The United States is on the brink of a monumental decision as the Supreme Court gathers to potentially re-define marriage. On Facebook and Twitter over the last few days, I've read some heated discussions about the topic of legalizing gay marriage. You may have noticed more than a few profile pictures changed to the equal symbol at your right in support of same-sex marriage.
There are proper times and places to discuss the legalization of same-sex marriage and how this should fit into an increasingly secular nation, but an argument on Facebook is not one of them. Shouting from a street corner will not change someone's political beliefs. A cup of coffee, a listening ear, and a gentle voice are
great tools to create a fruitful discussion about the topic of gay
Readers who share my faith, let me remind you of what the Bible says about arguing. 1 Timothy 2:23-26 says, "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of truth."
Examine your words and actions, friends. If your conversations have reflected something other than what the passage above says, then how are you shining the love of Jesus Christ? You do not have to approve of the legalization of gay marriage. You do not have to approve of homosexuality. You do not have to approve of someone's religion or lifestyle. But you should be living in love, kindness, and peace.
As long as we do not follow the ways of the world, people will speak against us. However, we are not called to argue with them; we are called to love them and respond with gentleness and respect as we remain steadfast in the Lord. 1 Peter 3:15-16 says, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason of the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."
Do not be afraid to pursue conversations with people who engage in and approve of homosexuality. I encourage you to do so! Show the world that you can sincerely love someone without approving of everything they do. With whom did Jesus spend His time? He had dinner with prostitutes and tax collectors, beggars and thieves. He loved the people that other religious men of the day turned away. He loved people like you and people like me. He spoke in truth, but He also spoke in love.
Many Christians I know have forgotten one or the other. Often, I will meet a Christian who is so focused on speaking truth that he speaks fiercely against all who oppose his values, using sarcasm and anger to back up each point; or I will meet a Christian who is so focused on love that he forgets that our God is never-changing, and so he approves of everything when he should love without faltering in what the Lord has spoken as truth.
There is a balance, my friends. Instead of engaging in pointless quarrels, let's live peacefully and sincerely. Let's speak in love and friendship while we live in truth.
My dad sent me an article this morning by Doug Hankins over this same issue. I encourage you to read it and open your heart. Let's love today.