As a conservative Christian, I am left lamenting for our country and individuals after the recent SCOTUS ruling to disallow states the right to ban gay-marriage. And I am afraid that this judicial activism will lead our country on a slippery slope where one group's freedoms are being exchanged for another's.
Some of the women in our church are doing a Bible study in Jeremiah, and today I came across a verse in the study--a verse that is repeated in different forms throughout the Old and New Testament: "Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you."
I realize the wrath or punishment of God is not a popular topic, but it is a reality of the Bible and who God is. Personally, I don't want to serve a God who is arbitrary. Like a good father or mother, God will reign us in when we stray by use of things that may not always be pleasant. For His children, those who love and follow Him, God may reign us in in His merciful, loving way by ordaining events around us that we are unaware of, but are meant to protect us. We are reigned in for our own good and for the good of others because God created us and knows the best way we should live--though we think we know better. Many prophets in the Bible were sent to different regions to warn people of the results of their sins against God.
I also realize that the word "sin" is not popular today. But it is what it is and we all sin in some form or another. But what happened last week in the SCOTUS decision to not allow states to ban gay marriage, is that this is the one sin that is celebrated and embraced. Of the sins that grieve God in the Bible [sexual immorality (the New Testament specifies what this means as adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, perverts), impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord (strife, conflict, hostility), jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions (disagreements that lead to discord), factions (a synonym is a clique), envy, drunkenness, orgies] this one sin is being embraced by our nation/highest court. Think about the other sins like impurity. I am not sure that we as a nation would elect someone into office who is lewd and lascivious. If a public figure exemplified drunkenness in their life, I am pretty sure it would be a scandal. There was one politician who was reported to have dabbled in witchcraft in her college years and was mercilessly pounded by the media. Think about the other sins that the Bible lists and how we don't condone those behaviors in society. We are born into sin and all have an inclination toward one sin or another, so when people say they are "born that way", they are correct.
So why this sin? I am not sure, but it probably has something to do with the exaltation of the individual and the freedom that our country was honorably founded on which has now turned into an unrestricted freedom--in which our forefathers never intended.
I am by no way setting myself on a pedestal because there are sins in my own life that I am more inclined to embrace than others. And I am aware of Scripture that tells us: "There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?"
I am not in a position to judge. But I am in a position to grieve (and I wish I wasn't this way). I am grieving two things: 1) Grieving for the outcome of our country and the blessings that may be withheld and/or punishment that may come because many in our country have turned away from God. 2) I grieve for the the sin that has been endorsed by our government and for people involved in this sin and are now enabled in it like never before in our nation's history. I grieve for their well-being because I have two people that I love involved in this lifestyle.
So what next? What comes next for the Christian? Or for the person who inherently knows that this newly endorsed lifestyle brings pain and hurt on the individuals involved and undermines the role of family (the right for a child to have both a mother and a father) in our country? What comes next for the person afraid to speak out in fear of getting labeled a "hater" as my kids point out is what you would get called among your peers for holding to the biblical model of marriage?
I believe we love but don't condone. We pray that people will turn their hearts back to God and live according to His will. We pray for leaders to rise up and hold to the principle's our country was founded on. We pray for our religious leaders to hold to the essential truths of the Bible and the ability to speak biblical truths without persecution from those who want to afford the opposition the same rights.
To quote Rod Dreher, a TIME contributor in his June 26th piece on the SCOTUS ruling, "The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist." And in a call to action he wrote, "Orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us. We are going to have to learn how to live as exiles in our own country. We are going to have to learn to live with at least a mild form of persecution. And we are going to have to change the way we practice our faith and teach it to our children to build resilient communities." What this looks like, we don't yet know. But we do need Christian leaders to be innovative now more than ever.
But most of all, we love in truth. Love (God's form of love) does win!