It is interesting that the rainbow is the symbol that seems to be stuck in the middle of this argument about marriage. A lot of people get bent out of shape when they see the rainbow now because they feel like it has been stolen from a “biblical” point of view but maybe it helps us have at least one thing in common in this constant debate.
For people of the Christian faith, the rainbow is a symbol of grace, love, redemption and faithfulness. God created the rainbow as a symbol that the flood that was visited on the earth, in ancient times, would not happen at that magnitude ever again. When we see the rainbow, it reminds us of the God of grace. It reminds us that when judgment should be visited on us, we get a beautiful rainbow instead. All grace, no hate. All mercy and no “getting what I deserve.” The rainbow is a beautiful thing. It reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us, despite what our response is to Him.
For a lot of people, the Supreme Court decision on marriage has caused a lot of anger. It has sparked a lot of good and bad conversation in the last week. I’ve read quite a few blogs on it and have been both proud and ashamed of a few of our Christian brothers and sisters for their commentary on it. Marriage should be held in high regard and I do believe that God created marriage to be between a man and a woman. However, like many situations in life, how we react in times like this will reveal the true nature of our heart (Luke 6:45), so we need to be careful how we respond to others. Here are a few thoughts that I had about the issue.
1) No one can redefine marriage for you -If you believe that God defined marriage as a life long union between a man and a woman, as I do, don’t back away from that opinion (Genesis 2:18-24). Don’t shove that opinion down everyone else’s throat, as if they HAVE to believe as you do. That isn’t loving. But if you are asked about your opinion, express it plainly and lovingly. Make it clear what your opinion is, in a loving way, and then speak kindly to the other side of the argument. Express love for them and speak to them as friends because they are.
2) Love is still the key identifying factor for us – Many people think the Bible says “They will know we are Christians because we have better and more logical arguments” or “Because we are right!!!” What it really says is “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). Of course love is not telling people what they want to hear nor is it simply accepting someone. Acceptance is a part of the deal though. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t acceptance of that person’s opinion necessarily. It is accepting that person as a friend or someone that you can love. Love also involves truth. I am well aware of that. (Ephesians 4:15). That’s why I said in the previous section to speak what you believe to be true but do it lovingly. However, extending judgment to someone where we could have extended to them mercy, as God shows us mercy, is unacceptable (Ephesians 4:32).
3) Freedom of Religion is a Good Thing – Freedom of religion is something that this country was founded on. Let me clear some things up before I continue with this point because some people are already mad after reading that statement. Yes, I believe our kids should be allowed to pray in school. Yes, I believe that freedom of religion means that children who are Jesus followers should be able to express their opinions, in a loving way, just like everybody else. However, let’s speak honestly with one another. We are living in a post Christian society. Christianity is still the largest religion represented in America but the values of America no longer reflect Christianity. So when the majority of people in America are not Christians, which is slowly happening, I want to be free to express my belief in Jesus as I see fit. If we don’t have freedom of religion, that might not happen in the future. Our founding fathers were pretty stinking smart.
4) Christianity Thrives as an Underground Movement – We don’t have to be in the majority to make an impact. God, on average, uses a remnant of people who are faithful to Him to make an enormous impact on others. See also Gideon, Daniel, the 12, and the early church. Sure in Acts there is an enormous movement that occurs that catapults the numbers of church goers and the spread of Christianity. I think that was absolutely necessary for the movement to continue and have the strength to scatter and reach the masses all over the globe. That being said, we cannot legislate belief. We can’t make laws to lead people to Christ. But we can be true to our belief, love people as Jesus loved them and tell them about the transforming power of Christ. Which leads me to my last point.
5) The Priority is the Gospel – My bottom line in life is that people hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and have a chance to respond. Not only do I want them to respond on some level, I want them to be changed by it. If I am spewing venom at a person that believes differently than I do, they will never hear that message. Not only will they not hear it but they will look at that message with disdain, having never really heard the life saving message that God loves them, wants to know them and wants their life to be radically transformed by Him. I need to go to God in prayer and ask Him to help me speak the truth in love. Help me to discern between the moment where people need to know what my belief about the subject matter is and when do I need to simply love that person and wait for my next opportunity.