Sunday, 28 June 2015

One Judge. I Am Not Him.

God has a sense of humour. Some things you don't see coming. He does. When they appear, well, between the both of us, we got this. Nothing is of a surprise to Him. His Word says, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiates 1:9) (I like the poetry of the KJV.) As a matter of fact, another verse says, "That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. (Ecc. 3:15)

I am Christian. I believe in Jesus, and daily seek to maintain a close relationship with Him. I believe the Bible is the word of God. To get to it, in the last week, much happened regarding gay rights in the USA. (Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since July 2005.)  As a Christian, when I utter my thoughts on this sensitive topic, I fully expect to be derided and ridiculed and accused of being homophobic and being a Bible Thumper and and and... It's the way it is. True, there are Christians who go about expressing condemnation of members of the LGBT community. They spew vitriol squarely directed at them at every opportunity. So, Christians who are more mild in airing their views are lumped in with that batch.

But, no matter how mild the approach, the Christian with a point of view borne out of their belief is often not... (what's the word? Allowed?) ..."allowed" to express his/her dissenting view. I don't get it. I'm Christian, and I believe homosexuality is a sin. Should I acquiesce and go with someone else's view just because I don't wish to offend them? That is ridiculous. I have relatives who are gay. By the time I found out, well, I had already loved them to pieces. No judgment. I believe we will someday all answer to one God for the time we spent here. Meantime, my duty is to love and shine, including when I join the conversation on controversial topics. I have made a choice to believe what I believe. Look around. The world is a mess. It takes more than wealth and popularity to attain that which is most precious in such a time as this - peace of mind.

Earlier, I referred to the Bible. If someone does not believe the Bible to be the Word of God, it is pointless to quote from it as an authority in support of the point being made. Enter grace, through faith - and time. We live. We believe. We live according to our belief. Philip Yancey - atheist turned Christian - wrote in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew: "God's terrible insistence on human freedom is so absolute that He granted us the power to live as though He did not exist, to spit in His face, to crucify Him. Although power can force obedience, only love can summon a response of love, which is the one thing God wants from us and the reason He created us."

So, people are free to do whatever with whomever. I don't bash friends who don't share  my faith, for example. Love them and leave them to Jesus and time. I believe He can and does make a wonderful difference in people's lives. People make the difficult decision to "come out of the closet". No judgment. And, it's not because the skeletons in my closet have skeletons in their closets. It is because I am not the JUDGE. I cannot be presumptuous to think I can judge and mete out sentences to whomever I think is not living according to God's word. Especially when I am a daily beneficiary of His amazing grace.

It seems, though, no matter how many times as a Christian you say and demonstrate love and kindness even as you disagree with "the masses", you will be ridiculed, vilified, etc. Not everyone will share my views. I get that. Still, one word in dissent, and many immediately go for the jugular. Yet, they are the same ones exercising their right to speak their views freely. I don't get that.

You know what's not funny? We can be angered and get freaked out by the news that a three year-old girl has been raped by a 30 year-old man. Why? Because something inside our make up says it is wrong. There is still wrong and right in the world. It's not always black and white, but it exists. It is not, as much as we would like to think, a case of anything goes. Consensus doesn't mean right. Humans are fickle beings. What is right today is not necessarily right tomorrow. But, God's word and standards do not change.

In today's " Look at me!" world, it is not surprising that some compromise on their beliefs for the sake of popularity; for adulation; for likes and favs and retweets. "Do you, boo!" But, as a person who seeks to abide in Christ, my choices do not often coincide with the world's. And that is to be expected. I don't think my final words on my deathbed will be, "Oh, I wish I had been more popular on Social Media." Nope. The Christian journey is not an easy one and every day is a struggle, but I try to keep the proper perspective and focus on what really matters. The Holy Spirit does not leave me alone.

Speaking of expectations, what also seems to be expected is that folks like myself should go sit in a corner somewhere because we have a dissenting view - no matter how much in love we express it. Yeah. About that. We have been commissioned to share the good news of Jesus Christ. And, we will and do have a belief out of which we speak. I think it was the ancient Greek philosopher, Epictetus, who said, "All religions must be tolerated...for every man must get to heaven in his own way." *raises hand* Umm, about that "in his own way" part? No. The Word I live by quotes Jesus as saying He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Him. Hmm. Not only do we want to live however we want, we also want the assurance that it's okay. And, some of our spiritual leaders, sadly, have given in to this. For myriad reasons, I suppose - the desire not to offend; not to step on anyone's toes; not to lose popularity, etc. The unadulterated word of God can be hard-hitting. Nobody is perfect and has it all together in this walk. Enter, grace. 

Sigh. The criticisms for expressing particular - and particularly dissenting - positions will come.

We got this.

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