Marriage as we know it.
Is marriage as we know it changing? Marriage might be one of the most volatile issues in our nation today. This week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. This means that in the states who choose to recognize same-sex marriage, these same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits.
What does this mean for marriage as we know it? I believe that marriage, as God designed it, is intended to be between one man and one woman "until death do you part." This is my conviction based not on politics or society, it is based in what I believe to be the most plain understanding of Scripture. I don't present my belief with an angry voice or a hateful tone. It is simply what I believe. I am very aware that some take offense at this position, that is ok. We live in a world where people hold differing opinions and beliefs so we all better get comfortable with disagreement!
For those who believe as I do, the events of this week can cause us to wonder what is going wrong. The reality is, we have enjoyed the luxury of the most powerful nation in the world supporting our beliefs for a long time. That's a good feeling. But, that is changing. And frankly, I think it creates a an opportunity for us to really consider what we believe and how we behave.
Here are some thoughts I've had lately…
1. I think we are far too focused on same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is NOT the primary threat to marriage as we know it. Very few people are actually involved in same-sex marriages. My concern is the much larger group of people in "hetero-sexual Christian marriages" that take marriage lightly and have abandoned the God-honoring principles of marriage presented in Scripture. It's not a secret that "hetero-sexual Christian marriages" fail at the same rate as any other marriage. Our nation lacks enough compelling cases of God-honoring hetero-sexual Christian marriages. If you are a Christian in a hetero-sexual marriage - put the work in and have a great marriage.
2. The American dream is still alive and well. At the risk of offending those who believe the way I do - I'll go ahead and say, thank you to the homo-sexual community for proving that a minority group can still create majority change in our country. You have fought for your beliefs and you have won! This should only inspire Christians in America that a small group of passionate people can change the world. We saw it with Jesus' disciples in the first century and we can see it again today. Instead of looking at these changes in our society as signs that the "sky is falling" remember that the greatest force on Earth is and always has been the Church of Jesus Christ.
3. We can't expect the government or society to uphold our faith for us. For many years we have enjoyed a nation that upheld enough Christian principles that we as Christians could relax in our faith. Shame on us. Christianity lives within people, not governments. If you are a Christian, accept the personal responsibility and live for Christ. Embody surrender, humility, love and conviction. Look at suffering and rejection as a joy because it aligns you with your Savior. Look at this world not with hateful disdain, but with a heart broken over sin and a relentless commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. Love Works. I truly believe this. The Apostle Paul elevates Love above even our spiritual gifts (see 1 corinthians 12 and 13). Sometimes I feel that to say we need to "love people" no matter what their lifestyle or sinful choices is met with resistance as if it means we are compromising the Truth. I believe it is possible to love people without compromising the truth. From my vantage point, the most common casualties of these kinds of debates are relationships and influence with people more than than a compromise of ideas or truth. I don't think we need to raise our voices or grit our teeth to make the point that Scripture most plainly teaches that homosexuality is a sin and marriage is defined by God as between one man and one woman for life. Honestly, there are tons of people in and around my life that have areas of their lives that don't align with God's truth…and I love them. I believe the greatest way to present Truth is on the canvas of Love. Love is as much about how we behave as it is how we believe.
I hope these thoughts challenge you as much as they are challenging me. I certainly don't have it all figured out but I think it's worth taking some time to think things through. At the end of the day I pray the story on my life will be that Andy loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and loved his neighbor as he loved himself. Thanks for reading.
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