It is stunning to reflect on the evolution of the cultural response to homosexuality. In just a couple of decades it has progressed full circle from shameful, to “don’t ask don’t tell,” to acceptable, to celebratory, to opposition = hater. As a result of that evolution, Christians are being ushered into an era where they will no longer be characterized as those in pursuit of morality or goodness, but rather as those who are haters. This is scary. We’ve already seen situations like the Colorado baker who was sued and faced jail time and fines for respectfully declining to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. We recently watched the patriarch of Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, take a stance against homosexuality resulting in the suspension and near cancellation of the number one show in America. And it should be noted that what saved the show was not a change of heart, but rather $400 million in revenue that would be lost.
My point is not to discuss sexual orientations or Christian persecution. I’m writing to emphasize the magnitude of a crucial charge that came straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ in Mark 12:31, ”Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is huge! We MUST be known as the most loving of people! Jesus stated that loving God is the only commandment that is greater than this.
Have you ever wondered why loving people is so high on God’s priority list? I mean, why not something clearly related to an eternal outcome like “share the gospel with everyone you come into contact with” or “go to church weekly and serve faithfully”? Have you considered that our effectiveness as Christians is directly related to our obedience to this 2nd greatest commandment? In a time where upholding the Word of God has evolved from an exercise of religious freedom to a hate crime, we must now strive more than ever to establish that our motives for living out our faith are based on our love for Jesus Christ…and the people He created. And how can we expect the gospel message to be received by those who perceive the messengers as haters? Christians, we are in an era where our motives are being assigned. As we stand firm in our faith, we will no doubt continue to experience growing persecution in being labeled as narrow-minded, judgmental, intolerant, and hateful. Now more than ever, we need to leave no question in the minds of those around us that we are the most loving of people!
We misrepresent Christ horribly if homosexuals (or any sinners for that matter) receive more love from the homosexual community than from Christians. All who come in contact with us for any significant amount of time should unmistakably experience the love of Christ pouring out of us. I’m not endorsing the buzz word “tolerance” or advocating “acceptance.” But we need to make it extremely difficult for anyone to refer to us as haters. Our message is at stake. Our influence is at stake. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13…without love we gain nothing and are just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. The old saying “they’ve got to know that you care before they care what you know” has merit.
Have you ever wondered why loving people is so high on God’s priority list?
We believe the Bible. We believe in a holy God. We know He loves all sinners (as should we). Therefore, we should not condemn, despise, or hate anyone based on their type of sin. But rather, we should lovingly point them to their greatest need and the greatest gift of all time, forgiveness and eternal life with our awesome Creator.
Just as we are always sent off on Sunday mornings with a sweet reminder to “love the saints,” be also reminded to comprehensively “love all sinners”…..of all types.