Preliminary Thoughts Concerning Homosexual Marriage
The hornet’s nest has again been stirred. We all knew that it was only a matter of time before the issue of homosexual marriage would again catapult itself into the national spotlight. The last decade has shown no other subject has the ability to captivate the public’s attention as quickly or divisively. This emotionally charged topic is proving to be more than just a campaign strategy or political litmus test, however. It is rapidly becoming the issue upon which the culture holds the legitimacy of Christianity in the balance. How we handle this delicate situation may very well prove to be the defining moment for how an entire generation of Americans views the Body of Christ. When an issue like this is thrust into the national consciousness, it forces us all to wrestle—to one degree or another—with the various facets of the debate. I would like to take this time to briefly outline what I believe to be two important cautions that, if ignored, will greatly contribute to the Church’s loss of credibility with the unbelieving world.
First and foremost, Christians must make sure that all of our words and actions are completely saturated in love. It has become cliché for Believers to say that it is important that we show love to the homosexual community, but the collective actions of the Body demonstrate otherwise. It is time that we demonstrate the love of our Savior by doing more than just talking about it. Some relatively simple actions can go a long way in this manner. For example, move the chapter about loving the homosexual community to the front of the book on gay marriage instead of leaving it tucked away in the appendices. Put a little extra effort into finding different illustrations for our sermons instead of defaulting to an attack on “the gay agenda.” And stop using the offensive comparison of gay marriage and bestiality. Not only does this analogy lessen one’s credibility, but it is too easily defeated to be of any use. In short, it may very well prove to be that the best way to love the homosexual community is to stop being un-loving. We must love our neighbors more than we love our political agenda. Winning the battle over marriage should not come at the cost of tarnishing the Bride of Christ.
Second, we must remember that marriage gets its significance by virtue of being an institution ordained by God, not by the rulings of legislatures or judges. The state’s position on marriage is important, don’t misunderstand me, but of far greater importance is how the Church deals with marriage. We should be far more concerned that the Episcopal Church recognizes gay marriage than we should be about the state of Massachusetts. The holiness of marriage is not lessened by what a government rules. It’s holiness is derived from the fact that it is a representation of Christ’s relationship to the Church, not from the tax benefits married couples receive.
In conclusion let me clarify that I am not saying this issue is not important. Truly, it is hard to overstate its significance. What I am saying, however, is that of far, far greater significance is the preservation of the Gospel message and it’s impact on a broken and hurting world. Behind the policy debates, political posturing, and fear-mongering is a lot of broken, abused people (both gay and straight) that need to be shown the love of Christ. Homosexuality is not the unforgiveable sin, nor is it damning in and of itself. We are saved not based on our sexual orientation but by the atoning work of Jesus. Let us not forget that the eternal souls of every single person involved in this debate is of infinite greater importance than whether or not the state recognizes same-sex unions. So, as you engage this debate, make sure it is in a manner that is in a manner that reflects the love of Christ. There is more at stake than here than laws and court decisions.