Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It ain't easy...

Ugh.  That's what's on my mind right now.  Mainly because I have a lot on my heart and mind and what's sitting there is a touchy subject.  So how do I breach this subject?  To anyone reading this, take warning.  This is not an easy note for me to write and may cause offense to those of differing views.  It is downright painful to me, but I see many in the world going to hell and frankly, it scares me.

I read an article where Pastor Rick Warren was interviewed recently and the subject matter was same sex marriage.  Therein lies the touchy subject.  This subject leads to a deeper touchy subject, that being modern Christianity in general.

I'm not here to judge anyone, but as I interpret what I understand as the truth of God's word, there are many "Christians" out there not living a Christian life.  So here is my dilemma.  I believe God's word where it says in Matthew 18:15 that if your brother sins, bring it to their attention so that they will turn from it.  The problem is that in verse 17, it says that if they refuse to listen, treat them as you would a non-Christian.  I read that as losing friends.  It's a tough sell, but I think God was also trying to make a point.  Sin is serious.  Serious enough to warrant losing a friend over.

At the same time, God wants us to be Gentle as Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:24-25.  We are to be kind to everyone, not resentful.  Verse 25 states that "opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth..."

This has been on my mind for some time now.  Struggling with the right words to say.  It's especially difficult when it is someone close to you.  Someone you love dearly that you see walking down the wrong path and you know that saying the wrong thing can cause a divide not easily mended.

I struggle for words then I read 2 Timothy 4:1-5.  "1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry"

We as Christians are to "Preach the Word, correct, rebuke and encourage" and we are to do it with great patience and careful instructions.  I believe Paul wrote it this way to say "Don't torque people off".  So how do I tell the ones I love that they need to stop sinning without losing a relationship with them?  At the same time, Paul tells us part of the problem.  They are allowing themselves to be convinced that what they are doing is "OK", finding someone out there to condone their sinful behavior.  All the while, someone like me gets painted as judging.  I guess that puts me in the same category as Rick Warren.  Unpopular.

I have had a number of friends that get in a relationship and start living with their friend.  Not married and living together in my eyes is a sin.  I am not judging anyone, but from what I've read in God's word, sex is for after marriage.  So seeing as how where there's smoke, there's fire, I would assume people living together are also having sex. This falls into the category of gay marriage.  God's design is for a man to leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, to become one.   

I've seen many people claiming to be Christian and at the same time promoting homosexuality and gay marriage.  God called homosexuality detestable in Leviticus 18:22.  In the first chapter of Romans, Paul tells us about God's wrath, stating that God gave them (Sinful Humanity) over to shameful lusts. It says that "even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error."  I read this to say that it's wrong and a sin. 

God said in Hosea 4 that His people "perish for their lack of knowledge".  I find that a profound statement.  I read that to mean that people die because they didn't know better, or because they refused to learn.  All through the Bible you will find God telling His people to remember, knowing how easily we would forget Him.  If you've ever studied the Old Testament, you will begin to see how quickly His people forgot what He did for them.  How He has patience with us I will never understand.

So I pray.  Asking God for wisdom and guidance and all the while, it seems all I hear is that I need to stand my ground.  To stand up for what I believe is right.  And at the risk of losing a friend, or alienating a family member, I need to do what's right.  I don't claim to have all the answers.  That's never been my point, but I would feel remiss if I didn't say something.

I know someday I will stand before God in judgment and I need to know that I did what I thought was right in His eyes.  When He asks me what I did with my life, I want to be able to answer Him that I did what I knew how.  And when He asks me where my children are, I want to be able to tell Him, "following You".

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