(If you weren’t already aware, yesterday the Minnesota State Senate voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage. Governor Dayton will, to no one’s surprise, sign the bill today, making Minnesota the 12th state in America to legalize gay marriage.)
To my fellow Christians:
I want you to consider a parable, from Luke 18: Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Seeing how many of you reacted yesterday to the legalization of gay marriage saddened and discouraged me. I saw declarations of condemnation and despair. I saw St. Paul and Minneapolis compared to Sodom and Gomorra. Like the Pharisee above, many of you were looking at the perceived sins of another and justifying yourselves.
But we are all sinners. If we have received mercy, why are we so reluctant to extend it?
You who are condemning this development, have you been ministering to the lost – gay or straight? Have you been offering them the hope and grace and mercy of Christ, no matter their sin? Or have you been placing your own hope in this system of politics? Don’t you know that’s idolatry?
Perhaps we are like Sodom. The book of Ezekiel says the sin of Sodom was pride and not providing for the poor and needy despite their abundance. We have an abundance of life in Christ. If we are not offering that life to the needy – all sinners, everywhere – then we, as the Church, deserve the same judgment.
We need to get back to being the Bride of Christ instead of the City of Sodom. I think the way to do that is this. First, we need to humble ourselves like the tax collector above. Recognize your own sin, your need for mercy and grace. Next, find a way to serve someone. Jesus said to do good to those who harm you and pray for those who persecute you. So find someone to pray for and serve! If you can’t find someone who’s harmed you, all the better. Serve someone anyway. You haven’t even begun to be persecuted yet. Then, after all that, if you are going to trumpet something, trumpet the fact that mercy is available! As John Newton said, “I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”
Don’t forget that none of this is happening apart from the will of God.
In peace and humility,