I received an email this week asking me: What do you think about the whole “gay marriage” thing? For it? Ban it?
The ‘Law’ of marriage from a civil perspective.
Something interesting about the law of marriage in general is that it is probably the only law that is based on love, and it is also one of the only laws you voluntarily opt into to. Law, in general, is based on fear. It’s basic message is: Do what the law says & don’t do what the law says you are not allowed to do. If you break the law you will be punished for it. And yet somewhere in the masses of laws based on fear & obligation is this law of marriage based on love and volunteerism. I think for a same sex couple wanting to ‘opt in’ to this law, they would also be doing it based on love. So, from a worldly legalistic perspective, I don’t think it should be banned. But the question is not really about what the government should allow or ban, I think the real question Christians are asking is if it is not a direct violation of what the Bible says. It is the feeling that gay marriage goes directly against what the Bible says that causes many to be very hardline in their views against gay marriage. But here’s the thing…
Using the Bible as your reasons for condemning gay marriage is a very slippery slope.
There are several verses in the Bible that do seem to indicate that same sex relationships are not God’s plan for people. There are also several verses that indicate God hates divorce. This means if you want to be hardline about gay relationships/marriage, you have to be hardline about divorce too. But of course the main problem with that is we all know someone (even ourselves) who have been divorced, and we know they are committed Christians who love the Lord – so we let it slide. A little hypocritical isn’t it? So why is it easy to be hardline against gay marriage, but soft on divorce?
It’s because, for most of us, we know Christians who are divorced, but we don’t know Christians (or anyone) who are gay.
When you know someone & you’ve allowed them a position in your heart (and when you’ve listened to them share their own heart and over the course of your friendship with them you’ve accepted they are a genuinely committed and loving person/Christian), it’s much harder to use the Bible to condemn them about some part of their life. The heart is always stronger than our interpretation of the Bible. I believe this is by God’s design. Living by your heart is a divine act. (Remember, we are in the New Covenant of the Spirit and no longer under the Old Covenant of the written code. We can trust the Spirit that abides in us, really! He’s there in our hearts.)
I believe God wants all of us to live from the heart so his Spirit, that abides in our hearts, can enlighten us on all things and lead us into all truth. This is what allows us the blessing to receive be a heart understanding instead of an information/mind understanding. This doesn’t mean you throw the Bible out, it just means you put it to the side long enough to listen to God’s Spirit in you, and to other people too.
Before you judge based on your theology, listen based on being a loving human being
Something I think we all need to remember is that gay people – are people. Yes, that’s right. Shocking for some to believe, but it’s true. They are full of fears, struggles, talents and dreams, just like any straight person.
Before we put on our Bible glasses, we should be willing to look into their eyes without our bible interpretations blocking our view and see them as a fellow human. We should be willing to listen (not just wait until they stop talking so we can blast them with Bible verses) and learn about what it means to be gay, how that struggle effected them growing up, how they processed it with God and why they would like to marry.
Before we can say what we believe, we need to listen to what gay people believe
It’s really easy to create a straw man argument that justifies a position against gay marriage without ever really learning about the issue to begin with. I think if we were willing to have a conversation with a gay person and let them share, without them feeling we have already condemned them in our minds, we would all learn a lot more about the issue.