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“How’s That Working for You?”

Tuesday Remix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and rerun for your consideration.

Last year’s big vote on Proposition 8 in California raised the question (yet again) as to what, exactly, the church’s role is in the social fray surrounding the issue of alternative lifestyles and gay marriages. There seem to be several “sides” formed within the church to answer that question. One side says our role is to police the behavior (the morals, if you will) of the community we serve. Mind you, that is more than just having an opinion about what is right and what is wrong. It is actually taking action designed to change people’s behavior. And toward that end, we have some pretty ugly protests (see photo inset for example of what I mean by “ugly”) by “Christians” of the whole gay marriage thing. As a mediator, it is my habit to address one side of the conflict at a time. I’m going to pick on that side today.

How afraid, how utterly gripped with fear, must a Christian become in order to lash out with this kind of venom?  I do understand a Godly concern that the moral fiber of our country is getting pretty threadbare.  Moreover, I too am bothered sometimes by the political agendas of people who have a very different worldview than I have.  But that is what happens in democracies.  And I have no real problem with Christians taking an active role in political issues; “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”  Believe me, I “get” that concept (I am a lawyer after all).  But what does not compute for me is the hateful, vitreous, and even vulgar language coming out of the mouths of professing followers of Jesus, the man who looked out over a city and wept, but who did not then take up a protest sign and yell obscenities at the wrong-doers.

If the objective behind these “protests” is to change the behavior of our community and to help save lost people, then I have one question (stolen shamelessly from Dr. Phil): “How’s THAT working for you?” I mean, seriously, these “protests” have been going on for centuries–and here in our country, they have been on the front pages of our newspapers for several decades now. So, we should now have enough empirical data to look at and measure the effectiveness of this tactic against the purpose its supporters espouse. So, all together now, does everyone think we have become a MORE moral society as a result of these efforts?

No, I didn’t think so.

When Paul wrote his first letter to his “problem child” church (the one in Corinth), here is what he said about sexual sin: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” I Corinthians 5:12-13. There is an important Spiritual truth here: it is not the role of the church to try and make lost people act like saved people (note: not everyone who lives in an alternative lifestyle is a non-believer–this post only deals with how we as a church relate to those outside the church…stay tuned in future posts for my thoughts on how best to relate to those inside the church). Have we not yet learned, after centuries of trying, that this is a futile effort? Our world is not getting MORE moral, it’s getting LESS moral, just like God’s Word tells us it will as we move through time. And it is not the job of the church to hold those outside the church accountable for their moral decisions. Our only job in relation to those outside the church, it seems to me, is to show them Jesus. And for those who think the signs in the picture above (and any related or similar activity) are showing people Jesus, well…I don’t know what to tell you. They are not.

Think about the energy and resources those inside the church have wasted on trying to control the behavior of those outside the church. Toward what great uses might those resources and energy be re-directed?

But what about those inside the church? What responsibility do we have to one another when it comes to sin in our lives? Ah, now we have stumbled upon a very different question. One which we can talk about in another post.

© Blake Coffee

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