Gay marriage is now legal in the United States. So now what? How should the Church respond? The following is the fourth part of five answers to that question.
A pastor friend of mine was in the process of being run out of his church. There was a member of a prominent family in the church who was acting like a fool. My friend called him out on it. The response he got back went something like this.
“He may be a fool but he’s our fool and he’s not going to change. You need to go.”
Something like that.
But what stuck with me was my friend’s response.
He told me that years ago, when he was partying, no one ever got mad at him. No one ever tried to have him removed from a party. It was all good times. The fighting, bickering and power moves weren’t introduced to him until he started leading in a church.
Sadly, he’s right.
And it has to stop.
Today’s Church has an opportunity to be salt and light in a decaying and dark culture. But it’s never going to happen if we do not first learn how to get along with each other.
Someone once said that nothing unifies like a common enemy. That person hasn’t spent a lot of time around church people.
Consider for example the reactions to the White House being lit up like a rainbow a few days ago. When a believer voices even a smidgen of shock at such a site, other believers are quick to point out his “hatred.”
But that’s just on social media. Surely there’s no problem with unity in local church settings, right?
Sure, but only if you ignore the lady who got mad because the pastor didn’t speak to her long enough at the ice cream social.
And the man who let everyone in the church know how mad he was when his Sunday School teacher didn’t call him after his mother’s uncle passed away.
And the group that really likes one method of educating their children and just can’t seem to get along with the other group with a different approach.
I could go on and on.
Christian, how do you expect a boy who now identifies himself as a woman to believe that you love him when you don’t even love the people in your own church?
The world doesn’t much care for unity. Conformity is what they’re into. They want everyone to believe the same, feel the same, accept the same things, share the same culture and worship the same god.
Unity is different. Unity is when people who vote differently, educate their kids differently and spend their money differently still come together to love one another, cry with one another and laugh with one another. This is only possible in Christ. He is the one common link between all believers.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (ESV)
It is important that the Church speak the truth. The Church needs to call sin what it is. Churches must stand on the gospel. Compromise is not an option.
But none of that, no matter how fervent, sincere or right it may be, will amount to anything more than clanging cymbals if the Christians who are standing for truth are not unified with one another.
Earlier, I quoted a saying.
Nothing unifies like a common enemy.
That can be true of the Church.
But we must understand that the gay couple that just came into town to get a marriage license is not the enemy. They are wrong but they are not the enemy. Satan is the enemy. And his favorite fiery dart that he throws at churches is a spirit of disunity because it is then that he takes away their voice.
Yes, we must love the sinner marching in the gay pride parade.
But we also must love the saint two pews down from us who prefers a different style of worship music.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)