There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the Christian response to homosexuality and gay marriage in particular. Much of the discussion centers on the issue of Christian business people demonstrating their protest (or “taking a stand”) by refusing services to gay people. As you suspect by now, I have some thoughts I want to share in the hopes they might be helpful.
- You should do what is right (as determined by God, not you) whether it is legal or not. In the Old Testament book of Daniel, Daniel continued his pattern of prayer even when it was outlawed and his 3 friends refused to worship an idol even though it was required by law. They also willingly faced the consequences of their stand (the lion’s den and the fiery furnace respectively) and trusted God for the outcome (deliverance on both accounts).
- You have the “right” to take a stand on any issue you want. This goes beyond simply doing what is right. As an individual with the capacity for choice, you can take a stand on anything. Just don’t confuse standing up for your issue with doing what is right. Remember, too, that you are also choosing to face the consequences of making that stand. Additionally, your spiritual liberty frees you to forego your rights for the benefits of others.
- There is a difference between taking a stand for what is right and protesting what you believe to be wrong. As I understand it, I am biblically mandated to do the former but not necessarily always supposed to do the latter. In context of our current discussion, I would certainly say you should “take a stand” if someone tried to force you to marry a person of your same gender. I’m not so certain that we are required, or that it is best, to protest someone else’s sin (especially if they are an unbeliever) by refusing services (cake, catering, photography, etc.) to that person.
- Not everyone who takes a stand against gay marriage is a bigot, but neither is everyone who opposes it a biblically minded follower of Christ. The fact of the matter is, there are bigots and those who are prejudiced on both sides of major issues. It is unwise to defend or condemn everyone who holds a given position, because the same conclusions can be drawn for a variety of reasons.
- Christians should love all righteousness and hate all sin. One of the biggest problems I see recently is that many of the Christians who are suddenly so concerned with taking a stand are inconsistent. I cannot judge the heart, but this inconsistency makes it look as if Christians are simply masking bigotry with Bible verses in the same way many early Americans supported slavery from Scripture (a position which, for the record, is stupid).
- Unbelief is the primary sin I should target for change in unbelievers. As a believer, there are certain sins (sexual ones are certainly included) that the Bible indicates are more detrimental to me and to my walk with the Lord. However, in dealing with the sinful world, the only sin I should be concerned with is their rejection of Christ. Until then, convincing them to stop a specific sin doesn’t save them. Once they believe, then maybe the Holy Spirit could use me to help them deal with other sins.
- Remember that “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).” God did not reserve His love until we deserved it or until we agreed with Him or even until we quit sinning. I think we should follow this example as much as possible.
I realize that my thoughts have the potential to create controversy, but that is not my desire. It is also not at all my desire to dictate to others what they should or should not take a stand on or to appear as if I have all the answers. I do not and I personally still wrestle with how to handle some of these unique cultural issues. My only motivation in sharing the above thoughts is to perhaps aid in the process of making the difficult decisions about where to draw the line when it is not obvious.