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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: AN OPEN LETTER TO CHRISTIANS

Same Sex marriageYesterday the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. Going forward, this country will now recognize marriage as man and woman, man and man, woman and woman.

“Love Won”, they say.

The path of least resistance is to remain quiet if you don’t agree, or else be accused of bigotry and hatred.

But what do we say in response to a ruling that is a mockery of God’s laws, a ruling that many believe will tear away at the moral fabric of this country?

I submit to you today that it isn’t ultimately about speaking our minds or having a right to do so. I believe at the heart of the stereotyping and name-calling towards Christians is a rebellion against God, but it is also a backlash on Christians that perpetuate that image by the way they relate to those who have different beliefs.

We are told to speak the truth in love, which is a loaded statement. It’s a balance of conviction and compassion that can only be practiced through God’s work in our own hearts.  My simple perspective is to look to Christ, to Him as our example. When He came upon a woman about to be stoned for committing adultery, (and just for clarity, homosexuality is just as much of a sin, Romans 1:26). What was His reaction?

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.  When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”(John 8:1-11)

It’s important to remember that Jesus approached this woman with kindness and genuine love, yet He never shied away from speaking the truth. Notice what He said next:  He said go and sin no more. It was not ok that she committed adultery. It was not ok if she continued in her sin.

Jesus was in balance. His love for this sinner wasn’t just with words, it was demonstrated.  Yet He was bold to speak the truth. I see two extremes among Christians: If we say we love, but don’t do anything to speak the truth, we can’t win anyone to salvation. There is also no salvation with a display of condemnation to someone else. It only breeds hate.Yes, I believe we as Christians must be involved politically. I will say this strongly.

There is no doubt that the government is a God-given tool to keep society from going completely berserk, and we must fight to put the right people in office. Yet spiritual change will not ultimately come as something pressing upon the masses. It begins in the heart, in preaching and sharing the Gospel. It begins from the inside out, as it does with all of us.

Then love will truly win.

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I’m challenged to examine my heart first. We must ask ourselves:

  • How do we really view those who don’t know the truth? Do we genuinely love them as human beings?
  • What is the motivation of a condemning spirit? Is it Fear? Anger? Our own guilt?
  • Are you and I prepared for the testing of our faith ahead? What should we be doing right now to understand the challenges ahead?

 

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CANDACE CAMERON BURE – ON SUBMISSIVENESS AND MARRIAGE

candace-cameron-bure-and-valeri-bure

“Okay, everyone, just calm down”.

Those words came from former “Full House star Candace Cameron Bure, during an interview with the Huffington Press last week.

She was talking about the buzz created when she described her role as “submissive” in her marriage to former hockey player Valeri Bure.

My sentiments exactly. Everyone take a chill pill.

The term “submissive” from a Christian viewpoint does not mean we are ready to  “throw away our right to vote“  (As one irate feminist host concluded).

Of course, not understanding the Christian view, I can see why women do get up in arms about the word “submissive”.

Let’s face it, we are the physically weaker sex. This puts us in a vulnerable position to men, and some may abuse it.

Then you get the backlash…the desire on the part of the wife to control and cut down her husband by nagging and bickering, rising up against him. Can you hear it now…?

“Ain’t no man gonna tell me what to do…” Snap.

Of course, the husband may not have that attitude initially, but he may grow resentful and oppressive as a reaction to the wife’s overbearing desire to dominate.

See the cycle?

But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. In Candace’s words, just calm down.

Let’s put down our defenses and take a look at a much misunderstood scripture passage about the roles of husband and wife:

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior (Eph. 4:22-23).

This scripture is saying that a wife should submit to her husband, not because women are inferior, but because that is how God designed the marital relationship to function.

The original design was a leader/helper role to make marriage function in harmony. Look at it this way: In every organization, there are levels and positions, from CEOs to Receptionists, Generals to Privates.  Everyone has a role, or they would have a dysfunctional organization. Now take a look at what follows this verse, a verse that I’m not sure many feminist know is even there:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Eph 5: 25-27)

Did you get that? Yes, wives are to submit to their husbands, butlet’s be very sure to remember that the Bible has outlined what type of man this is! He is not one to take advantage of that leadership in a selfish way. This type of man doesn’t flaunt his leadership or provoke his wife to anger.

A true leader recognizes the honor God has given him and is humble to use that leadership with care. He is grateful to God for the grace and love he himself has been given and loves his wife in the same way. An honorable man tempers his authority with love, and in so doing, will find that his wife is glad to submit to his leadership.

Each ordinance smooths over the rough edges of the other.

What woman would not want to respect a man that loves her? What man would not want to love a woman that respects him?

See the difference?

I guess I get a little weary and sad about the typical way I hear men and women relate to each other. There are so many power struggles, so many fallen attitudes that we see around us and take as par for the course. Turn on daytime TV and just hear all the “advice” on relationships and mind games that go along with it.

Better yet, cut out the static and don’t even turn it on at all.

There is a better way. Jesus came to bring healing to our souls by first laying down his life for us. We can then be given the capacity to love beyond ourselves as an expression of obedience and faith in Him.

I wonder if there’s anyone in the trenches right now. Maybe you’re on the verge of giving up. Maybe God would have you read this as an encouragement.

I also can’t help but wonder if there’s anyone who has come full circle.  You know God’s word on marriage is true because you’ve lived it. You would be a blessing to share your story!