Light in the Darkness, Again….
The first version of this column appeared in 2004. I modified it in 2012. I wanted to share it with you again, because while culture is changing, our understanding of scripture has not changed…
The Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that marriage between two people of the same gender is legal in all fifty states.
Fearful people in the Christian community fret: “If we don’t stop the denigration of culture now, when will it stop?” The gay community shouts “This is our right, we want to be married; otherwise, you are discriminating against us!”
In the midst of the uproar of noises, please let me ask for quiet and offer three important things for the people of God to remember. First, marriage in the eyes of God and marriage in the eyes of the state are two very different things. In the eyes of God, marriage is a gift, it is the two becoming one flesh, it is about service and love. In the eyes of the state, marriage is a contract. If someone breaks the contract (through infidelity, for example), then the party of the first part can sue the party of the second part for breach of contract. Rights of minors, individuals, and property must be weighed and decided by the court. In essence, marriage in the eyes of the state provides for protection in case of failure. Marriage in the eyes of God is a recipe for relationship.
Second, we live in a decaying culture. It has been decaying ever since Eve and Adam crossed the line and ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Nothing has been just like God intended since. As believers, we need to recognize that all around us culture declares things “normative,” while God declares “truth.” The truth is God did not design us to be homosexual. Nor did He design us to be alcoholics, addicts, over-eaters, gossips, liars, adulterers, temper-losers, self-centered, passive, or broken-hearted. The core of our belief is we are all sinners – and we all need grace. The incredible grace of God carries us toward where we need to be – a journey that finds its completion in heaven. That does not mean God’s people excuse or condone sin.
We do not condone a gay lifestyle. We will not perform gay marriages in our church. But we are also not going to excuse those who do more “acceptable” sins – like lust, cheating, stealing, judging others, harming the church. All sin needs grace.
Finally, we must remember our role – we are the light in the darkness: Jesus shining through us. Every person I know who does not have Christ lives in the darkness, in the land of the shadows, and it really doesn’t matter the name of their brokenness and sin. The church (and that’s us) has to remember to keep the main thing the main thing – and that is being light to those who need hope. Together, we shine Jesus and make a difference, one life at a time.
That’s really the point of why we are here: One making a difference in one for the One.