Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. –Francis Chan in Crazy Love
Since I was ordained as a pastor in 2004 I have officiated more than 50 weddings.
I have done the weddings of my three best friends and I have done quick ceremonies because someone got knocked up. I have done weddings where I was asked to not to use the name of Jesus and weddings where they asked me to preach the Gospel like we were in an evangelistic crusade (with altar call and deliverance).
I served each couple as best as I could. Their wedding day was their wedding day, so I accommodated myself as much as possible to give them the experience they wanted to get (without forgetting who I was).
And I did my job without judging them for being fornicators, divorcées, liars, or cheap (ok, maybe I judged a little).
Yet after today I actually have to ask myself, Will I Do Gay Weddings?
In a landmark opinion, a divided Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a victory that until very recently seemed unthinkable.
So the possibility exists for me either to get in trouble with the law for denying a gay couple the right to get married… or to actually do the wedding.
It might be obvious to you what I should do.
But I have a few thoughts going either way.
As Carl Medaris said, “Truth and Grace. A fine balancing act. No bumper sticker answers. No easy black and white responses to complicated questions involving real live human beings made in the image of God who are desperately seeking to find him.”
JESUS’ IDEAS: Enemies? Love them. Violence? Renounce it. Money? Share it. Foreigners? Welcome them. Sinners? Forgive them. Power? Love! -Brian Zahnd
This is now the law of the land. And who knows? Maybe because we are not reaching out with love and power and grace to the gay community, God is bringing them to us. And now that we can’t keep them at a “safe” distance, we will have to engage.
Because history has taught us this lesson again and again, as Amber Brooks wrote recently: [bctt tweet=”Laws don’t change hearts. The Holy Spirit does.”]
As a Christian pastor, the decision of the Supreme Court might affect my ministry, my livelihood and my core beliefs.
Other people all over America are celebrating. And even while I disagree with the re-definition, I understand. Because their core belief is that they were born this way. Whether they’re right or wrong, perhaps denying them the right to get married feels to them like I would feel if a Puerto Rican man was denied the right to marry a British woman (which is my reality) (and my right).
Also, the majority of US citizens agree with the decision of the Supreme Court, not with the church’s view. And although a good part of the Body of Christ has been fighting with politics, prayer and civil action (trying to reverse the trend)… culture is not changed by rules or morals or behavior modification.
It takes love. It takes sacrifice. It takes the cross.
So maybe we could focus on the actual work of the Gospel. 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 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 for 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.
And I want to join Him in that.
Jesus did not preach, “Repent… because you live in the kingdom of darkness.” He declared, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matthew 4:17)
This Kingdom of healing and unity and righteousness is within reach.
Probably more so today.
Because, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Roman 5:20
[bctt tweet=”Sin is obviously an issue, but grace is the central event.”]
We seemed to be more interested in proving how Christian this nation is, but Christ himself seemed to be more interested in demonstrating to the citizens of this world, how much He loved us (and why He gave himself for us all).
The Sinless One was never concerned with being seen as The Sinless One. He was way more concerned with being a friend to us, the-always-sinful-ones.
Yes, I don’t have to agree with my gay friends. Actually, I don’t agree with most of my friends on a lot of things. Heck, I don’t agree with my wife on a ton of things!
That has not stopped me from loving them, supporting them, and being there for them, even when I disagree.
Will I ever officiate the wedding ceremony of a gay friend? Probably not.
As a pastor I stand by the Biblical views of marriage between a man and a woman. I love marriage. I believe in it. And I believe in the One who established it.
Will I ever be part of the wedding ceremony of a gay friend? Probably yes.
I want to be like Jesus, a friend of sinners. And more than that, I want to love like Jesus, who became one with sinners. (And I’m sure He’s a friend of sinners, because He’s a friend of mine).
Maybe because of this decision we can stop fighting about what the government will do or won’t do about gay marriages. Maybe now we can actually engage the LGBT community and start working towards honor and understanding. Maybe now the church will stop pretending like it’s winning and it can be humble again. Servants again. Lovers again.
Now we can stop trying to get the world to acknowledge their sin, because the most beautiful thing is when we acknowledge ours.
And God is into beautiful things.
As Marc Galli asked in Christianity Today, “What actions and attitudes have we imbibed that contribute to our culture’s dismissing our ethics? Our homophobia has revealed our fear and prejudice. Biblical inconsistency—our passion to root out sexual sins while relatively indifferent to racism, gluttony, and other sins—opens us to the charge of hypocrisy. Before we spend too much more time trying to straighten out the American neighborhood, we might get our own house in order.”
As I wrote in the article How God made Bruce Jenner, “I’m sure you have one family member, or friend, or co-worker who is LGBT. You might look down on them. You might be weirded-out by their behavior. You might even think that if you befriend them, their sexuality is going to contaminate you.
But Jesus would have a chat with them.
No stones in his hand.
Only the scars of the cross.
And this song of hope: “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
I believe the Bible is clear; Homosexuality is a sin. But so are about 30 different things I did today. That means we all need the Savior. We all need God to our rescue.”
“With Jesus there is no us and them – there is just us.” Father Greg Boyle in Tattoos on the Heart / The Power of Boundless Compassion.
The Followers of Jesus were persecuted because they healed the sick, took care of widows, shared all their possessions and preached the message of Jesus (which is salvation for all).
If we continue to be “persecuted” because we defend the phrase, “Merry Christmas” or because we say “no” to performing gay weddings… then when are we going to be persecuted for actually loving the world? For challenging religious systems? For demonstrating the Kingdom of God?
You know, the way of the New Testament.
I have seen incredible love, conviction and revelation inside maximum security prisons. I have preached in Public High Schools and have seen classrooms turned into revival centers.
What if a gay wedding is next?
I could go to jail for saying no to doing a gay wedding or while I’m there in the ceremony, see the Kingdom of God come with healing signs and wonders. Where the hearts of the fathers return to their children and the hearts of the children return to their fathers.
I don’t know. I’ve never seen it.
Maybe it’s time to try.
Yes, I’m confused. Yes, I’m trying to navigate grace and truth. Yes, I have no clue what’s next.
But one thing I know as certain: God is in control and God is very, very good.
I know that this decision seems to create an impossible balance. But we will have to figure it out. And I choose to start with the simplest (most Christian) of steps… forgiveness and blessing.
To the LGBT community I say, “Sorry for the hatred, the vitriol and the rejection. There are million of us Christians who love you and believe God’s best for you. We might not agree with you but we promise to love you as Jesus loves us.”
With the church I pray, “We bless the Supreme Court, We bless the President and bless all our gay and lesbian friends. We bless the churches that will stand against gay rights and the ones who will defend it.”
And above all else, “I bless you Jesus… because you paid the price for us to become God’s family.”
If the Gay Agenda has prevailed today, then it might be the perfect invitation for the Grace Agenda to start tomorrow.
Time to #DropTheStones
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17
*I know it could be costly, but share this today on social media and start the healthy conversations of love. Thanks!
MORE FROM THE AUTHOR: Discover your full identity and enjoy everything God has for you: Designed for Inheritance / A Discovery of Sonship.