Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rainbows

What I have to say may upset some people that I know. It may make some of you angry, but it is something that has really been on my heart lately and I have to share it.
I have not really been keeping up with current events lately. I really don't watch a lot of television simply because with enough noise produced by my 4 kids, I have been enjoying the silence. A few days ago I took my kiddos to get Happy Meals and there was a T.V. right behind us that was so obnoxiously loud that I couldn't help hearing the news show that was playing. The entire segment was devoted to talking about the gay marriage issue that is going on right now.  It got me thinking and I am upset about the actions of the church in general concerning homosexual people. I, myself am straight. I am married to my husband and we have four beautiful children. But over the years I have worked with men and women who were gay or lesbian and I have friends and relatives who are also homosexual. I love them dearly. I truly believe that for me the love that I feel for them was a conscious choice. I have grown up in church and I know how most people in the church as a whole feel about people of the homosexual persuasion. So I really had to dig deep into myself and discover my thoughts on the matter and to do that I turned to my Bible, but what I found may surprise you.
The cornerstone of my faith, Jesus Christ himself, spoke the most simple and profound statement found in Matthew 22:37-40
He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
"Love your neighbor as yourself." Hmm. What I don't see is, "Love your neighbor as yourself unless there is a rainbow flag flying outside their door.
Let's look at another one:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 13:34-35
And here's another:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
"The one who does not love does not know God." Wow! If I choose not to love people for any reason then it says very clearly that I do not know God. The whole purpose for my faith is to have a relationship with God and I don't want to do anything that will keep me from that. God loves the lesbian woman just as much as he loves me. He loves the gay man just as much as he loves my pastor at church. He loves each of us! Now, I know what you church people are thinking... the same thing I wondered about when I did my research in the Bible to sort out my thoughts about the matter... "Are they sinners?"
Let's go back to God's word and see. There are some very good verses to learn what sin is.
Going back to the roots of Christianity, the most basic Jewish laws were the 10 commandments. To sum them up, I am going to paraphrase for the sake of time and space: Don't worship other gods, don't worship idols, don't take the Lord's name in vain, remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Don't murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or get jealous of your neighbor's stuff. Well, there is nothing about homosexuality in the 10 commandments, but I will get back to this. So let's look a little harder.
In Romans 1 it says this:
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
So, yes, homosexuality is sin. But wait!! Listen to this! The verse goes on...
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
I don't know of a single church-goer who has not gossiped and I know plenty pew warmers that are arrogant and boastful. Or what about that bit about being disobedient to parents? Do you know of a single person who has lived their entire life without disobeying his or her parents? Has every human always put God first in every instance of their lives? If they have not, they are guilty of idolatry. Still not persuaded, my Christian brothers and sisters? I am about to go even deeper; in Matthew 19 Jesus talks about divorce:
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.
So based on that verse if we are going to make laws based on sin, no divorced person should be allowed to remarry. I don't see people rallying for this, hurling insults at remarried people, telling them how dirty and sinful they are. Yet, right there in black and white Jesus himself says very plainly that He does not approve of this. From what we would think of as the smallest sin, to the really big ones that we think of as the worst, there is not one person on this green earth who is innocent of sin. Each and every one of us has committed at least one of the Ten Commandments or have done something on that list I provided earlier from Romans. I propose we have a rally against all who have disobeyed their parents, they don't deserve any laws that benefit them. What about everyone who has ever been jealous of someone else's stuff? What good benefits do they deserve? Let's make laws against them. Let's rally Washington and make laws against every sin listed in the Bible. Oh, wait, they tried that once for about a few thousand years before Jesus came and that didn't work. To God sin is sin is sin. It is all filth to Him and we ALL reek of it. So in the words of my savior, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.
Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous, not even one"(italics mine)
Is is my job to judge those people I have worked with, my friends, and my relatives?
Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
That is a huge NO! If I judge, then I condemn myself. I sure don't want to be condemned! God loves each and every one of us despite our dirty sins. He loves us inside or out of the closet. I don't know of anyone who doesn't have at least one skeleton in theirs. We all have secrets and sins. I believe that if our leaders make laws and decisions based on what we deserve because of our sins then none of us really deserve any good benefits on this earth. I know I don't. It is my job to love the people God has put into my life no matter what lifestyle they choose. It is my job to shine the light of Christ to those around me.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
To the lesbian woman and the gay man reading this I say,"I am so sorry if people who call themselves 'Christians' have ever been mean or rude to you. That is not a true representation of what Jesus wanted. Not all people in the church are like that and I really question if those people really are followers of the one and only true God. Also, my friend, Jesus loves you!! He came and died on this earth to have a relationship with you and not to condemn you. It says so in John 3:16-17 If you were the only person on the earth, he would have done it just for you because He loves you. If you feel like you are missing something, if you need peace in your life, if you are living in chaos and missing a joy that you know is out there somewhere and you keep looking for it, it is Jesus. When you feel broken, He can make your life complete. I know because I have been in a place where I was broken and depressed and hopeless. I have watched my marriage fall apart and then watched Jesus build it back again in miraculous ways. He has a wonderful plan for your life. I don't know what it is, but he does so what I say to you, love, is seek Him and He will whisper into your heart His plan.
To the 'Christian' who has been hateful to anyone in the gay and lesbian community, I say,"Please stop! Show Christ's love to everyone around you no matter who they are. If you don't feel Christ's love, see the last 5 sentences of the above paragraph. It is for you too." If I have offended anyone, that was not my intention. If you have comments, please post them! I would be happy to get your opinion about what I have said. If you agree or have a different opinion, please post that too.

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