Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin; We’ve Lost Sight Of The First Part
This post is going to upset people. I’m warning you from the outset. I’m taking a flamethrower to Old Religion in this post, and in fact, to some of the things I have held dear for most of my life.
Hindsight is a hideous thing. Long before I lost my job in January my mind was beginning to analyze some of the decisions I’ve made in ministry in the last two years. I realize nobody’s perfect and my choices were made with the best of intent.
Somebody posted a quote of Rick Warren’s a few weeks ago that hit a chord with me.
Our culture has accepted two huge lies:
The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle you must fear or hate them.
The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.
Both are nonsense.
I agree with this wholeheartedly, regardless of whether Rick Warren said it or not.
The evangelical Christian response to homosexuals (not homosexuality) in the last generation and a half has done nothing to further the cause of Christ. I wrote that one, you can quote me on it.
I have a friend. She will always be my friend, regardless of whatever dumb ideas she may have at any given time. She used to be a he. And according to a medical definition, she still is a he, but that’s subject to change anytime in the future. Am I concerned about this? Absolutely I am. Am I going to take my twenty pound leather bound KJV and beat her over the head with hate and religious jargon and scare her further away from God? How am I going to answer to God if I make that my choice?
She was a kid in one of my past youth groups. She used to sing in the worship team and has a lot of talent. After leaving home to go to college, she was exposed to influences that made her think. You can rest assured that those influences didn’t say “Oh. You’re a Christian. We’re not going to have anything to do with you!”
I’m not afraid of her. And I don’t hate her. In fact, in Christian circles, she has acknowledged my wife and I as being “one of the few” who treats her like a human being. I don’t agree with her choice to label herself the way she has. And I’m not going to help her go down the path any further. But if somebody doesn’t reach over the side of the boat with their arm extended, this precious soul is going to drown.
At Christmas last year, I preached my last message at my old church on a non-traditional Christmas passage. I preached on John 3:16. We say the Reason For The Season is Jesus. And if that’s true, then the answer to all the questions about why Christmas happened the way it did can be found in John 3:16. God loved the world so much… that He gave his only Son…
Just because somebody has “come out of the closet” doesn’t mean we as Christians should retreat into one and nervously sing our songs of faith and power on continuous repeat hoping it will drive the scary people away. And just because somebody comes out of the closet doesn’t make his or her sin any more or less serious than the sin we nurture in our churches by labeling people and trying to excommunicate them from the grace they so desperately need.
The rebellion around which the homosexual lifestyle is based is focused on two things. False power, and false love. They march so proudly down our streets with the beautiful rainbow flags (another sermon in itself) and proclaim their crusade “against hate”. They love everybody unconditionally. They’ve stolen our message (not to mention the symbol of a divine covenant) and are using it against us!
It’s working. All over the world innocent souls who God sent a Saviour for are turning by the droves. Away from the church and it’s condemnation. And towards a lifestyle that has embraced what we as the church have discarded in the name of holiness or any other number of completely lame excuses. Are we called to save the saved? So many of our churches haven’t seen a new convert in decades, and the ones who trickle through leave quickly when they find out what we’re really about. Many churches haven’t enlarged their borders in decades. We laud our increase or lament our decrease when really all it is are disgruntled Christians moving from church to church as pastors change.
We need to love the unlovable. Or else they’re never going to be freed from the body of sin and death.