I had the honor and privilege recently of having a long, tear-filled conversation with someone who has struggled with same-sex attraction. They have literally taken a bullet, and watched a friend die by the bullet, of someone who simply hated gays. They shared how, without a legal commitment of relationship, the family of someone they loved (and had loved for decades) could cut them off from even seeing that person in the hospital if that person was unconscious. They shared how they couldn't find the depth of love in someone of the opposite sex they found in someone of the same. They shared their deep longing to love and be loved and to not grow old alone.
We talked. We listened to one another. We honored one another with listening and trying to hear one another's hearts. It was an amazing experience.
I still believe the Bible is clear about God's stand on homosexuality. I still believe that we, as Christians, can't legitimatize by law something we believe God says is sin. But it was a powerful reminder to me—one I hope I never forget—that this whole battle (or any battle, for that matter, be it abortion, etc.) is not about "them." The "them" are (granted there are extremists on both sides who make a genuine discussion hard), but the "them" are people with feelings, people who love, people who often want to please God, people who are hurt. They are real people and if we ever forget that, and walk not in love (which doesn't mean compromise), then no matter how correct our theology is, we will not be representing God.
I talked extensively about this with our fellowship yesterday, and I felt God bring two questions to my mind. They are questions the church must grapple with if we want God to wash this nation with His Holy Spirit (and I believe that is the only answer for us, that the individuals in this nation choose to love and obey Him above all else). Those two questions were:
1. I, who am so passionate and patriotic about America, am I even more passionate and "patriotic" about the true nation I am a citizen of, the eternal nation, the holy nation, that is God's Kingdom, His body, and about the eternal effects of it expanding and reigning or not?
2. I, who am so indignant about our nation's laws and direction, am I even more indignant and passionate and vocal about God's laws in my own life and within the church?
I do not believe God will pour out the only true answer—His Holy Spirit that draws men unto Jesus—if the church is not passionate about Him, about eternity, about holiness and purity in our own lives and ranks first. Why would He?
Nothing I am saying here is a call to compromise on what we believe is true and right before God, who does declare some things as true and right. But it is a call to never forget. To never, ever forget. That our enemy is not flesh and blood. That the "them" are real people whom God loves, with hurts and hopes and needs that are real and deep, with tears that flow like ours do, and hearts that hurt like ours do. May we live and love like Jesus. May we be humble and broken in our hearts toward our own sins and violations of God's laws, and living toward others as one saved only by the grace of God to another.
May we never forget the tears. God doesn't, and won't. Rather, it says, He will one day Himself wipe them from our eyes.
I am deeply concerned about this nation, and the nation I will hand my children and their children. I am deeply concerned it not longer puts God or His heart as the top of its list. I am concerned by it, and grieved by it, and I intend to continue to teach and live what I believe is truth. But as I do, in these days ahead, if I ever have to error, may it be on the side of love. May I love with a passion born of God's love for me and my love for Him. May I love in a way that the lost, the hurting, the confused find in me such a picture of His love that they run into His arms, and find their a Holy Spirit willing and ready and eager to lead and guide them down the road into His truth.
May I never forget the tears.