Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Love Wins

Over the past week, media has been overrun with the news of the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage. As a result, every feed that I tune into has been turned into one giant colorful debate. Is it right, is it not right, and ultimately, what does God think?

I've been heartbroken witnessing the arguments that have taken place, the hurtful words that have been said, the judgment that has been cast, and the hatred that has been displayed. By everyone.

There are two groups that have been on my heart throughout everything: the LGBT community and my Christian brothers and sisters. There are words to be said to both of them.

To the LGBT community...

First and foremost, I'm sorry. I'm sorry on behalf of all my Christian brothers and sisters. I'm sorry for all the painful, thoughtless words we've thrown at you. I apologize for shunning you. I'm sorry for speaking before listening, condemning without understanding, and for acting out of pride and arrogance rather than love and humility. We've been called to imitate Jesus, and we represent Him poorly sometimes. I'm sorry for giving you such a deficient image of Him. He's the good guy here, I promise.

God loves you. He loves you more than you could fathom, more than you could imagine, and more than you could withstand. His love is everlasting. God knows everything about you. He knows what you are and are not. He is aware of your whole life story. He sees every skeleton in your closet. He knows every single shameful secret you've kept hidden. Heck, you may not believe that He's real. Doesn't matter. He still loves you. More than any person ever could. God's love isn't based on performance. You have it. You can't pay for it, earn it, or deserve it. You simply have to receive it. And He can't and won't force you to accept it. He asks you to choose Him.

To my Christian brothers and sisters...

Stop it. Stop arguing. By fighting each other, we're only defeating ourselves (1 Cor. 6:7). Stop pointing fingers. The world has enough of that. Stop posting Bible verses in hopes of changing someone's mind. It's not helping. We miss Jesus's point when we use His words as weapons against others.

Remember who the real Enemy is. The Supreme Court is not the Enemy. The LGBT community is not the Enemy. The United States is not the Enemy. We aren't supposed to be fighting people; we're here to fight Hell (Eph. 6:12). We're waging a war against darkness, hopelessness, pain, and hatred. Our Enemy is Satan and our most powerful weapon is Love. Utilize it.

Don't forget where you came from. There was a time when you were lost. Remember? And we all know you didn't pull yourself up by your bootstraps and turn your life around. Redemption doesn't work like that. We have done nothing to earn salvation and our faith is not some great achievement. We have been saved by grace through the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8). We are in no position to cast judgment. Jesus expects more failure from us than we expect from ourselves. The truth is, we all deserve death.

Finally, imitate Christ, for to be like Christ is to be a Christian. Examine Jesus's ways and you'll find that he did not condemn, but showed compassion, mercy, and love in every circumstance. Look at how He responded to the woman caught in adultery in John 8. She was dragged before Him, naked and ashamed, by "the keepers of the law." They wanted to kill her. Jesus said, "Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone." One by one, they left until Jesus and the woman were alone.
"Didn't even one of them condemn you?" He asked.
"No," the woman responded.
"Neither do I," Jesus replied.
We see in Jesus that it's not God's wrath, anger, or impending judgment that leads us to change, but rather His kindness (Rom. 2:4). The way of gentleness brings healing. He tells us, "Let me teach you, for I am humble and gentle at heart." The most characteristic feature of the humility of Jesus is His forgiveness and acceptance of others. He comes to us with open arms not pointing fingers. Love is a far better stimulus than pressure or fear.

To be "in the world but not of the world" implies that a Christian is not influenced nor intimidated by the values of our American culture. And if we want to have any impact at all, we must first love America before trying to minister to it. Our love is what will bring hope and change. Therefore "let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." (1 Jn. 4:7-12)

Jesus summed up "the law" with two commands:
1. Love God.
2. Love people.
The rest was crucified with Him on the Cross.

Love wins. Love has and always will continue to win. 

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