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Friday, May 18, 2012

Love, Truth, and Gay Marriage

Ever since the president made his statement about approving of gay marriage, the discussion has really exploded.  I especially enjoyed a series of articles over at the White Horse Inn, the first of which simply pointed out that in a world full of sin, where our worldview is warped away from God, we shouldn’t be surprised at all by this sort of thing.  In fact, it was pointed out, from that warped worldview it even makes sense.

I shared this article with some folks and one well meaning friend responded by simply noting all the places in Scripture where we are told to “love one another,” “bear with one another,” and so on.  Apart from the fact that some of those texts were out of context and really had no application at all to gay marriage, the underlying thought was this:  shouldn’t we in love just let our homosexual friends be.

Of course, the problem with that statement, among other things, is that it misunderstands the concept of love, especially the biblical concept.  We have this idea of love that just focuses on happiness.  I love you, so I want you to be happy.  Which is true, I want my loved ones to be happy, but not at the risk of truth and their spiritual well-being.

The command to love one another is not a mushy love.  Not an emotional response based on happiness that quickly leaves when the happiness is not evident.  Instead, it is an act of the will.  It is a conscious choice to serve one another, to encourage one another, to forgive one another, to seek the others highest good, and to bind ourselves together with one another though all things.

Given that idea, when my brother is in sin, when he is harming himself or others, when he is living outside the will of God, I will in love speak the truth.  And really, if we inserted any other sinful/immoral behavior into the argument, we wouldn’t have any trouble.

For example:  My friend is a porn addict.  He’s happy.  Shouldn’t I in love just let him be?  Shouldn’t I seek to normalize his behavior so he doesn't feel ostracized, etc.? 

Or how about:  My friend is a drug addict / alcoholic / adulterer / whatever…  He’s happy.  Shouldn’t I in love just let him be?  Shouldn’t I seek to normalize his behavior so he doesn't feel ostracized, etc.?

No, in love I will go to my brother, point out his sin, point him to the love and forgiveness that is in Christ, and pray for his spiritual well being.  The same is true of my homosexual friend.

Somehow we’ve equated love with tolerance/acceptance of behavior.  We don’t allow that with our children.  I don’t, because I love them, just allow them to do whatever they want regardless of the consequences.  If I let my children do what is harmful and immoral I would be accused of neglect or even abuse.  But somehow that idea of love changes when we’re talking about homosexuality.

Never mind that it is biologically an aberration; never mind that sociologically it’s never shown itself to be beneficial; never mind the myriad of other practical arguments against the behavior.  The truth is, God calls it sin.  Not just in Leviticus/Old Covenant as some argue.  But in the New Testament as well as the issue of sexual immorality is repeatedly discussed, as Romans addresses the issue of our sinful desires, etc.  

And so the loving thing to do is not to look the other way, to tolerate or accept the behavior, let alone to normalize it through gay marriage.  In love we should desire the highest good for one another.  That highest good is to seek Christ and His will, to seek to be delivered from our sinful passions, whether they be homosexuality, pornography, adultery, substance abuse, or anything else.  

Love is not based on tolerance, it’s based on truth.  More specifically, true love is based on God’s truth.  A sinful world will always refute that.  But our goal is not to please or placate a sinful world.  Our goal is to please God, to preach the Gospel, to see men, women and children’s lives changed for eternity.  And that’s the most loving thing we can do. 

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