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Monday, April 1, 2013

Marriage Equality???

These days it seems like the number one topic on facebook is marriage equality. For. Against. Snarky. Kind. People have created the equality symbol, and the dissenting cross over the equality symbol reminiscent of the  dissenting ithacus (Jesus fish) with legs. Two polarized sides. Simple, right? Not for me. I can’t encapsulate my feelings on this issue in a pithy facebook status. And so I have created my own symbol, to sum up my feelings. One big question mark.

There are a few things I know for sure. First, I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is true. It is, without wavering, the standard for my own personal morality. And yet, I have absolutely zero expectations that the world around me will share my standards or beliefs.

Second, I know for sure that I love homosexual individuals. Not in a remote, philosophical sort of way. Not even as in “I choose to love them as a verb.” I love them. I have great compassion for all they have endured. I know that many have suffered intense hardship, often leading to suicide attempts, over their sexual orientation. I know that they face ridicule and hate every day of their lives, and I will not for one second risk adding to that.

Beyond that, I know for certain that Christians with homosexual tendencies must deal with questions, confusion, heartache, rejection, and loneliness that most of us will never comprehend. Many of them will wrestle with the Bible and with God, and eventually turn to a more liberal denomination with a broader interpretation of the scriptures.

But what I don’t know for sure, is how all of this should translate on a public policy level. Before homosexual marriage was ever permitted, I probably stood to the side of the line that said, “Why redefine this word?” However, now that many states have allowed homosexual marriage, it feels more like the taking away of a personal freedom. Which concerns me. Big government at work once again.

When I pray about this issue all I know is that I sense God’s aching heart. My heart aches, to the point that it feels like it’s bleeding, for the people at the center of this debate. I can’t even imagine the pain they are experiencing right now. To finally win such a huge victory, and be told it might be yanked away. Good people. Good citizens, hard workers, loving parents, wonderful neighbors. Perhaps confused. Perhaps in “sin” according to the Biblical definition which translates as “missing the mark”--but then, aren’t we all?

Don’t we all have areas in our lives where our thinking and feeling have fallen into patterns that are perhaps less than God’s best plans for our lives? Where due to some combination of biology, environment, and personal experience, what we feel deep in our hearts does not line up with the word of God? Maybe our areas just aren’t so visible. They’re easy to hide. But doesn’t human instinct bid us all to run from pain and run toward pleasure, creating pathways in our brains that can easily lead us away from God’s ideal plan. We live in a fallen world, and sometimes things get messy. But God is big enough to make something beautiful out of our messes.

When I look at the homosexual community, I just see people. Like me. People I love. I know this moves me no closer to a public policy opinion. Quite honestly, I’m glad it’s not my decision to make.

I live in the tension between the things I know for sure. Praying daily for God’s wisdom to walk out my beliefs with grace and compassion. To all my homosexual friends, I love you. I pray that God will comfort you and be a very real and present force in your life during this difficult time, drawing you ever closer to him.

So I've been brave and shared my views. What do you think? Don't be afraid to disagree, but please share your opinions in a civil manner.

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