Since Friday, I have had conversations with various people including my daughter about the most recent US Supreme Court decision regarding marriage. We all know that the Court redefined marriage in a way that is now binding for all states.
This has caused a response that is unprecedented in America. Never before has such a decision been made when every person could publicly voice their opinion so quickly. The internet and social media have changed the way we live, communicate, and function.
The social media outlets have been in a complete tizzy as my grandmother would say. People have nearly lost their minds in all of this.
My social media feeds have lit up from both sides. You see, I have friends and family that feel very strongly on each side. So, I have seen euphoric celebration, hardcore judment and condemnation, sadness, sarcasm, snark, biting words, and so much more.
I am crushed, heartbroken. Not because of the decision, but because of the reactions.
The decision is not surprising. Every destination starts with a direction. The path we are on in this country is not new, there are certain things that can be predicted. Heartbreak and discouragement come from unmet, unrealized, crushed expectations, wrong assumptions, and placing our hope in the wrong place.
Many are wringing their hands and crying foul over this latest decision. What the organized church of America has not yet realized is it is no longer relevant to society at large. This is not because society is so evil, it is because the church turned its back on society decades ago. Society at large doesn’t care what organized church says or thinks or believes. So trying to speak from a position of moral authority does no good. It just creates more division. Especially since that moral authority was abandoned so long ago. Screaming on Facebook is not causing any positive effect.
I have been asked why I don’t comment more publicly on Facebook about some things. The reason is simple, there is no point in doing so. It won’t change any minds or cause any constructive dialogue.
When people try to dialogue about anything meaningful on social media something gets lost really quickly, civility and respect. This is because on social media it is easy to see a commentor as a label, an enemy, a point to be won by crushing them.
There was a time I tried. In the early days of the internet, I sought out conversations with atheists and others who were against Christianity trying to be a “light” in the darkness of cyberspace. The problem is, it is not being “light” it is being argumentative and adversarial.
This is easy to do sitting alone in front of a flickering screen. Harder to do face to face with a living breathing human being that you can look in their eyes.
Face to face changes things. Face to face I can see your hurt, your fears, your feelings, your humanity.
The only real change that is going to happen is when we as followers of Christ let love rule our hearts first and then work to share that love with those around us.
Of course, there is great debate now about what that means. There are those that claim love means to shout “sinner!” at anyone not living the way we want them to because it is presenting truth which they reason is the truest form of love. Then there are those who claim that love means to accept others the way they are and affirm whatever way they want to live.
We have somewhere along the way believed the lie that to disagree about something is to hate. Even simple things like sports affiliation cause people to judge and form negative opinions about others. If you like a different team than I do then we must be enemies and each think the other is wrong and less than intelligent for their choice.
Every where we turn in society there is division. Some is silly – sports teams, social media preferences, music styles, contestants on reality shows, DC or Marvel comics, Star Wars or Star Trek, white & gold or blue & black, or team this character or team that.
Other divisions are much larger – abortion, Republican or Democrat, alcohol or abstinence, gun rights or gun control, legalization of marijuana, immigration, foreign policy, gay marriage, and the racial issues we are facing….
Our country is in trouble – not because of what the Supreme Court did, but because of what we as its citizens have done and continue to do everyday. We marginalize. We judge. We ignore. We lust. We envy. We lie. We cheat. We steal. We kill. We discriminate. We are gluttons, idolators, drunkards, liars, gossips, murderers. We lack compassion. We deny truth. We seek selfish pleasure, personal gain and temporal over eternal.
As I read all of these posts, rants, and speeches online on both sides of this current issue trying to invoke “love” on their side, my heart truly breaks. Some are using love to justify a lifestyle that contradicts God’s Word. Others are using “love” to bash and condemn and judge.
I have not read or seen too many things that actually honor Christ. Many claim to. Many are using God’s name and God’s Word to back up their point.
That’s the problem. We look to God’s Word to validate opinion. We should look to God’s Word to inform our position and stance on everything. God’s Word is the standard, not a source to quote.
As we look at Jesus’ life, instead of asking “What would Jesus do?” we should look at what Jesus said. Jesus did love everyone. He did acceopt everyone around Him regardless of their lifestyle or sin. Yes, He did call out sin, but what were the sins He called out the most? It was self-righteousness and pride, lack of compassion and judgment of others. These are the things that caused Jesus to tell parables against the religious leaders, politicians, and oppressors. Any other sin Jesus “called out” was only in the context of a conversation with the person to let them know that He knew. One of the more famous ones is the woman at the well. He didn’t beat her down or try to make her feel guilty, He just let her know that He knew the truth. Not once did He shout “sinner!” or any derogatory term that could be used for a woman living her lifestyle.
You see, we all know our sins. We all know our imperfections and struggles. Someone shouting it on the internet, TV, or radio just causes us to be defensive or start rating ourselves compared to the things we see as worse sins.
I find no place in scripture that says we are to judge or convict others. Only ourselves. When we are to confront someone, it is within the body of Christ, not non-believers. I do see where we are to lead people to Jesus and His Word and let the Holy Spirit bring the change that is needed in their lives trusting God to know best.
If Jesus died on the cross to save the murderer, rapist, addict, promiscuous, homosexual, and schemer from their sins: did He not also have to die on the cross just as much for the gossip, liar, glutton, lustful, hater, prideful, instigator, and self-righteous?
All sin nailed Jesus to the cross. Not just the ones we deem worse than what we do. All sin separates us from God. Those sins we live with and justify in our lives by pointing out the sins of others lead us down a road of destruction just as easily.
It’s like a garbage truck looking at a septic truck and saying, “man, I’m glad I’m not that guy!” Both stink and both are full of crap.
Yes, as followers of Christ, we are to look to the Word of God and call those things sin that are sin. But, we are to first remove the plank from our own eye before trying to remove the speck from another’s.
As we do, we will find ourselves much closer to Jesus and will be able to clearly see others as loved completely by a Holy God and pursued passionately by the Savior.
Maybe, just maybe if we all saw others in this way, some things might start to change.
So I ask this, in whom do you trust? Do you trust in a political party? Do you trust in a manmade government? Do you trust in the media? Or do you trust in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
I choose to trust and serve God. Whatever happens in these other things, I still choose to trust and serve God.