Step Forty Nine

katrina
Step Forty Eight
August 26, 2015
Focus-Banner
Step Fifty
September 11, 2015
faith

Yeah. It’s me. I lied. Going “weekly” didn’t really work out like I thought it would. So I’m going “weeklyish,” as the mood and/or need strikes me. Belay that. As the time to write presents itself.

Oh, there’s been plenty to write about these past few days. Almost too much. One topic, in particular, keeps circling back around, and I keep running away from it. It’s a topic guaranteed to upset at least 95 percent of my audience – from both sides of the political aisle. The other 5 percent – those select elites who find the blog thinking they’re going to get a good deal on a Fitbit® – probably won’t notice.

Or maybe I’ll upset them so much they’ll decide on the Nike.

Without further ado (or additional stalling)…

I oppose gay marriage, from both a public policy and a religious/ theological perspective. And I accept the Bible’s clear teaching that homosexuality is a sin. (There goes half my audience.)

Before the shellacking begins, I want to be absolutely clear about something.

Disagreeing over religiosity and/or public policy is NOT hate. It is just disagreeing. I fully expect to meet many of my gay friends in Heaven, where the Lord Jesus himself will explain to them that I was right and they were wrong, and then we can get right back to eating manna and singing His praises.

It IS possible for me to be delighted for my friends’ happiness, even though I am angered by the mental gymnastics our Supreme Court exercised in making that happiness possible. It IS possible for me to appreciate my friends even if I worry for their relationship with God. (Isn’t that part of what makes a friend, well, a friend?)

We can discuss and debate the pros and cons of gay marriage (or judicial activism) til the cows come home, but I doubt any of us will move very far from our positions. So instead of getting bent about our individual refusals to bend to each other’s perfect logic, let’s do these three things:

  1. Agree to disagree
  2. Cast our ballots according to our conscience
  3. Continue to be friends, however things work out

Now, for the other half of my audience – I do not accept the precept that homosexuals are a special class of sinners who alone have pre-purchased one-way tickets to Hell thanks to their lifestyle choices and flagrant disregard for God’s word on the subject.

For my more conservative friends who can’t possibly be happy with that statement, more detailed discussion is most definitely in order. Said discussion, I think, starts with the #DoNotBeDeceived hashtag that started populating my social feeds a couple weeks ago.

These well-meaning Christians (I presume) are paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9 to read in their minds something along the lines of “Do not be deceived; homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Strictly speaking, it does say that. But, if you accept that, then you need to accept an equally correct paraphrase that reads “Do not be deceived; the covetous will not inherit the kingdom of God.” For that matter, you could substitute pretty much ANY sin – go ahead, pick one and try it out – and the statement would read the same.

Here is the passage, with a bit more, for context:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:9-11

Let me repeat that last part. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Here’s the part where a personal confession is in order. I admit, I struggled with this entire concept for a very long time. Lots of study. Lots of prayer. Lots of refusal to accept what I now believe God was trying to tell me all along. I spent a good deal of my life not understanding  and, frankly, being a little afraid of, homosexuals. Since I am a stickler for words and their meanings, you know what that means.

I was genuinely homophobic.

Today, I still don’t understand the gay lifestyle. I doubt I ever will. But this I do get:

God does not see sin by degree. God sees sinners, and God sees sinners forgiven through his Son. Period.

I am deeply thankful that God forgives homosexuals, and idolaters, and adulterers, and thieves, and drunkards, because that means he forgives me of my sins as well!

Religion, like politics, can get pretty ugly around the kitchen table.  But we’re all friends here. So let’s do these three things:

  1. Agree to disagree
  2. Live our lives, and worship, as our conscience dictates
  3. Continue to be friends who support – and pray – for each other

 

Jeff Peyton
Jeff Peyton
Don’t be fooled by Jeff Peyton's accomplishments in communications, crisis and business management. He also wing-walked on an airplane at 700 feet, co-piloted the Goodyear Blimp and swam with sharks - and still managed to obtain paperwork officially declaring him “legally sane.” Really.

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