Truth and Love

Recently, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Obergefell v. Hodges case, there have been a series of verbal assaults to and from Christians that we must address. Some of those exchanges may have been instigated but overall, we must be careful not to label one another nor give in to slander or insults.

The Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ, says that those who follow Him are called to be salt and light in the world (Mat. 5:13-16). That means they are to love without being loved in return, to give as much as they can without concern for their own well-being, to serve with compassion and generosity, to pay their taxes, to be merciful and to be faithful to one another with dignity, integrity, and honor. They are to take on the very nature and characteristics of the spirit of God, which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). These are only a few of the instructions from the only perfect man who ever walked the face of the earth. The Bible says we are to be imitators of Him and thus we strive each and every day to walk as He would walk and to live as He would live.

However, given that we are imperfect, we will make mistakes as we try to communicate with conviction and with kindness, with truth and with grace. In fact, there will be those who say they are Christians but act in a manner that is not suitable for one who claims to follow Christ. But truth be told, we are a family and families have family members who say things they shouldn’t and may not be as mature as others. So we work with them, forgive them and ask that you would do the same.

Another issue that concerns me greatly is the label on Christians that they “hate gay people”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We are not allowed to hate nor judge anyone (Mat. 7:1-5, I Thes. 4:11, Phil 4:4-9, John 8:1-11) if we claim to follow the Messiah. In Matthew 22:37-39, we are instructed by Jesus to do two things: 1) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. “ If we love the Lord then we are to keep His commandments (John 14:23). He then tells us to “Love your neighbor as yourself” adding “the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” So what does that mean? Well, it is clear. If we love God, we follow His instructions. He says that we should avoid all temptation of the flesh including sexual sin because we are His temples on the earth (I Cor. 6:15-20). He then tells us that if any of us are tempted, then it would be better to remove a body part that tempts us than to give in to that temptation of the flesh (Mat. 5:27-30). He also says that we are all ONE in Christ Jesus (those who follow Him) and that there are no labels and no categories of people (Gal. 3:28). That means we are all equals – humans made in His image (Gen. 1:27) – not gay or straight, black or white, male or female. We are all people and the same rules apply to us all. If we are tempted by sin, we are to flee from it. Paul says it would be better to be like him and to just focus on God (1 Cor. 7).

The bottom line is that we all come from the same two parents, Adam and Eve. We are all brothers and sisters in the flesh and we all need a holy reverence for God Almighty. In first Timothy 1, Paul reminds us that all sin breaks God’s heart (see Romans 1 as well), but then he adds this saying “I am a chief of sinners”. Meaning the more he draws near to God through Christ Jesus, the more he realizes how broken he is - desiring God all the more. Thus the realization of the plank in his own eye (Mat. 7:5) enables him to speak with understanding and intentionality as he seeks to spread the gospel message (1 Cor. 9:20). So, the more we put our eyes on Christ the more the lusts of the flesh subside. Christ is the only answer and He desires that all of us be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9).

All Scripture is God-breathed and given not by man’s interpretation (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20). That means the Bible is the absolute truth and anything that my flesh desires is contrary to God’s will (Gal 5:17). So, we must cloak ourselves in humility understanding that salvation through Jesus is the only solution for us all.

In our continuing struggle against public policy and agendas that elevate sin in the culture, we must also remember that there are real people who are hurting and wounded by others and even by their own choices. These individuals may look to the church but with their walls up as they fearfully anticipate judgment and condemnation. If we have not love, we have nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). So, let’s get back to work reaching out to the world with a message of hope – that God first loved us and sent His Son to redeem a lost world (1 John 4:10-20).

- John Bornschein, Vice Chairman