Well, it finally happened. On Friday, the United States Supreme Court declared that gay marriage was now the law of the land. I saw all kinds of rhetoric being thrown about on Facebook and other social media. People in support of gay marriage changed their profile pics by adding rainbow filters, while many against the law change added a cross filter to theirs.
I left my profile pic alone.
My son, Isaac, asked me how I was going to respond the inevitable war of words that was about to break out between both sides. I thought about it for a minute and said, “This may actually be a good thing for Christians.”
Here’s my reasoning. In the early to late 1980’s the Moral Majority became the mouthpiece for Evangelical Christians. Christians gained political power and used it as a bludgeon to get what they wanted, and what they felt was best for the country. Jerry Falwell and other Christian leaders became self-appointed spokesmen for all Christians. The great preacher Vance Havner once said that the church has proven it can’t handle prosperity or popularity. The Moral Majority brought both to Christianity, and in my opinion, the church suffered because of it.
Once Christians learned they had political muscle they used it to move the country’s morality. The problem is that you can’t change people’s hearts by legislation. And without a change in people’s hearts, all of the laws in the world won’t change a thing. When the Republican party lost power, the Moral Majority faded away, and a new wave of politicians took over. They no longer courted Evangelical Christians, in fact, they held some Christian beliefs in very low regard. Let’s face it, doing things the way everyone else does them isn’t God’s way, and it doesn’t work.
For the last few years I have heard Christians bemoaning the demise of Christianity in America. They scream and holler about abortion and gay rights, and say that we need to do something to change the country. They’re right, just not in the way they want to go about it.
Jesus could have been born in a palace. He was born in a stable. His band of followers wasn’t on anyone’s “Who’s Who” list. Jesus never used political muscle, he used the personal touch. He taught in synagogues and on hillsides. He went to the homes of people that society didn’t accept, and had lunch with them. In short, he was everything the Moral Majority was not. And when the Jewish leaders came to arrest him, he went willingly. When they trumped up charges against him, he died on a cross never once flexing spiritual or political muscle.
I’m sure that the media of the day reported Jesus’s death with a barely restrained zeal. He was gone, and now his followers would disappear.
Only they didn’t. They got stronger, and reached their entire known world without Twitter or CNN or anything else. They did it just like Jesus did, with the personal touch in home churches and in the marketplace.
Christians, don’t despair! Let’s quit counting on politicians and political muscle to reach the world. Let’s do it like Jesus did, one person at a time. Let’s talk to people like Jesus did, with compassion and grace. Instead of waiting with glee for the day “they finally get their judgment,” let’s have our hearts broken by the sin that is killing people and destroying lives.
We can’t legislate a change in the world, but we can make one happen with God’s love and God’s grace. I said a few weeks ago that we need to stop fighting with the weapons the politicians and the world do. We need to stop fighting and start loving. We need to show compassion, grace and kindness to everyone, especially the people we disagree with. It’s how Jesus did it.
Looking to change the part of the world that rubs against me… Jerry