I am tired of the gay marriage debate, and I know I’m not alone. On a recent episode of the podcast I co-host, my friend Brian expressed similar sentiments of fatigue. I am tired of the vitriol on both extremes. I am tired of the politicizing of what people call a biblical point of view and the church confusing itself with a political party. I am tired of the incessant Facebook and Twitter posts (and yes, I see the irony of me blogging this and then sharing it). I am tired of the misled assertion that the problem will be solved by the courts or the president or any other legal body. I am tired of this being treated as the greatest problem facing America today.
This is not about my own opinions on gay marriage and who is right or wrong. I have them, but do not feel this is the place to share. No, this is about how Christians ought to be responding – Christians on both sides of the debate. And yes, I believe you can be in favor of legalizing gay marriage and still be a Christian. Just like you can be in favor of legalizing gay marriage and not believe it is the way God intended marriage to be, that it is a sin.
So I ask my fellow Christians to consider the following in your interactions about gay marriage.
What is communicated by our words?
If we are using ascerbic, incendiary words our point is lost as soon as it exits our lips (or fingers). Be clear, but kind. Be bold, but gentle.
What is communicated by our tone?
Arrogance hides easily between pleasant phrases. Judgmentalism is neatly packaged in passive aggressive expression. Our tone betrays our heart and all the kind words can’t hide an ugly one.
What are our aims?
If “winning” the debate is our aim we must reconsider. We win an argument and lose a potential friend. Winning the debate at all costs leaves a trail of destruction – jaded souls unwilling and unable to hear the good news of Jesus because they were bludgeoned into defeat. However, if our aims are to win people to Jesus then the debate takes a back seat – like a school bus back seat, way back there.
If we believe in a sovereign God why are we so fearful?
This could apply to just about any area of life, but apply it liberally to our societal fears. God is in charge. He knows what’s up. Represent Him well in all spheres of life, and chill out.
Why are we putting so much hope in the government?
Governments are, and have always been, broken systems run by broken sinners. We benefit greatly from good ones but ought not make the mistake of putting our hope in them. The hope we put in the government is evidenced by the energy we pour into influencing it, as if this is the means through which victory will be gained. But what I see is Christians doing what Jesus’ disciples did – hoping in the overthrow of the Romans rather than the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom. We cannot see government as the ultimate decision makers or ultimate law makers. We live in a monarchy, and our king is perfect. Put more faith in Him than in the Supreme Court or any other governmental body.
Why do we believe either hearts or culture can be legislated into improvement?
It is so tempting to think such things. But it’s so untrue. Witness influences both individual hearts and all of culture more than anything else – collective and individual witness. It is incumbent upon Christians to represent Jesus in word and deed. And all this political fervor is doing a pretty poor job of it.
So I ask you to consider these questions. Don’t fall prey to your emotions or the tide of opinion – on either side. Don’t make the mistake of using the wrong medium for ardent thoughts. Above all, be a witness, not of your political views but of your faith. What will make Jesus more beautiful, hopeful, and joyful in the eyes of those who have yet to meet Him?