There has been a lot of talk lately, both internationally and locally about how the choices of the world are trampling on the rights of Christians. Between new sex-ed curriculums, gay marriage, abortion and most recently, a Bill being supported by Indiana’s Governor allowing businesses to exercise their religious freedoms by banning LGBT customers. People declaring that they should not be forced to tolerate (or love) these people, all the while proclaiming their obedience for God and ‘loving’ Christian faith.’The world is turning against Christianity, and we have to take a stand’ they cry, as if those who do not believe the same way they do automatically are having their religious rights trampled upon.
I’ve never understood this idea that obedience to God, showing His word, means drawing a line in the sand and segregating ourselves completely, all the while crying fowl, as if somebody else’s choices and lifestyle somehow prevents them from being able to live life as a Christian. That showing them a firm hand, passing judgement and spreading word of God’s wrath is the only way to show God’s love.
I’ve seen this attitude defended by Christians who cite Romans 12:2 to defend this attitude, though I feel they’re missing the point.
Romans 12:2 reads ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’
The argument I hear is that if we don’t fight we are conforming to the patterns of this world. That silence is agreement.
I don’t believe either is true in the slightest. Romans 12:2 is very clear that not conforming to the world is about transforming yourself by the renewing of your MIND. Not by starting a protest, shouting at the top of your lungs, or posting signs about how Jesus says ‘no gays allowed’ (which, Jesus never said, FYI). It’s not even about taking a stand against what OTHERS are doing; it’s by focusing on YOUR state of mind, on keeping yourself full of God’s word.
Also, silence is not always agreement. The Bible makes reference multiple times about being slow to speak, being slow to act, and about not REACTING.
Jesus was about loving the sinners, developing relationships with him. He never pushed them away. Jesus surrounded himself with the broken, the disobedient, the ones choosing lives opposite to God. He dined with liars and thieves, and he saved adulterers from their death. If you read the entire new testament, you will not find a single retelling of Christ’s ministry where he said directly to someone who WAS NOT ALREADY A BELIEVER ‘You’re going to hell, you’re against me and my father, don’t talk to me or come to my home unless you’re willing to change.’
In fact, he passed more judgement against believers than he did non-believers. When it came to non-believers, when it came to the ones he wanted to woo and win over, he showed them love, compassion and friendship, despite their lifestyles.
John 3:17 says ‘For God sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that through him, the world might be saved.’
Jesus came to speak to the world, the ones who didn’t believe, free of condemnation. His stance was clear but his heart was open. He loved without prejudice, and guided with the gentle compassion of someone who has a greater understanding of the people he’s guiding. He was harsh, directing ways to live towards those who already called themselves saved, the ones who thought they were better than everyone else because of their faith. He called out the pharisees, the priests, the religious who treated the non-religious with the same kind of contempt that Christians treat those of other lifestyles today.
We don’t need to ban LGBTQ folks from restaurants, churches, businesses and homes for people to see and know that you are a Christian. Loving them, building relationships with them, does not mean you are sacrificing your faith. Fighting against gay marriage isn’t going to show love, or show God’s word, and it’s not going to affect your life and your faith either. How they choose to live their lives will not have an impact on how you choose to live.
You don’t need to proclaim your beliefs at the top of your lungs for the world to understand. As Christians, being children of God should be obvious by who we are, how we love, and the way we live our lives.
While John 15:19 indicates that we will be hated by the world, it’s not supposed to be because of anything we are doing, anything we’ve done. According to the verse, we will be hated because God has chosen us out of the world. The world is never going to love us. In fact, if you want to get REALLY Biblical, the world is going to continue to get further and further from Christian ideals and eventually form one unified belief against it (according to Revelations). The Bible keeps talking about us not really being a part of the world (again, Romans 12:2, John 15:19), and yet Christians keep desperately trying to make this world theirs. To make it a place that follows by their ideals, their beliefs, their words.
So many keep crying fowl, keep declaring that every law passed in favour of values of the world is an explicit attack on Christianity. Is our God, the one that we proclaim to follow, so little that if these things move forward our families and our faith will fall apart? Is our God so little that if we don’t draw a line in the sand, segregating ourselves from everyone else, we will never be able to shine is light? Is our God so little, that in order for us to be obedient, we must forsake anyone who believes differently, and show them only hatred and contempt?
If you want to live a Christ-like life, live like a Christian, then start doing it. Study how Christ acted, how Christ lived, how Christ spoke. I guarantee if Christians spent more-time focusing on that (since the term Christian actually means ‘little Christ’), instead of focusing on trying to force a world that believes differently to live by the same convictions we do, things might look a little differently.
Besides, if you have to do things that hurt others, that show hatred, or that segregate you as ‘better than’ or ‘less damaging’ than the rest of the world, if you have to try that hard to prove that you believe what you believe, then it might be time to look at yourself in the mirror and work a little harder on proving it to yourself.
As a Christian, as someone who believes in God’s word, and tries to follow Christ, I stand against the law passed in Indiana. I stand against any law that strips another human being of the right to dignity, and I do not believe that in any way that a law or a stance that strips dignity could be the will or the plans of God. When what we’re doing has crossed the lines from taking a stand for our faith and has entered the realm of alienating people for it’s sheer cruelty and hatred, that’s not faith. And that’s not something that I believe the God that I serve would ever condone.