I am disgusted by how our Nation has been handling the Gay Marriage debate. On every single side of this debate there have been people that have disrespected, dishonoured and disregarded one another. I am especially disappointed with the lack of wisdom spewing out the mouths from fellow followers of Jesus. This post is not about how one should vote. This post is about how a Jesus follower should participate in this debate.
I believe the attitude of Jesus is a clear example of how we should approach this debate. I believe that Jesus lived from the “Tree of Life” rather than the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” What do I mean by that?
When I look at Jesus, I don’t see a man who simply walked around declaring, “You’re right. You’re wrong.” That is the lens from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” This is where many believers have got stuck in this debate. This is where someone points a finger at a situation and simply states whether it is right or wrong with no care for the consequences. Nothing matters except the label – “Right or Wrong.” When confronted with whether this is the best approach, they will simply respond by saying they “will not compromise.” In reality, their response shows that their need to be right is more important than their need to love.
If anyone could have done that, it was Jesus. But instead of coming to condemn the world, He came to save it. He said that He had come to give us life, and life in all it’s fullness. I believe the lens Jesus saw humanity through was the “Tree of Life.”
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus knew certain behaviour was wrong and even challenged it. But Jesus cared more about the life of the person He was standing in front of, than declaring “right or wrong” over their beliefs or behaviour. This is why the religious people didn’t like Him. Rather than pronouncing His judgments on people, like the religious elite were doing, Jesus spent time with them, and loved on them. The Pharisees thought Jesus was compromising, when really He was simply living from a different tree.
You see, when you can stand in front of someone and care more about the quality of their life, than you care about their position on a different issue, then you are positioned to have a respectful conversation. Because Jesus loved deeply, people allowed Him into their hearts. They allowed Him to speak into their lives because they trusted Him.
When I look at how this debate has been handled it makes me cringe. I hate how Christians post about how “awful and disgusting” the LBGT community are. I hate how people feel like the righteous thing to do is to pronounce judgment over this particular community without even talking to a member of it, and more importantly, without having a loving relationship with someone from it! Pronouncing judgment over the LGBT community is simply not the heart of God.
Whenever we divorce our love for people with judgment, we end up saying some very nasty things. This is what happens whenever we do not have any “relational skin” in the game.
The LGBT community has already been treated horrendously. They have suffered all sorts of abuse from the Church and the wider community. Many have killed themselves because the pain was too much to handle. Wherever people are treated inhumanely, and made to feel less than human for whatever reason, Jesus is there in the opposite spirit telling them they are loved and fearfully and wonderfully created.
My point is this: If we want to participate in this debate, then we must start from a place of love. We need to stop and take a breath. Look at Jesus’ example. He stopped for the one. Listened to people’s story and loved them. Then because they knew He had their best interests at heart, He was able to lead them into life in all it’s fullness. We cannot afford to make bold statements with no regard for the lives we are affecting.
My prayer is that The Church would have meaningful conversations on this topic – not based on “right and wrong”, but based on life. I believe the Church has an important role to play in this debate, but sadly we are squandering it. No one wants to listen to what we think is right or wrong. But people are desperately looking for life in all it’s fullness. The only way anyone will listen to us though, is if we position ourselves by humbly serving and loving one another. After all, that is the Jesus way.