This week, the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark decision declaring that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and be legally recognized by the state as a married couple.
I hesitate to write or blog about hot social topics because there’s so much already being said. The internet is saturated with opinions, and usually I don’t feel that it’s necessary to add to the noise. But, in the wake of this particular issue, I have yet to read any blog post, tweet, facebook status, or op-ed that has articulated what I think is the most important response. So, I’m going to attempt to write it.
I’d like to talk about when love wins.
Here’s the rub: I believe in Jesus, the Christ, the Savior. And so, in order to talk about love, I have to first talk about sin.
I know there will be many who read the last word of that last sentence and immediately hit their ‘back’ button. And that’s okay. But I had to get it out there in the open from the get-go, because that word is everywhere. It’s in the facebook statuses, the tweets, the blog posts, and it is important. It’s eternally important. And, as a follower of Jesus, I do, indeed, believe that living a homosexual lifestyle (as opposed to having homosexual desires) is a sin. But I’m afraid that I’ve seen too many Christians desperately waving the banner of condemnation while tragically leaving out the good news that Jesus charged us to tell.
I need you to know, dear Reader, that sin is only part of the story.
The gist of Christianity is this: we believe that there is one true God and that He is holy. One (of many!) major implications of God’s holiness is that He is the moral law. His mandates for our morality are the rubric by which we judge any and all of our thoughts and actions. One other relevant (for the purposes of this discussion) implication of God’s holiness is that He will allow only holy persons into eternal communion with him. Those who are not holy (that is, anyone who does not obey his laws perfectly) are subject to eternal separation from God.
“But wait a minute,” you say! “You are certainly not holy, Courtney. There is no way you have upheld God’s laws perfectly.”
You are right.
“So how can you dare to believe you would spend eternity in communion with Him? And how could you ever dare to talk to others about their sin?”
Because of Jesus.
Because I love them. Because I love you.
And because Jesus loves you.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son [Jesus], that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
That perfectly holy God who requires perfection? He knew that we could not live up to his demands; but He loves us, and He wants us to be in communion with him. So, he made a way. He came to us as Jesus, our Deliverer, and He lived a perfect life in our place. He offers us what we call propitiation for our sinfulness if we will admit it, turn away from it, and believe in him as our Savior from the wrath of God that we actually deserve. And when we do that, we receive the reward that Jesus earned: eternity with him.
Whew. Take a breath. That was a lot of information.
But I needed to tell you the whole story. Because now I can tell you that I am a sinner in need of a Savior, just like you. Just like Billy Graham. Just like President Obama. Just like Mother Teresa. Now you’ll know what I’m talking about when I tell you that God is teaching me to hate sin (my sin included), not because I’m a crazy person who wants to be miserable and rain on everyone’s parade but because I have experienced the incredible, immeasurable love and grace of a Holy God, and I want to please him. And I hope you can now see why it is troubling to me when Christians write about sin and leave out the rest of the story. Because the rest of the story is Jesus. The rest of the story is love.
Because of Jesus, love wins.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
1 John 3:16