We have all heard the news about California’s ban on same-sex marriage being struck down. I was listening to NPR the morning after the decision and one of the state officials was recorded as saying ‘I believe the institution of marriage has been strengthened by this court decision’. As a Christian, I disagree fully. This is obviously against what the Bible teaches.
What was interesting about the radio program was that, at one point they turn attention to a Christian in the crowd (who had traveled a long distance to protest) holding a sign saying ‘God hates homosexuality’. While I would agree that God is against homosexuality, I would have to question the method employed by this particular Christian in getting this message across. Let me explain.
First off, let me make it clear that I am not going to take Matthew 7 out of context by saying ‘we as Christians cannot make judgments’. This verse is often taken out of context. We live in an age of relativity, where it is not ‘appropriate’ to claim to know what truth is. This feeds into society’s hypersensitivity, a fear of offending others, or calling truth what it is. As Christians, belief in absolute truth is fundamental to our faith. The Bible is authoritative, and is absolute in all areas of truth that it speaks to.
Back to the Christian with the hate sign, there is a difference between critical condemnation (fault finding) and using discernment in guidance. Matthew 7 was not intended to disarm Christian’s from making discerning judgment on matters of truth and error. In Matthew 7, Jesus warns us about making harsh judgments while assuming we are immune ourselves.
I believe we should make judgments and uphold God’s truth. But, in making judgments keep ourselves in mind, as well as those whom we are talking to. We should judge with mercy. The first priority should be on our own purity, I doubt most Christians spend much time in reflection, fully examining our own lives. We, as Christians need to be the prophetic voice in our culture. I think we should take heed to the words of third century Rabbi Hillel, who once said, ‘Do not judge your brother until you have come to his place’. Once we have become aggressive in examining ourselves, we can become more Christ like in guiding others (Galatians 6:1).
There is a difference between calling people what they are, and leading people towards Christ. The man with a sign models the former.
Our primary purpose should be bringing others to see the Glory of God in the Gospel, the love of God displayed in the life and work of Christ, and the power for change in the Holy Spirit. This truth becomes tainted by uncaring Christians who condemn people who have no context for their condemnation. Any time Christ corrected someone in their sin, he offered life. The goal should always be restoration to God. It’s much easier to hold up a sign than it is to lovingly invest in someone’s life by showing them their error.
We must also remember that prejudging how people will respond to the Gospel is not our task. It might be pertinent to add that forcing God’s truth on those who show no inclination towards righteousness bears little fruit. Praying that God would open their eyes to see their desperate need of a savior, thats another story. Something not often communicated on a posterboard sign that reads ‘God hates homosexuality’. Oh that we would be loving in defending the truth.