Same-Sex Marriage Is Not the End of the World
I’m a Bible-believing, born again, and devout Christian. And I have no problem with this morning’s headlines about the legalization of same sex marriage in the state of New York.
Over the last two years, Americans’ opinion of same sex marriage has shifted dramatically. The last time a same sex marriage bill was proposed in New York, it was soundly rejected. Not a single Republican supported it and eight Democrats voted no. Now just two years later, the bill passed and polls reveal that nearly 60% of New Yorkers are in favor of same sex marriage. In 2009, that number was closer to just 30%. A dramatic turnaround, indeed.
Now people of all of backgrounds are celebrating what many believe is a significant advancement for the gay community. A same sex marriage bill passing in New York bodes well for hopefuls in Oregon, Maine, Washington, and Maryland, all who are considering similar measures. Public opinion continues to trend in favor of same sex marriage and each victory in the courtroom seems to improve public opinion while providing momentum for the next hurdle. To those that have tirelessly labored for what they believe in, congratulations.
On the other hand, Christians are left reeling. Some are discouraged to see America continuing the abandonment of Biblical principles. Many are visibly angry. And even more are lamenting the end of times and resorting to hateful speech and declarations. Christians appear to be losing social initiatives surrounding abortion and same sex marriage, and it hurts. But it isn’t as bad as we think.
I’m not worried about the decision in New York because I believe our battle, as Christians, is not in the courtroom – and it never was. I believe same sex marriage should be legal with as much conviction as I believe homosexuality is a sinful disobedience of God’s order for our lives. The fact that another same sex marriage bill was passed is only a symptom of a greater failure by the church to inspire a nation to trust, follow, and obey God. We should be fighting, with love, for the hearts of sinners – not for courtroom trump cards. Forcing agendas through legal action was never Christ’s method of winning souls and it shouldn’t be ours either.
History has taught us that banning things does not work. You can change a law but you can’t change a man’s heart, and the heart will pursue what it desires regardless of the law. Praying for God to reverse pro-abortion or pro-same sex marriage bills is in one sense a lost cause. Even if God did intervene and reverse those bills, the hearts of men and women across the nation will remain unchanged. Instead, we need to be praying for people, not laws. We need to pray for conviction, forgiveness, and healing – not the success of legal agendas.
While my argument might lead you to think that I’m a liberal Christian letting his principles slip into the controversial oblivion of social acceptance, please do hear clearly that I am strongly opposed to homosexuality. The Bible is very clear on this issue and I believe it is a sin no better or worse than adultery, pornography, murder, idolatry, and every other offense outlined in the Bible. Like so many in the church, I’m disappointed to see my country and my faith lose moral ground in the courtroom. But I’m even more disappointed to recognize that we are losing in the hearts of our neighbors, too. And that’s the real problem here.
As you reflect on the vote in New York, most likely the first of many more same sex marriage bills to pass, do not lose heart. Please do not turn to angry words, judgment, or political rhetoric. Instead, refocus your energy on the one place we should have been laboring all along – in the hearts and lives of the people around us. In business it’s called a pivot or re-targeting; the moment where you realize a well-intended strategy was poorly targeted and you pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and adjust your aim for a more effective path.
It is possible to take a stand against homosexuality (and abortion) without doing it in the courtroom. Taking a stand for what you believe in, and drawing a line in the sand upon God’s moral requirements, does not have to be a combative political movement. Taking a stand for the morality you believe in does not have to be a social war fought on the Internet, in the polls, and in the courtroom. Instead it is a spiritual war manifested through kindness where your efforts are targeted at loving others until they understand the love of God and are ultimately convicted by it. At the end of the day, love is still the answer.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on how Christians can more effectively engage and influence American society beyond the polls, capitols, and courtrooms.
Photo Credit: albany_tim (via Flickr, Creative Commons)