Prime time TV doesn’t usually offer much in the way of wisdom, but yesterday I heard this line “having a right, is not the same thing as doing what is right” and all I heard was what the Apostle Paul said to the church in Corinth: ‘You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)
Mega church pastor Andy Stanley said that we are a nation obsessed with our rights and oblivious to our responsibilities, and he’s right. Turn on the news, check your Facebook newsfeed and you’ll see that’s all anyone can talk about – their rights to do certain things.
The TV show I mentioned and it’s biblical counter part both say that while we may have a right to do it, doing it may not be the right thing because it’s either going to end up hurting ourselves or someone else. The tough part is distinguishing between our rights and what is right.
The world we live in doesn’t want to hear this, as far as they’re concerned if it’s legal, then they’re doing it. If it’s not legal and they think it should be, then they’re doing it. In their defense they aren’t bound by moral absolutes the way we are, they are what Jesus’ half brother James called ‘wishy-washy’. (James 1:6-8)
Christians believe that God is unchanging and so is His Word. Unlike some of the mainstream churches today that have decided to conform to social pressures, true Christianity stands firm in God’s truth despite what the culture around them says about them. The church is supposed to influence culture, not the other way around.
What I’m talking about of course is the big sexual revolution of our generation. In just a short period of time homosexuality has gone from something that was never even talked about to being on nearly every TV show, talk show, newspaper, radio, social media site and it’s being promoted and celebrated by our governments. People like me who dare to speak and say that it’s a sin are at best, chastised by the world around us and at worst destroyed both financially and socially by the government and our friends and family.
Allow me to clarify the ‘homosexuality is a sin’ statement. I’m not saying that it’s the only sin, or that it’s a worse sin, just that it is a sin. Just like many other sins that are legal today like – pornography, drunkenness, gossip, rage, bitterness, lies, the list goes on. Watching porn today is not illegal, in fact in many sitcoms it’s talked about as if it’s normal, so normal that if you’re not watching it, you’re the freak. Drinking in excess is perfectly legal, again it’s expected from you if you want to be cool. And parents of teenagers today don’t forbid it outright so that their teens don’t hate them. Here’s a big one, abortion. Perfectly legal in most places today and talked about as if having one is simply a choice to be made and nothing more. These are all examples of rights people have that according to the Bible are not right, i,e sin.
Those that don’t like what I’m saying have probably already clicked on the X to close the window but for the rest of you, you should know that I am not trying to condemn anyone, or dehumanize anyone as I’ve been accused of in the past. No, I’m just saying that some things are sinful, even if you have a right to do them. Holding these beliefs also means being automatically branded a bigot, a homophobe and no matter what I say it seems I can’t get through to them that just because I see it as a sin does not mean I hate them. Quite the contrary actually. Telling someone something that could be the difference between heaven and hell is not a hateful thing, it’s a loving thing. Nevertheless, the beliefs that I hold and many other Christians hold are often the barrier between us and everyone else, and that division is what causes many on both sides to simply stay on their side and not stretch out the hand of grace.
I know many such Christians. Many who would rather separate and isolate themselves from what they see as a world gone to hell than to take a chance on someone from that world. I don’t believe that’s the answer, I don’t think that building a compound and creating a secret society for Christians is the best way to live out what Jesus called us to do. Sadly, that’s what many Christians do today, they won’t engage with culture for fear of being called names. They won’t risk their comfort because someone might challenge them and what they believe. They refuse to go out and try to influence the world around them out of fear that the world will influence them.
The Apostle Paul taught the Corinthians not to judge the outside world, but to judge fellow Christians. “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside…”
(1 Corinthians 5:12-13). We don’t go out to judge the lost world, they don’t even know they’re doing wrong, remember what Jesus said about the soldiers and mockers while He was hanging on the cross? We go out and tell anyone who will listen that Jesus loves them – gay, drunk, had an abortion, spreads lies, filled with rage, we tell them all that Jesus can and will forgive them. Yes, they have an earthly right to those things but they all lead to destruction. Turn away from the things that only give temporary peace and turn to the One who holds eternity’s peace. Tell those who think their identity is tied into their sexuality that Jesus knows what temptation feels like, He overcame it and with His help they can too. (Matthew 4:1-11)
For those Christians who think that putting a barrier between themselves and the rest of the world I would say they are committing the sin of omission. Refusing to spread the gospel to a lost and hurting world is directly disobeying the call that Jesus placed on our lives. (Matthew 28:16-20)
The majority of the North American population still identify as Christian, or at least hold a belief in God and yet saying something biblical is treated like minority thinking, on the fringe if you will. The reason for this is the wishy-washy thinking I mentioned earlier, many say they are Christian but don’t cling to biblical truth. And it’s because of that wishy-washyness that the gospel isn’t being spread the way it should be if there were actually as many Christians as people who claim to be.