I was asked a few days ago, “does God hate homosexuals?” My first response was simple, “is that a passive aggressive statement?” After determining that it was, my next reply came; “No, the Jesus of scripture doesn’t hate anyone.”
Admittedly, in the past few days I’ve felt provoked, irritated, & even angry as my twitter & Facebook accounts have erupted with passionate responses & hurtful debates in reaction to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling.
So after sifting through so many responses of friends & acquaintances I’d like to shed some light on 2 Misconceptions that I’ve see & ultimately challenge the church.
- Love & Jesus. We’ve wrongly concluded that love is permissive & passive. This has created a culture that elevates agreement to the highest level of love & therefore has began to create a God in their own image, a “loving” god of agreement.
- Love does not always have to agree.
- True love forgives sin but it will not permit sin.
- Hate & The Church. The second misconception comes out of the first, because love is agreement hate must than be disagreement. However, one of the purposes of the church is to present itself as a counter cultural community that is called by Christ to reflect the characteristics of scripture over the characteristics of culture. In other words, the church will always fundamentally disagree with the world. In fact, the greater the separation the saltier the church. Two Implications:
- Unless the church compromises, the world will always accuse the church of hatred.
- Beware of any criticism that makes generalized statements about the church universal that are simply not true or impossible to measure.
The Churches Challenge to Homosexual Marriage: We are called as a church to Display Truth & Grace by Disagreeing in Love & convicting with kindness. Sowhat does the love of Jesus really look like? I leave you with this story & last observation…
The scribes & pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in the act of Adultery. They pointed out that the law of Moses required for the women to be stoned to death. Jesus famously responded, “let him who has no sin cast the first stone. One by one each man cast their stones aside & walked away until Jesus was left alone with this woman.”
Ultimately, Jesus makes a profound statement that I believe answers the question on how the church is to always respond to any behavior that breaks the law of God. Jesus say’s, “Woman, has no one condemned you? She said, ‘No, Lord, no one.’ & Jesus replied, “neither do I condemn you; go, & from now on sin no more.”
Last Observation: The Churches struggle is to try & always Stay right in the middle of Grace & Truth where Jesus lives. Culture & critics may tempt the Church to lean one way or the other but we must remain steadfast in our position.
We are the voice that declares the paradigm of No Condemnation & Sin no more. Always careful not to give in to the temptation of over emphasizing one without the other. No condemnation alone produces an enablement of the sinner, while Sin no more creates a legalistic pursuit justified by works. Instead, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are called to live where Jesus lived constantly giving out both grace & truth, never allowing the fear of persecution, misunderstanding, & alienation to silence our unique paradigm.