It seems that everybody and their brother now wants to weigh in on the implications of this week’s Supreme Court decisions regarding same sex marriages. Whether you support it or you find it an abomination, everyone has an opinion; and it is becoming such a divisive and controversial issue that it has the potential to seriously polarize our country – check that – it has already seriously polarized our country. I have really struggled as to whether or not I should weigh in on the situation for several reasons. First, I don’t want to be just another contributor towards the din and cacophony. There is enough of that out there already. Second, it’s only been a day (at least at the moment I write this) and already there are so many posts and blogs and editorials out there that adequately articulate my views that another blog would do little more than add accession to the ones already out there. More importantly, though, I am not sure I want to contribute towards the divisive tempest that is already out there.
Instead, I would rather take a different approach. I think we ought to see the reasons why Christians should NOT concerned about what happened. I am not suggesting that the ruling is bad for our country. Indeed, I agree with so many others out there that this is a watershed moment for our country and represents a tremendous turning point in the direction of our country. Similarly, I am not suggesting that we ought to acquiesce to what has happened and pretend to be happy and joyful about it. Jesus has called us to be salt and light in this world. That means we have an obligation to perverse the Judeo-Christian moral culture and shine the light of truth. We are apparently failing in that regard and that is a reason to be concerned. However, we are salt by being a pleasant seasoning and we are light by being an illumination of truth. We are not to be an overpoweringly bitter flavor or a light that blinds. So while we don’t stop doing what we can to influence our society, we simply can’t force society into our way of thinking. That has thus far been (and will always continue to be) met with anger, hatred, and resistance.
So exactly what am I advocating? Why is this admittedly dreadful situation something we should not be so terribly concerned about? I see several reasons why. First, we should not be so terribly concerned about it because we should expect nothing less. We like to think of our country as a godly, Christian country, but let’s be honest about that. We are not really a Christian country. Sure there is a large number of people in this country who claim Christianity as their stated religion, but the percentage of true, fully surrendered, Christ-following believers is becoming less and less every year. More and more, those who claim the name of Christianity demonstrate no difference in their lives than those who claim no religion at all. As a result, more and more are rejecting Christianity altogether. That may be partially our own fault because we have failed to evangelize our own. Part of the reason we have failed to evangelize our own is precisely because we have looked at our country as “Christian” so long that we presume there is no need to evangelize our own. Look around your own neighborhood and ask yourself how many people go to church. Look around your church on Sunday and ask how committed to Christ those sitting next to you really are. Ask yourself how committed to Christ YOU really are. As a country, we are far less “Christian” than we like to believe. As a result, why should we expect anything less than for the direction of our country to go in a way that we feel is un-Christian? Even amongst ourselves, we argue as to what it really means to be a Christian and we disagree on the moral absolutes. If we disagree amongst ourselves on the moral absolutes, why are we surprised our secular government would come to any other conclusion than it has? We should expect nothing less than for our godless government to move in a godless direction. It is the natural progression of the ungodly. If you do not agree with that, just read Romans 1:18-32. God is pouring out his wrath on our ungodliness by allowing us to become even more ungodly. This should not be a surprise. What is happening in our country is precisely what the Bible says will happen in the last days. We must expect our world to get worse and worse as we hurdle towards the coming of the Lord. As Peter says in 2 Peter 3
(1) This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,
(2) that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,
(3) knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.
Likewise, as Paul told Timothy in his 2 Timothy 3
(1) But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
(2) For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
(3) heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
(4) treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
(5) having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
How well does this describe even you and I, who claim the name of Jesus? The world – our country – is headed exactly where scripture says it is going to head. I get it; you want our country to turn back to its roots and become “Christian” again. I want that too, but I can’t help but think about what Paul goes on to tell Timothy in 2 Timothy 4
(3) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
(4) and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
I wonder sometimes if our desire for our country to return to Christ en masse through legislative or judicial action is not one of those myths. Everything in scripture points precisely to the contrary. That is not to say we don’t keep trying, but it is to say we shouldn’t be surprised when it does not happen. In fact, scripture points more to the fact that we should expect our Christian liberties to dwindle away and to experience greater and greater persecution. Again, not to say we continue to work against it… just to say we shouldn’t be so surprised by it. Instead of setting your hope on the President or Congress or the Supreme Court, set your Hope on the Almighty, the only Sovereign God – which leads me to the second reason we should not be too terribly concerned about this.
I agree, just because we shouldn’t be surprised by it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be alarmed by it. I am alarmed as well. However – believe it or not - what has happened is all part of God’s plan. Yes, God intended for this to happen. Sometimes when things go in a direction we do not like we tend to forget that we are supposed to be living by faith every day, trusting God. God is timeless. He is eternal. He is omnipotent. He is omniscient. He is completely sovereign. We forget that nothing happens that surprises God. Nothing happens that that will thwart the purposes of God (Job 42:2). Regardless of the plans that man may have, it is God’s purposes that ultimately prevail (Prov 19:21). We may rail against our government for such godless acts, but we forget that it was God who put this government into place (Romans 13:1). After all, it was God who called the godless Assyrian king, Cyrus, his “anointed” one to carry out his purposes. I realize we could get into a big theological debate about God’s will – his permissive will versus his perfect or his revealed will versus his hidden will. At the end of the day, though, God allowed this to happen because somehow it fits into his perfect and holy plan. That thought may offend our sensibilities, but our calling is to live by faith, not question the Almighty. I have no idea what God’s plan is for our country, but I do know that if it were not part of his plan, he would not have allowed the Supreme Court to make such a decision. God is working out his plan and his purposes in a way that we may not fully understand, but it is his plan and he is in control of it. Our world is hurdling through time towards a rendezvous with the triumphant return of Jesus Christ. How all of this plays out in that plan has yet to be revealed. However, one thing is certain: the world must get darker and darker as we approach that rendezvous.
So what shall we say about all of that? I say we trust God. We continue being salt and light in our world. We do everything in our power to continue to influence, flavor, preserve, and shine the light of truth on our culture – without becoming a bitter flavor or a blinding light. We stop holding to the myth that we can force our country to return to Christ and start obeying the command to call individuals to repentance – making disciples for Christ. That is how we influence our world – not by whining and complaining about the fact that same sex marriage will ultimately be the law of the land – but by telling just one person that Jesus can save them from their sins… and then by telling another…and then another… Our country will return to Christ when the people return to Christ. Spiritual change happens from the inside out in the person and so it will happen from the inside out in our country. Stop pretending we live in a Christian culture and start introducing Christ to the culture.
Yes, we should be concerned about what happened this week in the Supreme Court. But our concern should not be over the fact that same sex marriage will soon be legalized. Instead, our concern should be that there is all the more reason to proclaim to truth of the gospel. We don’t need to scream and holler about whether or not homosexuality is or is not sinful. We need to proclaim that ALL men are sinful and in need of a savior. When someone comes to Christ, Jesus himself reveals to him what is true and what is false. We will not convince the world otherwise until the world has Jesus. So… same sex marriage gets legalized. So what? Is it a bad thing? I think so, yes. Does it indicate problems for our country? Again, Yes - but I know that God is in control. Trust Him in that. Does it change you? No. Does it change your mission in Christ? No; rather, let it be a wake-up call not to neglect that mission – the mission to evangelize the world. Listen to what God is saying (paraphrased): “Don’t worry. I got this. Just go make disciples.”