Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Post this as your status"...?

I wrote this on my Facebook account and got a decent response. It wasn't a mass response, but the comments were interesting and thoughtful. As such, I'd like to share with you the full article I wrote on 10/20/2010 and I'd appreciate your response.

I understand today is a day to mourn gays who have been pushed into committing suicide due to the thoughtless abuse and cruelty of others. My heart goes out to anyone who is pushed to harm themselves. The pandemic of people being pushed too far has spread throughout every corner of the world. It saddens me.

That being said, I've noticed that Christians are posting this propaganda that proposes we understand that being homosexual is not a choice. That saddens me as well.

As Christians , I wonder if we know enough about the Word. Have many of us have really confronted the violence of the Cross? 

Post this as your status if you know or love someone who is gay. My wish for 2011 is that people will understand that being gay is not a disease nor a choice. People who are gay are not looking for a cure but acceptance and equal rights. I copy pasted this in effort to end intolerance and ...hate.Will you do the same?

As I stated, I regret the pain hateful and uncaring people cause others who are going through gender identity issues. There's no cause for their selfish and ignorant actions. I'm opposed to intolerance and hate. 

But... how many Christians still have the courage to remain steadfast in the teachings of the Bible? What does the Bible say on this issue? Let's examine it. 

"The Bible consistently tells us that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin in order to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God.

God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their own choice. A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not! The same is true with homosexuality.

However, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 4:13)." 

I know this is a rough subject. I realize that some of you will be angry with me over this. That's the thing. Christians will only gain respect from the world around them when they speak up and tend to the needs, rather than cater. Having the courage to stand up for what you believe in because you know it serves the greater good of the community of people around you and their spiritual welfare more thoroughly is an act of honor.

I've men and women that are my friends that differ from me on various issues, some serious. Some of them are even gay. They respect me though because they know what I believe and that I stand firm. They know I'm not perfect. I don't try to pretend I am. But they know I'm a Bible believing Christian with no shades of gray. We need more Christians, absent the shades of gray. 

I know gay men and women. I've no malice toward them. And they know that. My malice is toward the sin. It's been said by empty vessels that we ought to "love the sinner and hate the sin" and most of you know an empty vessel when you hear and/or see one. I'm sure you know that's not the case with me. I have many flaws, but one of them does not lie in my love and concern for any of you or for anyone who may reach out to me in the days ahead.

Love the sinner and hate the sin? Christ in me has made that possible. Philippians 4:13. 

Why hate the sin? It was once said by an old preacher,

"Before we can comprehend or understand grace, we must confront the violence of the Cross and that it was our sin that nailed Him [Jesus Christ our Lord] to it, it was our sin that required the payment, it was our sin that beckoned the Father's heart to offer the ransom required and His awesome love that payed the debt without hesitation. Only then can grace be real for us. Only then can we truly know the depths mercy took to purchase grace...for us."  

For those of you who follow my blog, I'd like to remind you of a sermon I posted on it not long ago titled "Amen, Brother! by Pastor James Jackson"

2 Corinthians 1:20 (Weymouth New Testament). "For all the promises of God, whatever their number, have their confirmation in Him; and for this reason through Him also our Amen acknowledges their truth and promotes the glory of God through our faith." 

Amen: to be or become; so be it, truth, sure; may it be so; faithfulness; it is written. Its primary use is to indicate that the speaker adopts for his own what has already been said by another. A form of affirmation or confirmation of the speaker's own thought.

Amen is making a vow, a covenant that is sealed. It is aligning yourself, in agreement, to a statement and a commitment to follow through according to the original terms.

When we say “amen” in a prayer of agreement, we are saying that what was said is truth and then we align ourselves with that truth. We are declaring “may it be so; may what we have just agreed to come to pass”. Hmmm. Some things spoken in a sermon or prayer are not in accordance with the Word of God and, therefore, we can not and must not declare our agreement or alignment with that which was spoken. Some things we don't want to come to pass. We must, therefore, withhold our “amen”.

First, come into alignment (agreement) with the Word of God.
Second, listen closely to what is spoken in a sermon or prayer.
Third, give your “amen” only to that which aligns itself with the Word of God.

If the truth of God's Word is absent, then so must be our “amen”. Too often, we say “amen” without understanding or believing what was said (in a sermon, prayer or statement). It is used as a religious phrase by rote (mechanical or unthinking routine or repetition).

Once we understand the will of the Lord and put into practice His Word, our “amen” can and will be spoken with confidence and assurance. 

"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5:14-15)


I'm curious, Christian, would you say "amen" to the status update that's been asked of you or the Word? Would you love the sinner and hate the sin? Would you take a stand? 

Comments from my Facebook account: 
"I'm glad you posted this, Josh. I've been talking a lot about this with various people. I think most people would see me as a person who at least TRIES to love the person and hate the sin although I know I fail. But you said something that I firmly believe and something that lots of people (both Christians and unbelievers) do not like. That gay people, while they have not been BORN gay, could have been born more susceptible to homosexual desires. Like any sin. I'll just say it...I do not think having a drink or two is a bad thing (drunkenness yes) but I will never go to a bar without other like minded people there to hold me accountable. I don't frequent bars anyway but if I were to go for some sort of event or social gathering I would do so with someone who is also a lover of Jesus and knows about MY susceptibility to drunkenness. I stay away from what is a strong hold for me. I'm very prone to all sorts of addictions and I have to be careful about it. I know I fail. But I know when it's bad, I recognize it and I repent. Eventually :)
It's a very thin line we, as Christians, are force to walk right now with these tragedies. I want nothing more than to go back in time some how and just give those kids a hug. Maybe that wouldn't have saved them...but maybe it would've. It breaks my heart to pieces that we often miss the pain in someones eyes or in their behaviors even when it's RIGHT in front of us. One of my favorite lines from a song is from the song Cut by Plumb. It says "and these scars wouldn't be so hidden if you would just look me in the eye"
Jesus wasn't afraid to look people in the eye and see the pain. And address it. I think we often don't look people in the eye. We're too worried about us. It's sad..." Jessica T. 
"Do not forget to entertain strangers; for by so doing, some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2" 

"Matthews 25:33-40"

"We should be the post our brother (and sister) leans on when he (or she) stumbles on his (or her) path to God. Some peoples path will be longer and harder than others. As long as we lend ourselves to their need, we are doing our job." 

"O Father of all people and lover of all your children. Give me a heart of concern and compassion for those who are left out and forgotten, especially those abandoned by the world.... Please give me courage to identify with those who the world not only shuns and shames but those the world persecutes and ridicules. Father, give me a heart like Jesus for the people that most depend upon Him. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen" Angela S. 
"Very well said, Josh. While I do not agree, I do respect your position, especially in your lack of malice and/or hostility toward gays. I myself am straight, but the Bible also says that eating shellfish, pork, and meat and dairy in the same meal are abominations, and most of us don't seem to share those views. I stick with Jesus' central message..."Love thy neighbor as thyself." And bullying and cruelty are abominations as well. Good discussion, though, I really respect your conviction." William B.  

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