Balancing truth and love
“Lord, what should my attitude be?” That was my prayer just now as I pondered the Supreme Court’s latest decisions regarding same-sex marriage, and the celebrations on various fronts because of them. How do I process and respond to this growing rejection of traditional values in light of God’s holiness, as well as his mercy and love?
God’s Word clearly says to “speak the truth,” but to do it “in love.” The truth is that he regards homosexuality as sin, a rebellious perversion of his design. And more so, “reveals his wrath” against those who suppress the truth, and particularly those who “give approval to those who practice” sin. Yet, Jesus came to save all sinners, of which I am one. And we are called to love our neighbor, be humble, remove the log from our own eye before attempting to extract the speck from our brother’s. What should my attitude be towards those for whom Jesus died, yet to whom he is inconsequential?
Speaking the truth in love is becoming increasingly difficult as more and more are casting off healthy restraints and God’s authority. And looking at people like me with disdain, and even hatred. I wonder if many gays and their advocates ever try and understand us conservative-types like many of us try to understand them. We’re not all the same, of course, but for any who are interested, here’s where I’m coming from:
I love Jesus and desire his glory above anything else. He loves me, died for me and drew me into a saving relationship with himself. I owe him my life. Because of this, it grieves me terribly to observe and experience all the ways his name is trashed as others for whom he also died deny him by not only refusing to give him glory and praise, but disregarding his sacrifice for them and his authority over them as God.
I don’t believe God wrings his hands, if you will, over those who don’t honor him, or needs me to defend him. But imagine your father owns a very successful business and treats his employees generously. Yet you regularly observe them badmouthing him, disregarding his instructions, goofing off on the job, and stealing from him. Even though you know your father is aware of their dishonesty and disrespect and chooses to keep them in his employment anyway, it grieves, irks, and upsets you to see them treat him in such a dishonoring way. And you want to stop them.
Please understand. I’m not saying that gays and those who support them are the riffraff to the upstanding, law-abiding citizens that we Christians are. Homosexuality is one sin among many, and we are all busted on multiple counts. But when I sin, I acknowledge it. I confess it, agreeing with God that it’s wrong. That’s honoring to him. Flaunting sin, being proud of it, is an affront to God’s holiness and mercy. And I just can’t sit back and watch folks do that without saying something.
And I can’t sit idly by while a functional atheism continues to shape the society my children and grandchildren live in. No doubt, if those of us who call ourselves Christians were more like Jesus, we would be influencing society sufficiently enough to counteract the pull towards unbelief and rebellion. If we didn’t overlook the love part of the equation as we endeavor to speak the truth.
So my attitude should be one marked by love, without compromising the truth. Love and truth. Truth and love. They can be perfectly balanced if I am following Jesus well. Because he is love. And he is also truth.
And his call to each one of us is the gospel in four words: