Well, America, the day has finally come. We can’t really say it’s a surprise that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of making marriage equality constitutional, after years of slow but sure state-by-state legalization.
The echoes throughout the nation vary, from the cheers and tears of the LGBT community to the “Are we really surprised?” that I’m sure everyone will hear from a friend over the next week.
As an American Christian, I feel like this may be an unexpected landmark in the story of Jesus Christ redeeming mankind.
Not because I think Judgment Day is any closer today…
(That actually gets closer everyday, regardless of what happens in the American government….because of how time works…)
And not because I think the legalization of same-sex marriage is somehow going to save the world…
But because I think that this ruling provides us a new opportunity to reach the lost.
Whether you realize it or not, the inequality of our marriage laws has been a great ringing in the ears of the American LGBT community. Many have had ears closed to the Christian community because we’ve continued to rally for the restriction of same-sex marriage. And while we’ve advocated for the Biblical institution of marriage, the way that the government handles marriage has made it something different already.
Marriage in America comes with certain unique rights. These rights have taken the term “marriage” to become something other than a religious ceremony in the eyes of the law. Many Christians are offended by this thought, because they hold the Biblical institution in a high regard. I think it is important to realize the secular LGBT community at large isn’t necessarily looking for Biblical recognition in their marriages. They seem to just want to be able to have a meaningful ceremony of their love and be afforded the same legal rights as straight married couples.
The law of the Bible may convict us to not conduct these ceremonies ourselves as God-ordained marriages, but it CERTAINLY does not task us to try and manipulate our government into stopping others from doing it.
No matter your beliefs on whether the restriction of same-sex marriage was justified, your witness was being constantly nullified of all merit to those who felt attacked by the Christian community with the arm of the law. Many in the LGBT community have had their ears sealed shut to all things Christian, because we’ve paraded the name of Christ around as the figurehead of a political movement He never subscribed to.
We can’t expect them to all of a sudden have ears perked up to hear what we have to say, but we now have the opportunity to start tearing down those walls. If we abandon the pursuit of rectifying the national law to what it was before, and begin to undo the antagonistic reputation we’ve built up, I believe we have a unique chance to start sharing the Gospel with more people who never would have heard it above the ringing.
But we can still mess this up…
If we put our energy into advocating to have this decision overturned legally, we I understand the temptation to want to fight back and return the law back to how you think it should be, and if the actual stakes of this law were higher, I may agree. The realization that I’ve come to, however, is that Christians are bound to God’s law, but God’s law does not need to reflect perfectly in our federal government, as long as federal law does not prevent us from following God’s law.
If we really care about souls, we need to see this decision as an opportunity to begin closing the divide that prevents so many from accepting the Gospel. When all is said and done, our ONLY “agenda” as Christians should be to bring the message of salvation to those who need it (i.e. EVERYONE).
Yes, this means there will be difficult days ahead. As we face the issues of legality around religious practices (cake-baking to marriage ceremonies, and everything in between), it is tempting to skip the headache and run back to the laws that favor your religious views over others. Not only is this ineffective in changing the law (as our culture is not positioned to sway back on this decision so easily), it is showing a commitment to a political ideal over a commitment to people.
As followers of Jesus Christ, this must never be the case. We are to whole-heartedly desire salvation for each and every member of Creation. As for me, I choose to stand in confidence that God is in control, and that the greater reality of Heaven trumps how well my religious beliefs match that of my government’s. I hope that many more will join me and move forward to show care for the LGBT community in a way that can become increasingly received and felt as time passes.
If we allow politic and worldly matters to consume our effort, we lose out on moments like this. Moments like today, where there’s a silver lining right in front of our faces, and so few are willing to lift our eyes above the land we walk on.