Here are a couple of simple thoughts on how to approach this ruling faithfully:
If we believe relationship precedes influence, then don't jeopardize relationship over a disagreement. Freinds, I have to be honest, our world is shifting and shifting quickly. And because of the that the greatest defense for our faith will be authenticity; when why you set out to do in life is consistent with how you do them.
The goal of christian witness will remain the same— friendship that leads to transformation. Our lives are not meant to be lived like a long debate forum with our neighbors who oppose christian convictions. Our lives are meant to be lived in the trenches with people; exchanging life experiences, stories, care , concern, love— including the homosexual. And life is messy. Well constructed arguments are black and white, but people’s emotions, thoughts and desires are not. Christian, it will take more than a clean argument for you to see the LGBTQ community begin to consider what you have to say and begin their journey of gospel transformation.
There is something special about Jesus that compelled the marginalized of his day— the prostitute, the tax collector, the sinner to willingly rally around him. He was often “reclined” at a dinner table, showing that he was relaxed and not tensed, most likely listening to their stories. And although he always confronted what kept them from healthy relationship with God, he never did without meeting, talking, listening, sharing and being with them. Jesus values relationship, intimacy. And maybe you think you are “losing” the debate on this issue because the argument is not leaning your way, in which case you are losing— losing out on an opportunity to be with someone, hear their story and share the news of Jesus with them.
Our desire is that culture would adopt our worldview, but our goal is to love and serve them. There is a huge difference between a desire and a goal. Desires are those things we want for others but realize that they are out of our control. Goals are those things we understand are within our control. The real damage happens when we confuse those two. Christian, we have done some grave damage to our relationship with the LGBTQ community by confusing the two.
If you have been with our church a while, then you know that we have a slogan here that we live by— “We exist as a church to plant roots, make homes, build families, trust Jesus, love neighbor, and die well." Nothing about the SCOTUS ruling changes that. We are here to love our gay and lesbian neighbors well. They are not enemies, they are people made in God's image who need the same love and compassion that Jesus gave us. They are people who need spiritual direction and ultimate meaning just like we do. When the fulfillment that they thought to get from having the right to marry fails them, let us be the first to open our doors and point them to the ultimate fulfillment of a better marriage. But this marriage is not the one between two people, but between Christ in His church.
Do not panic! Funny enough, some christians are anxious about the ruling because they believe things are headed out of control— but that’s to assume that they were in control (at least in our control). The truth is this: same-sex marriage has been legal in NYS for the last four years, but even more, the church has been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a long time. The last thing culture needs is an anxious christian. Anxiety is typically a sign of fear. What is there to fear?
The highest court in the land voted yesterday 5-4 to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states, and though that was an unprecedented ruling, it wasn't unprecedented to God. God was not shocked or surprised, He's not nervous or fearful, He's sovereign— ultimately in control. Remember today, that the highest judge in the land doesn't live in Washington D.C. He dwells outside of space and time, and rest today in the fact that He's in control. So rest in the promises of God when He says: "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.' — Isaiah 46:10
Stand firm! This is not a time for flight or fight Christianity. This is not a time to either shrink back from faithful Christian witness, or to view every gay and lesbian brother as an enemy. Let’s remember that our primary call is to witness to the truth, we are witnesses. We can't simply change what the Bible says about these matters, or what our church teaches, because we're not governed by the laws of America, but by the laws of God. We don't make this up as we go, we receive the truth from God and we proclaim it with love. Our church will stand firm on what the Scriptures teach, but we will always attempt to communicate that truth in the most loving and Christlike way.