Like many of you, my social media feed today has blown up with responses to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage. I have seen 3 types of responses from my Christian friends that concern me – 3 responses that I personally can’t embrace.
First, I won’t panic. Some seem to fear that the cause of Christ has been jeopardized by this 5-4 vote. I want to say to my calamitizing brothers and sisters: If you believe that God’s purposes can be thwarted by the actions of a human government, you need to get a bigger God. The sky is not falling. It is still right where God put it. He is still King of heaven and earth, and Lord of history. He is still the only Judge whose opinion has lasting significance. He has not lost an ounce of authority. Through the ages, the Gospel has done some pretty good work in cultures that it directly contradicts. Fear truly is unnecessary.
Second, I won’t celebrate. Some of my Christian friends are happy about the court’s decision, viewing it as a victory for love. I think their celebration comes from a genuine conviction that God loves all people, which is noble. But somewhere along the way they seem to have bought into the myth that loving someone means letting them have what they want. Real love for someone means wanting what is best for them. And what is best for someone is what God wants for them. Starting in literally the first chapter of the Bible, we see the “very good” story of people made in the image of God, made male and female, and from the second chapter of the Bible onward we see marriage consistently defined as a relationship between a man and a woman. The Bible’s prohibitions against homosexual behavior are not the words of out of touch old-timers that we can toss out now that they are no longer culturally popular; neither are they the rules of a killjoy deity who wants some people to be miserable. They are the gracious warnings of the God who made us and knows what will ultimately fulfill us and help us to flourish. The court’s decision strikes me as a national declaration that we know better than God on this matter of sexual ethics. I can’t get excited about that kind of declaration.
Third, I won’t spew venom. The response that troubles me most that I have seen from some Christians is hatred and anger. In their effort to “protect” the truth of Christ’s teaching (as if he needs our protection), they have moved 180 degrees from Christ’s character. Members of the LGBT community are not our enemies – they are our neighbors. They are not a “them” who are at war with “us.” If our only words about homosexuality are shouts of outrage, we will be pushing people away from the Savior who died to reach them. If our words, actions, and attitudes are not marked with kindness and mercy, then we have become even more un-Christlike than those we are bashing.
May God fill us with the hope that comes from knowing that he is secure on his throne. May he give us the wisdom to remember that he really is smarter than we are. May he make us magnetic with the love of Christ.