In talking to a friend this weekend she shared an e-mail with me from her brother. He was telling her how upset he was that she would not participate in his “civil union” ceremony with his partner. Of course both his current angst and his lifestyle has upset my friend. In reading the e-mail, this “civil union” began looking more and more like a “civil war” ready to explode. The situation began my thinking on how a Christian should react to such a situation. First and foremost, I think that a Christian must be cognisent of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.
- He says “Blessed are you when others revile and persecute you… rejoice and be glad for so they persecuted the prophets before you.” So Jesus knows that living for him will not always recieve praise.
- Then He says “You are the salt of the earth” and believers should both preserve the world with their witness as well as enhance its flavor or essence. We preserve this world when we draw or point out anything unrighteouss in our immediate area of influence. We enhace the flavor or essence when we act to attract people in our immediate area to us.
So what does this mean for someone who has a loved one living in any sin, but especially homosexuality?
- REALIZE first that this is a sin just like all of the other sins mentioned in the Bible. Of all the sexual sins in Leviticus 18 none, not even homosexuality is mentioned as greater than another (read the article call “What Does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality” by Scott B. Rae in the Apologetics Study Bible for more info).
- RESPOND in such a way that you draw or point out the sinfulness of the action, but be careful to not destroy your ability to enhance that person’s life with your Christian witness and influence.
- RELATE to the person in question your genuine love for them, but your difficulty with their lifestyle.
In a situation where you are asked to participate in a “civil union” this will most likely mean that you would not play the part desired in the ceremony. Even so, to preserve your witness and ability to relate your genuine love for the person, you should communicate with them carefully and lovingly how participation is not an option. This would also mean that you should not shun this person any time you see them or refuse to meet sociably with the person. This is a tough balancing act to walk, but perhaps one that will enable you to enjoy enough unitiy and civility with the person, living out before them love of Christ.