Let’s be honest, deep down inside many of us just want to adopt a policy of ‘tolerance’ towards gay marriage. At times, it seems as though we’re the bad guys who are just hatefully standing in the way of true love. Who are we to deny love, right? Can’t we just give a little pass on this whole gay-marriage thing? I mean, if Hollywood-that great beacon of marital bliss and fidelity-says it’s okay, can’t we just agree with those wise celebrities? Sarcasm aside, I’ve been struggling with this issue a lot lately and have many friends who share the same struggles, too. It seems as though I’ve witnessed two primary reactions.
- Resignation: No one likes to be the ‘bad guy’ and our culture is becoming increasingly hostile to anyone who disagrees with their beliefs. For example, a website called Upworthy has a propaganda video and the title is If This Video Makes You Uncomfortable Then You Make Me Uncomfortable. The point is that anyone who disagrees with the point of view of the video is just plain wrong and awkward and needs to get with the times. I truly think the ultimate force that causes people to ‘give in’ is good old fashioned peer pressure. Even as I write this now, I’m cringing at the comments I might receive from open-minded people who will spew hatred at me for my beliefs. Subscribing to a traditional, biblical view of marriage is becoming more and more passe. Which brings me to the second reaction many of us have.
- Anger: Others seem to become more defensive every time they discuss this issue. This is where I struggle on this issue. I don’t feel as though my rights are being respected or my point of view is being heard or even being accurately represented. Instead, I feel like I’m being bullied or pressured and I want to fight back. Why should I abandon my beliefs about marriage ? My beliefs span millenia and serve as the foundation upon which our civilization is built, your beliefs are about 5 minutes old and will obviously lead to polygamy, polyamory, and people marrying goats, pillows, pets, and even cartoon characters. Of course, a defensive posture will surely never win anyone over but only serve to deepen the divide over this issue. Surely there must be a better way…
Down in the weeds of this highly emotional issue, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly at stake. What if gay marriage isn’t a matter of equality but a matter of eternity?
To those who will disagree with me, before you start with, “well that’s what you believe but that isn’t what I believe and you shouldn’t force your beliefs on others,” let’s get one thing straight: neither of us believes we are wrong. No one holds beliefs that they think are false; that would be absurd. Everyone who supports legalizing gay marriage believes that they are right for doing so. But that’s what you believe and you shouldn’t force your beliefs on me. (See how easy it is to turn the tables?) Now, before you say, “well that doesn’t mean that other people shouldn’t have the legal option to marry, just because you disagree with them” let’s get another thing straight: if you’re free to believe gay marriage should be legalized, them I’m free to believe that it should not. That’s the name of the game when it comes to diversity and tolerance; you have to accept that not everyone will agree with you, otherwise you are neither diverse nor tolerant.
Now to Christians, I say again, what if gay marriage isn’t a matter of equality but a matter of eternity? Our opposition to ‘gay marriage’ must be rooted in love for homosexuals. For far too long, society–and especially the Church–has ostracized homosexuality as though it is an especially horrible sin. This has been wrong and the sudden surge of acceptance of homosexual people has been a good thing. Some of us seem surprised to find out that *gasp* homosexuals are people, too! They are just as deserving of acceptance, friendship, and love as any heterosexual. However, this does not mean we should also accept homosexual behavior. I hope you see the distinction I’m drawing here: there is a difference between homosexual temptation and homosexual behavior; there is a difference between a person and their actions.
Now, regarding eternity… If there is a God, and if we will all one day face judgement, and if He has clearly defined any behavior as offensive to His character–be it lust, greed, pride, whatever–the most loving thing we can possibly do is warn anyone and everyone to repent and turn to God. That includes homosexuals, heterosexuals, democrats, republicans, blacks, whites, rich, poor, blue-collar, white-collar, men, and women. The most hateful thing we can possibly do is, in the name of open-minded tolerance, assure someone that their sinful behavior is acceptable. It is not, and to encourage any form of sinful behavior puts their blood on our hands. Rather than responding with resignation or anger, we need to respond with compassion and wisdom. We must compassionately pray for, talk to, and interact with anyone who struggles with any sin out of a desire to see them reconciled to their Creator.
One last thought to anyone who still disagrees with me: if I claim to be a Christian, and I claim that any behavior results in eternal damnation and separation from God, then what kind of Christian would I be if I did not oppose that behavior? If I believe that lust destroys marriages, perverts healthy relationships and dehumanizes us all, what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t warn someone to stop looking at porn? If I believe that greed causes people to sell their souls in exchange for riches, what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t encourage someone to start being generous. If I believe that resentment poisons the heart and prevents people from seeing God’s grace, what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t encourage people to forgive? If I believe that homosexual activity is as sinful as heterosexual activity outside of marriage, what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t urge homosexuals and heterosexuals to pursue purity in God’s eyes? What if I don’t view this as a matter of equality, but a matter of eternity?