I’ve somewhat written on this topic before, but in lieu of the various reactions I’ve been seeing all across social media after the recent marriage reform laws, I just feel like it’s important to voice my opinions yet again. After all, isn’t that what blogs are for?
Last week, the United States Supreme Court won a huge battle. They have finally legalized marriage no matter what your sexual orientation is, and I think it’s beautiful. Beautiful because it’s one more positive step in the direction away from discrimination and toward acceptance.
Before I go any further, I want to express that I do believe in God and freedom of religion. What I don’t believe in is the contradicting views many so-called Christians are expressing after this change in national law. When it comes to so many issues, people cry out “what about the separation of church and state? The government shouldn’t have any say over my religious freedoms!” However, when it comes to the government making a decision that might contradict their specific religious beliefs, they claim that they in no way can support these laws because they don’t abide by their religious teachings. What continues to baffle me is the 180° turn from their first argument. If you want the true separation of church and state, shouldn’t you then be willing to accept that the government may make decisions that don’t line up with your beliefs?
Aside from that hypocrisy and going straight back to the teachings of Jesus, the bible says time and time again that Christians are to love people as Christ loves the church. That is an unconditional love. That’s not a love that disappears if you love the same gender. That’s not a love that disappears if you get a divorce. That’s certainly not a love that disappears if you mess up. Christians, in case you’ve forgotten, Jesus was friends with sinners. He sought them out. He had dinner with a dishonest tax collector. He spent time with prostitutes. He chose to spend time with the unclean over the religious leaders. This was a man who loved people…period. There were no qualifications to meet or level of “righteousness” required.
Quite frankly, the amount of people who have been hating on this issue sicken me. A person doesn’t have to live a certain lifestyle to attain love. That’s preposterous. So again, I am making a plea to the Christian community: show love, express love, be love. Without that, we are not living any sort of life that represents faith.
I wrote a post on my old blog about a major problem that I’ve experienced and seen in the “Christian” culture today back in April of 2013. Interestingly enough, this, out of everything else I wrote on that blog, was the one thing that I’ve had people make a point to tell me that they appreciated reading. Even more interesting is that the people who spoke to me were all people I knew from growing up in the church.
There’s a very common pattern of people growing up in the church and deciding to leave it as soon as they leave home. It’s been written about all over the internet by people far more educated than myself with tips and tricks to bring the “lost generation” back to the church. I’ve read more than my fair share of these articles, mostly rolling my eyes through most of them.
The reason my opinion of the church changed so drastically was because I saw the way people were treated when people saw them as “lost sheep”. There’s one attitude when a group of people are out on a mission trip to try and reach as many people as they can, but then there’s the everyday attitude: stay in your comfortable bubble with your friends and your nice things, and don’t make an effort to help or reach out to people you know are hurting.
This is not what Jesus was about. This is not what the early church was about. Somewhere along the way, the message got twisted. I’m going to quote Donald Miller just like I did in my last post about this topic, simply because he writes the words I wish I had been brilliant enough to write: “I loved the fact that it wasn’t my responsibility to change somebody, that it was God’s, that my part was just to communicate love and approval” (Blue Like Jazz). This is what the church should be doing. The church should be showing love to everyone, no matter if they agree with the actions and behaviors surrounding a person.
Many of the friends I have that have stopped going to church or associating themselves with the modern American church have done so because of the lack of pure love that many prominent figures that claim “Christianity” have show to mass amounts of people. Sure, they love the people that fit into their idea of a proper Christian, but are they loving the people that don’t? Are they loving the people that have different views on relationships, lifestyles, or even politics? Are they friendly toward the ones they call sinners? No, and that’s the main problem I have. Jesus was friends with all sorts of people. He loved all people. It didn’t matter their race, background, decisions. That should be the example for Christians today.
If you’re one of those people that despairs over the amount of millennials who have left the church, take a look at how you portray your beliefs on a regular basis. I think the Bible says it best: “The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” (1 John 4:21)