Kim Davis is representing all of us. She is the image of Christianity that America is focused on today. She’s a Kentucky county clerk who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage; jailed Thursday after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples.
She seems brave and full of conviction.
But when you apply the law to a situation that desperately needs the gospel, you do more harm than good.
I’m honestly praying for my dear sister. I appreciate her desire to walk in righteousness. Most of my Christians friends support her valor and decision. This article is not trying to deny or validate whether Kim (or anyone else) should be able to stand for their religious beliefs.
This is about the message we are prioritizing as the body of Christ.
Let me explain.
Kim is a bit like John the Baptist. A force to be reckoned with. A man who died in prison, for standing up against sin.
John was hand-picked by God to prepare the way of the Lord. He was a voice of conviction and repentance. People wanted to hear John. They wanted to be baptized by him. His rugged invitation for righteousness resonated with the crowds.
But he was the beginning of the message… not the end.
John the Baptist is not the model to follow. He is not the Messiah who saves. He is not the message we preach.
The ministry of John was the end of the Old Testament prophets. The ministry of Jesus was the beginning of the New Covenant.
With Christ, a new day began. The era when the one and only God would take the form of sinful flesh, so that all sinful flesh could finally have access to the one and only God.
Do you know why John the Baptist lost his head? Why he was literally decapitated in prison?
Because he called out the sins of the people. Because he spoke out against the king. Because he exposed their sexual deviations.
Yes, John’s death was an honorable death.
But it saved no one.
John the Baptist died as a great prophet. However, it was the next prophet who would die for the sake all; for seers and sinners, for Herod and Pilate, for Kim Davis, and for every gay couple she’s rejected.
The testimony that I have is greater than that of John. -Jesus in John 5:36
Trust me, if Jesus wanted us to stop gay people from getting married, he would have said something specifically about it. He’s bright like that.
(He did speak against divorce but for some reason we seem ok with that one.)
And I’m not saying Jesus supports gay marriage. I’m not saying that I support gay marriage. I’m not saying the church should support gay marriage. (I just don’t want to be known or defined by that.)
I want to be known as a friend of sinners, a generous neighbor, a lover of grace.
What I’m against should not define me.
It shouldn’t define us.
It didn’t define Christ.
“People always left Jesus’ presence feeling more seen and known and loved than before, and unless we Christians do that with those we disagree with, our testimony will always be inferior to its aspirations.” –John Pavlovitz
As I wrote in Will I Do Gay Weddings?, after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Same Sex Marriage,
“Now that we have “lost” this moral fight, we can start focusing on the hearts of men. The money that was invested on saying NO to gay marriage, can now go to saying YES to the Sermon on the Mount; to feeding the poor, to adoption and foster care, to caring for the elderly, to taking the good news all across the earth.
Maybe this is God’s way of re-directing our attention.
Because we keep trying to change the perception of the world about itself, when Jesus is all about changing the perception of the world about God’s love and His Kingdom.
He did not preach, “Repent! Because you live in the kingdom of darkness.” He declared, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”
And it is near to restore, to unite, to heal, to save.
I’ll finish with this, when John the Baptist understood that the time of Jesus had arrived, he told his followers these words: “He must become greater; I must become less.”
That was John’s humble declaration about Jesus. That was him denying his good model to make way for a greater strategy. That was him rejecting his great revelation to make way for the ultimate revelation. That was him dying to his ministry in order for the ministry of Jesus to be the one that dominated the landscape, and our hearts.
I hope we can pray the same.
“Jesus must become greater; our version of Christianity must become less.”
Kim Davis is following the model of John the Baptist.
I want to follow the model of Christ.
What will you do?
“In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”
Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
*Are you up for sharing this message of the greater way on your social feed? Go ahead, be brave.
There’s obviously another side to this conversation. You might have those thoughts and want to share, so comment below.