Where Is The Balance?
In the past week, I’ve been called a bigot, a hater, had people wish I died, and had people wish Christians had died, been rounded up and killed, or experienced their own personal holocaust.All this came from proponents of gay marriage. The media won’t cover most of this. The media sees most stories as victims versus victimizers and those who support gay marriage are the victims. They get the positive media coverage.In reality, though, throughout this week I’ve seen a number of Christians engaged in as much hate filled rhetoric as gay marriage proponents, including the pastor in North Carolina who encouraged parents to beat up their gay acting sons.As a Christian, I cannot support gay marriage, nor can I accept practicing homosexuality as anything but a sin. At the same time, there are a lot of Christians out there who seem convinced they aren’t sinners. In fact, we are all sinners and as I have matured in my faith, I have a harder and harder time understanding how so many Christians can be so tolerant of so much sin, but treat homosexuality as some sin set apart from all other sins making it a worse sin than, for example, adultery.This is a political blog and I try to leave my theological ramblings for special occasions, but I think this needs to be said.Christianity is a religion premised on God’s love. We are to hate sin, but we are to love sinners. For non-Christians, that may make them rage about Christian hypocrisy, but it should not. I have gay friends. They all know where I stand on this issue. But they also know that I know that I too am a sinner. For me to love myself and hate them would just be sin on top of sin. We all, like sheep, have gone astray and I am no better than they are nor they better than me.Hearing a pastor encourage parents to commit violence on their sons because they may be gay is offensive to me. Hearing Christians refer to gays with slurs is offensive. At the same time, hearing gay rights proponents wish Christians would die is equally offensive. Hearing gay rights proponents derisively call a Christian a bigot for standing on principle is offensive.What many people tend to forget is that Christianity is not a religion premised on some of us getting to heaven and others not. Christianity is actually a religion premised on not one single person getting to Heaven. All of us are on the express train to hell. All of us.I no more belong in Heaven than the Pope or Billy Graham and they no more belong in Heaven than me. None of us belong there.We get there by God’s own grace given through our saving faith in Christ. Believing in Christ gets us a “get out of jail free” card, but that card does not mean we don’t belong in jail.Those of us who are going to Heaven view ourselves as passing through this place. But we have an obligation to fight for what we believe in and to stand up for our values. We know not just that society, over several thousand years, worked out that marriage between a man and woman is the best organization for society and we should not change that just because some people think it would make them happy or be fair.We also, as Christians, know that marriage is an institution set up by God where man and woman become one being designed to glorify God. That’s why we can’t support changing marriage’s definition.But as I defend marriage as it exists, and recognize that many opponents on this issue will see anything Christians say and do as examples of bigotry and hate, we Christians should reflect our values with love of our fellow sinners, not condoning violence.Liberals view the Golden Rule as they do the Commerce Clause — a theological blank slip to justify any action they want as the commerce clause is a constitutional blank slip to do whatever they want legally.Evangelical Christians should remember the Golden Rule and treat others with the love and respect we wish to be shown. But we should also know the limits of application for the Golden Rule and remember that sometimes loving others means saying no.The balance in an increasingly secular world is difficult for Christians to maintain. As the world comes down on our values, it is easy to react back with hostility. But as I noted on twitter the other day, for all the people calling me a bigot and saying I am out of step with the advance of history, my response is that I am not concerned about being on the right side of history. I am concerned about whose side I am on, on the last day of history.There will be a last day. And though I may lose in this lifetime, on the last day Christ wins and I through him.There are real rights and real wrongs and we should not be so eager to accommodate this world as to be silent on right and wrong. But we should not be so eager to show our separation from this world by pouring out contempt for others who, like ourselves, have fallen short of the glory of God.The balance is not easy, but let’s try not to go wobbly.