon!
EDIT (30 minutes after I wrote this): A friend just made a very valid point. “I agree with your underlying/ main point. At the same time though it seems like those who choose to speak out against homosexuality aren’t going to receive the love and grace from you that you are talking about. I don’t think you mean it that way, but that’s how I read it.”
Without adding 500 more words, I’ll say this: One thing (and there are many) I need to work on is showing love and grace to those who I think aren’t showing grace and love. However, this post actually isn’t so much about whether or not we should speak up against homosexuality as it is about fighting for our own perceived rights above those we’re really supposed to be fighting for (the poor/oppressed, etc.).
Maybe I’ll have to write another follow-up post after all. Sigh.