How should Christians react to the legalization of gay marriage?
A New York Times headline reads, "Same-Sex Marriage Is a Right, Supreme Court Rules, 5-4." After many long fights, gay marriage is officially legal. Social media is lighting up and so are people.
What should Christians' responses be in the face of a decision that goes against one of their beliefs? While Christians think homosexuality is wrong, much of the culture believes gay marriage is acceptable and now has the might of law on its side.
Despite being outnumbered and overpowered in political efforts, Christians still have (at least) five powerful things they can do to keep from getting distracted and to further the actual goals of their own faith:
1. Don't get ugly. Friends, if you're angry about this decision and need to vent, please stay away from social media. The world is looking at the Christian community right now for how it will react. Let's not let our first reaction be one of derision, mockery, hate, or anger.
2. Show love to everyone. While the world is watching us, let's be a picture of loving care for people. There are people out there hurting, and some of them have been hurt by people who called themselves Christians. Remember: life's not about religion. It's about love. Instead of arguing over this decision, invite someone who's hurting to hang out. Invite someone over for lasagna. Buy someone a gift. Tell people how much they mean to you. Tell people they impress you. Ask them questions about themselves. Bring them food, clothes, or rent money. All of this regardless of their sexual preferences.
These are ways to show love as Jesus commanded in Matthew 22:39: "And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Loving others and obeying Christ are our primary objectives.
3. Remember that this ruling isn't personal. This isn't about you, and it isn't about us. Just because people of the same gender want to marry each other doesn't mean that everyone has a personal vendetta against your morals. They're not trying to "destroy the founding principles of America." Most of them just love each other and want to be free to do that legally. Even if you think they're wrong, those people are not trying to hurt you; they're just doing what they think is right and would benefit everyone overall. If you find yourself in a discussion about this, remember not to make it personal. Discuss the situation calmly, logically, and lovingly. Hate and anger will only further entrench everyone.
4. Forget politics and imitate Jesus. God didn't call us to political activism or to legislate morality for others. Our simple primary jobs are found in Ecclesiastes 12:13, Matthew 22:36-40 (seen above), and Matthew 28:16-20 (seen below). Respectively, we are to fear God and to keep his commandments, we are to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves, and we are to make disciples. Homosexual sex may be forbidden in the Bible, but don't get your primary jobs muddled when discussing the Supreme Court's decision.
5. Remember that you're a Christian first. You may be a patriotic American, but as a Christian, there's a long list of other things you are first: a follower of Jesus, a family member, a friend, a church member, a lover of others. Your nationality is waaaay down the line. Notice that all of those other things have to do with eternity while a nation is a mortal thing that comes and goes. Don't hitch your wagon to a non-permanent entity.
As C. S. Lewis says in The Weight of Glory,
"Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours."
Don't forget that your faith is about the eternal and immortal, not about what will perish or political ideas invented by man. In The Screwtape Letters, Uncle Screwtape recommends to Wormwood to get his "patient" to think of his faith as "Christianity and ____" whether patriotism, pacifism, conservatism, liberalism, etc. Our faith isn't "Christianity and The Future of America." We must remain primarily focused on Jesus, and He must not be second to anything else in our lives. In a country full of many opinions and ideas of what America is and what it should be, we should focus on figuring out what it means to be a Christian instead.
Fellow Christians, you may not agree with the Supreme Court's decision, but let your love for others win out over your desire to complain, to enforce morality, or to be angry.
The spirit of the living God lives inside of you. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." You don't need to fear for America's decline because American will decline one day; it's inevitable with the coming of the new Heaven and new Earth. In the meantime, remember that God gives you power--not political power but power to love others mightily. Use self-discipline to do what's right yourself and to be a good example of what following God's commands looks like.
Do you know what this Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage really is? It's an opportunity to show more love in more ways. God go with you.
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How do you think Christians should react to the legalization of gay marriage? How can they show the love of Christ in this situation?