I wrote this post the week the Supreme Court of the United States allowed for gay marriages throughout the United States. It is a personal post that I first posted on Facebook and so I clearly expressed my faith as a Christian in it. My personal faith is not the issue. The issue is how we wrestle with our faith to cultivate our morality.
I am happy about the SCOTUS decision regarding gay marriage. My legal mind finds that they are correct in their assessment that a secular government should not legislate religious ideals. Even as Christians, we cannot agree on what the ideal is. I therefore, do not want a government stating that for me. A secular government should grant equality to all people regardless of whatever race, sexuality, etc. that is ascribed.
That being said, I think the church is confused about sin. There is really only one sin that matters and that is the sin in the Garden of Eden – the sin that separated humanity from a loving benevolent God. Jesus Christ resolved this sin. As a Christian, I stand by this. We are reconciled to God. All of humanity is reconciled to God. It is not the role of the church to go about pointing out the sin of anyone. Yet, if you are a person of faith, the ruling may genuinely challenge you.
What is sin anyway? I define sin as anything that separates us from God and that is not the ideal of God’s original intention for our lives. It is not an issue of right or wrong. It would be a sin for me to be a medical doctor as that is not my calling. Yet, many would not consider that a sin. However, It is definitely a sin for me, and anyone else, to take another’s life.
We list homosexuality as a sin but do we really know what the translations mean? So in the NT, the Greek word was “Porneia” which was used to describe a relationship between a grown man and a little boy. It is the word from which we get pornography. In the Old Testament, where it was an “abomination,” scholarship seems to indicate that it was considered an abomination because other Ancient Near East Religions were using homosexuality as an act of worship in their religions. Furthermore, in the OT, any act of penetration of a man was considered a sin. Get your mind out of the gutter – an act of penetration such as a man dying by a sword or stab wound was also considered an abomination, a sin.
My denomination clearly considers homosexuality a sin. But my Bible also calls gluttony a sin. If you have seen me lately, you are shaking your head. Do you judge me for being overweight the same way you judge gay people? If the SCOTUS decision were that fat people have the right to marry, would you be upset? Why do we put some sin on a pedestal and not others? The other thing that bugs me is that in the New Testament, everywhere homosexuality is mentioned, stealing, fornication, adultery is mentioned. But we do not use the same standard to interpret those scriptures. Can thieves marry?
I used to think of homosexuality as a sin because I was taught it was a sin. I cannot comfortably say that today. Besides, it is not my business. What you do in your relationship is not my business. Whom you chose to be in relationship with is not my business. My business is my body and my life. I have no right to dictate to another what is right or wrong.
This thing we call homosexuality today between two consenting adults was not something that existed in Biblical times. It is a modern reflection of relationship. The same way a woman can get married to a man today and decide not to have any children. In Biblical times, both patterns of marriage were unheard of.
As Africans, we do not speak out against polygamy as we do homosexuality. We do not speak out against fornication and adultery, even gluttony as we do against homosexuality. I refuse to give any “sin” privilege over another.
I am now over 50 years old and marriage has taken on a different meaning for me. I am divorced and some people will try and tell me that I am in sin if I marry again. I am about 99.99% sure that I will never bear my own children and some try and say that somehow that means I am less than a woman. Not true! I am just hitting the high stride of my life, just getting to the peak, and also to the best part of my relationship with God. My life is fuller now than it has ever been.
Here is what I know: Sin is not my business. Jesus paid the price for that. What is my business is managing myself including how I judge others. Jesus said people would know us by our love for one another. I judge every single day and every single day I struggle with laying it down.
What is my business? To love you. To see you as whole. To live out my life in the liberty that I have received through Jesus Christ. To work out my own salvation and relationship with God with fear and trembling lest I offend anyone else. To be the example of Jesus who embraced the woman at the well even though he knew about her 6 husbands.
The truth is that as humans, we keep finding labels to use to separate us from all of humanity. There is something in us that wants to be considered better than others. We keep coming up with new ways to try and show our superiority. Jesus died for all sinners, including you and me. If you believe that, then you would not push against homosexuality or their right to live their lives as they want or find necessary.
People, just love indiscriminately and search your own heart out. I have shared my own heart in this post in the hopes of showing love and tolerance and encouraging us to expand our minds on this issue.
How do you wrestle with your own personal faith when it comes to larger issues that affect society? How does this influence your leadership?