Monday, November 03, 2008

Truth tempered with grace

I have always considered myself a very liberal Christian, “careful” so as not to upset anyone (believer or non-believer) and so afraid of turning people away from Christ that I’ve likely missed many opportunities to turn them toward Christ. And so, as those of you who know me will attest, for me to actually sit down and write about an issue of faith that is proving to be more divisive than unifying among Christians, I must actually feel quite passionate about it. Alas, I’ve held my tongue long enough. Let’s discuss Proposition 8, shall we?

I will preface by saying that I have had many friends who are homosexual and I have and do love them all dearly and treat them no different than of my other friends. I have always struggled with the idea of tolerance and have more often than not compromised my faith to avoid alienating non-believers. I don’t struggle with the idea of homosexuality. God leaves no doubt that it is an issue of sin and if I tow the line on this one, where DO I draw the line? I have always steered clear of moral debates, never wanting to appear holier than thou. And now as I take a stand in favor of Prop 8, I do so, not feeling morally superior to others, but simply because God has asked me to speak the truth IN LOVE. My calling may not be the same as 90% of this country, but does that mean I should abandon all that I know to be true in my heart to fit in? Being a Christian does not mean winning a popularity contest. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But God warned of this many times. Christians will suffer in this world. We will be persecuted. Those who went before actually died for their faith and yet we struggle with checking a box on a ballot. Most of us aren’t even called to be martyrs, but simply to speak the truth and yet, we are failing to do so.

I went to a new church this past Sunday (and no, I did not implode upon entering – God still has room for a prodigal’s daughter) and the message spoke loud and clear. How do we share our faith? Truth tempered with grace, right? Absolutely! I will be the first one onboard the grace train. I will gladly extend grace to any sinner who desires it and would hope that God and others deal with me accordingly, but the presence of grace does not roll out the red carpet for the acceptance of sin. And at the core of the issue, I do believe homosexuality is a sin. You cannot have an honest discussion about faith in God without discussing sin (and I firmly believe this conversation should always begin with my own personal sin). Without the acknowledgement of sin, there is no room for a message of redemption and our biggest fears would be realized. The Bible would truly become just a book with a series of great stories, legends, and songs. But the Bible is more than that. The Bible is hope, salvation, and absolute truth. It isn’t a collection of opinions, some of which we may choose to adopt as our own and others we can sidestep as we see necessary. I’ve told my husband (who is not a Bible believer) on many occasions that I don’t necessarily like everything God calls me to stand for, but I don’t get to pick and choose. If I claim it as truth, then I claim ALL of it as truth. And he has told me countless times that he would not respect me if I didn’t.

At the heart of the matter - to me anyway - is this: I refuse to be a moral drifter and I am not saying my morals are right or wrong, but they are my morals and I must defend them at all costs. I was not put on this Earth to make a million friends. I was put on this Earth to serve a loving God and share His message in duality. Truth without love is brutality, but love without truth is disobedience. To stand idly by and allow what I believe to be sin to creep into society is to disobey God.

I’ve been told to just not vote at all, because in essence, the lives others choose to live do not affect mine. I believe drunk driving is a sin also, and pedophilia, abortion, etc. The list is endless, I could even add arrogance, pride, and greed to that list. If there were a proposition to legalize any of these things, I would vote against it as well. In my eyes, if anything I deem sinful crosses my path and I have been given the freedom to speak out against it, it is my duty as a Christian to do so. Suppose Martin Luther King “just didn’t get involved?” There would have been no civil rights movement. The fact that gay marriage has already been legalized in California in the first place says to me that someone got involved! It is my privilege and obligation as a citizen of this country to do the same. I make no apologies where this is concerned and I would expect people on both sides of this issue to do the same. We have been given many choices in this life; what we do with them is one of the few things in our lives we can actually control. And if I choose to take no stance on sin, I’m not leaving much room for God to work. Without sin, Jesus was a great prophet. But with the acknowledgement of sin, Jesus was and is a loving savior. If I chose to abuse my darling little son, I would hope others would not simply turn the other cheek and allow me to live my life the way that I see fit. I would hope someone would send my little angel a savior to rescue him from the darkness. And that, my friends (hehehehe) is what I believe God has called His children to do. I’m not claiming to be anyone’s savior, but I know someone who is and I’m pretty certain He won’t be standing outside the voting booths whispering, “Shhhh, now is not the time to tell them about me.”

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