Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Colonnade and shops in Bath, England

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to Respond to the Supreme Court Decisions?

Pondering the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court yesterday, I couldn't help but marvel at how these landmark decisions play into our recent themes on Sunday morning. In Habakkuk, the prophet gets a glimpse of what is just over the horizon and headed toward the children of God. 

It's not a pretty sight.

Still, the people of Judah, if they were to be honest, had to take most of the responsibility for what was coming upon themselves. They were guilty of taking God too casually, worshiping other gods and other elements in their lives more than they worshiped God, reacting to situations in a worldly manner, turning their back on the fundamental teachings of the faith and adopting "new and better" ways of doing things. 

Witnessing the anger and rebuke flowing from some believers over the last few days makes me wonder of the church has learned anything over the last 4,000 years. In many cases, it is still responding to the world in worldly ways. It seems some folks still believe that judgment, accusation, divisiveness, arrogance and volatile rhetoric should be met with responses that are similar. To those that are convinced this path is appropriate, I have to ask...

How's that working for you?

I don't care much for the direction our society is headed. I've done my part; voted on the issues (not the people, each of them is as flawed and imperfect as I am), made my opinion known to my representatives, shared the truth whenever I had the opportunity to do so (in love and compassion, I hope) and prayed for our leaders, our country and...yes...the Supreme Court Justices. 

What else can I do?

Sadly, if I were to follow the direction I see some of the modern church taking in the media, particularly in social media...I would go with the flow and respond with angry condemnation of our government, dismay, a resolve to "fight" and a whole plethora of compassion-less, self-righteous rhetoric that will surely be more divisive than a loving body of Christ should ever appear to be. 

I think the most godly response I've seen, so far, comes from one of our elders at WBF. He said this, "We should look at this as opportunity, an opportunity to show and share the gospel, an opportunity for godly marriages to shine. We should not wring our hands and fret. Just keep praying and trusting God but recognize the form of persecution coming. We are going to be looked at as the ignorant ones who just don't get it. We should be driven to our knees in humility even more...."

I've said it before, it bears repeating, "These people are not wrong, they're lost." When we start seeing "the other side" as a field ripe unto harvest (John 4:35) and understand our duty as laborers toward reaping that harvest for the glory of the Lord (Mt 9:37), the church will rise to its fullest potential and we will see love, grace and mercy flow from us in an abundance equal to the amount that flowed to us. We will become the vessels we are designed to be.

Our response, brothers and sisters?

Prayer


Love

Sacrifice

Service

Compassion

Mercy

Grace

The only godly response is to be the most accurate refection of our Lord we can possibly portray. His response? Allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross, all the while asking the Father to forgive and have mercy on those who were pounding the nails into His flesh. They didn't know what they were doing. 

9 comments:

  1. This is Steve Strong - I posted as "Anonymous" because I didn't want to log on with other credentials...

    I have to take issue with your statement "These people are not wrong, they're lost." If we believe Scripture, they are both wrong and lost - as we all are on certain things. But that shouldn't change our reaction and we should love them and try to reach them in a loving, Christ-like way. I know for me this is a difficult thing to do in light of the fact that in many cases they are not only unrepentent, but doggedly trying to gain support for their sin (in schools, courts, media etc.). I confess that I have yet to come to grips with how to best handle this type of sinner and no doubt I have failed miserably.

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    1. As a woman who attend WBF and has grown son who is gay, I would urge you understand that what the gay community wants is not so much support for their sin, but people to respect them as human beings. Yes - my son is sinning. You and I sin all the time too. To just talk about "reaching them" and "loving them" still separates these people loved by God. We're all sinners - we all should love and respect each other without these divisive labels. As the gentleman below said well, let's just look at the logs in our own eyes.

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  2. Right on the point. We need to be drawn ever closer to God because we are in for some rough times ahead.

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  3. We speak the truth because people are wrong, we speak it in love because people are lost.

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  4. As long as a person claiming to be a Christ follower has the attitude that "you are wrong and I am right" then the "I" is going to be seen as a hypocrite. Even taking the attitude that "they're lost" projects a belief of some sort of superiority. Like the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-14, one needs to address their own sin and let God deal with someone else's. "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." Being confident in your relationship with Christ is fine, but throwing it in someone's face as being better than theirs, then offering to say the Sinner's Prayer with them, is like beating someone over the head with a sign that says "Repent! God Loves You!" They'll definitely get a message, but it won't be the one you hoped for. The elders statement, "We should look at this as opportunity ... for godly marriages to shine" is spot on! The Christian community has a huge log in our eye with regards to the sanctity of marriage. Depending on the survey, a divorce rate among Christians of 35% to 60% doesn't give us anything to be proud about nor to put forth as a shining example of how our belief in marriage is better than anyone else's.

    It's amazing how Jesus could achieve that perfect balance of speaking truth with grace. I don't know how to do it, but it always involved love and God's perfect timing.

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  5. I believe we can all agree that the only response is to be on our ones before the One who is in control, and who can truly bring about change. Of course, as it has been said, we must approach it with humility and love; otherwise, we portray ourselves as the ' creaking' gate. Admittedly, I struggle with this approach, as much as I know what I read and believe in Scripture; nonetheless, not my will...I believe John said it best a few weeks ago when he said (and I'm slightly paraphrasing) we should be silent, praying, and waiting.

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  6. Wonderful words of wisdom, John. It seems as if the church is still often standing waiting to cast the first stone, and we know how Jesus has responded to that scenario. Recently I read and article by a man named Russell Moore, he says " Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is calling the cosmos toward his kingdom, and he will ultimately be Lord indeed. Regardless of what happens with marriage, the gospel doesn’t need “family values” to flourish. In fact, it often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it.... Same-sex marriage is headed for your community. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. It’s a time for forgiven sinners, like us, to do what the people of Christ have always done. It’s time for us to point beyond our family values and our culture wars to the cross of Christ as we say: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

    And that’s good news.

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  7. I'm a Grace filled talk radio (informed citizen) listener. I am of the belief that "all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".
    Growing up in the church, as a child, preachers would preach it is not a christian's place to be involved in politics. Well, we see how that worked out for us. The answer is not in a politician, but I believed we need to "occupy" til Christ comes; not give ground back to the enemy(satan). Men died to keep our country free; we dare not give it up just because we are too pious to make any waves.

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  8. As for the "gay" wanting respect as human beings... the best way to respect them is to reach them in the midst of their sin, not to be "tolerant". Share with them that they can have their needs met ONLY in Christ. It's not about behavior for any of us, but where we are drawing our source of LIFE from. If you are lost, you are dead in your sins and in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. If you are saved, you are a new creature; old things have passed away and all things are become new. We can still choose to sin, but we don't "have to" anymore :)

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