Last week we witnessed two monumental Supreme Court decisions. On Thursday, the court effectively removed the last legal obstacle to ObamaCare. On Friday, the court essentially legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.
Left open in the Friday ruling are major religious liberty questions. Let’s assume for the moment that pastors and churches are not forced to conduct gay weddings, something they are required to do in many countries which have legalized such marriages. But we don’t yet know the implications for church and religious organizations with regard to spousal benefits, employment, and non-profit status. It’s conceivable that my statements upholding biblical marriage could be construed as “hate speech.” We just don’t know the larger implications of this decision.
Here’s what Christians do know.
First, we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). If the survivors of the Charleston tragedy could forgive the alleged murderer and testify to the grace of Jesus, can’t all Christians follow their example? Our witness is never so strong as when it is tested. Suffering reveals the reality of our faith to a watching world.
These days present a historic opportunity for American Christians to show our culture and the world that we are people of character and grace. Our witness on this issue is especially significant with younger adults. Seventy percent of non-Christians ages 16 to 29 say Christians are “insensitive to others.” Let’s show the LGBT community and the rest of our culture what we’re for, not just what we’re against. Let’s show our world that we can disagree without demeaning, that we can be biblical without being bombastic, that we can care for people without endorsing behavior that hurts them and others. “I love you” and “I accept everything you do” are not synonymous.
Second, we are called to speak unchanging truth to a changing world. For decades, our culture has defined truth as opinion. The court’s ruling on same-sex marriage is the latest example of moral relativism. If there is no objective definition of marriage, the justices did not “redefine” it—they merely conformed law to popular opinion. But human nature does not change. God’s word is just as relevant as when it was first revealed.
God wants to redeem our cultural darkness with a clear and compelling display of the abundant life only he can provide. As babies are given gender neutral names and dressed in gender neutral clothes until they decide whether to be male or female, we’ll witness the destruction that results as the world goes deeper into deception. As more and more couples choose same-sex marriage, we’ll see the damaging results for themselves, their children and families, and our society.
But like the father who welcomed his prodigal son home, our Father welcomes all who return to his truth and love. We have all wandered greatly but have been invited back graciously. Let’s join him.