“Don’t let the world teach you theology.”
My pastor, Dr. Michael Easley, says this all the time at church. I’ve always loved this because it reminds me not to look to the world for truth, instead, I’m to look to the word of God. If I’m ever not sure of God’s will or don’t know what to believe, I can go to the Bible in search of God’s truth. Granted, there are some things that aren’t discussed in the Bible so I guess I won’t get an answer to some of my questions until I meet God in heaven, unfortunately.
That being said, I really didn’t want to write this post. Like really really didn’t want to write it. I am aware that what I’m about to write could very possibly alienate friends and family that are very dear to me. My view of them has not changed; they will always be amazingly wonderful people. My fear is that their view of me will change and that worries me a great deal since I’m one of those people who want everyone to like them. It’s a sickness, really. That’s why I try to be funny, I mean who doesn’t like funny? So please hear me when I say writing this post wasn’t easy or fun but I had that feeling about it. You know, that sick-to-your-stomach-makes-you-want-to-throw-up feeling. This feeling usually indicates that I’m supposed to do that thing I’m scared of. I hate this feeling but the only way to appease it is to do the thing I don’t want to do. So here goes.
I don’t know about you but there are many parts of the Bible I sort of wish weren’t in there. I wish it didn’t talk about gluttony being a sin because I like to overeat (Prov. 23:20-21). I don’t always want to turn the other cheek because I think it’s unfair (Matt. 5:39). It’s really hard not to exasperate my children when I’m having a bad day (Eph. 6:4). It’s difficult to see the benefit in not repaying evil with evil (1 Pet. 3:9). Doing things without complaining (Phil. 2:14)? Not my strong suit. Even if it’s only in my head, my complaining and grumbling sounds an awful lot like a pity party. Truth be told, I wish I could brush all of these under the rug because they don’t suit me all the time and I want to do what I want to do and not feel bad about it.
When the SCOTUS ruled last week in favor of legalizing gay marriage, part of me wanted to sweep what God’s Word says under the rug. A small part of me wished I could be on board with it because it’s getting celebrated all over the country and who doesn’t want to be part of a celebration? It seems so happy and fun. Then I had that thing in my stomach; the thing that reminds me I’m on the unpopular side of controversy. “Don’t let the world teach you theology.” So I looked up verses about marriage in the Bible half-hoping I missed the verse where God said “Marry whoever you want. #lovewins” Guys, there is no such verse and no such hashtag in God’s Word. God was clear about a marriage covenant being between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:24). At no point in the Bible does He change His mind or wording on this. He always used a man and woman, a husband and wife, to be the representatives in marriage (Prv. 31:10-11, Eph. 5:22-33). It seems that any time in the Bible when God mentions things over and over it’s because He’s trying to make a point. And if I’m going to write about how my faith is rooted in the Word of God then I can’t skip over this. I have to take God at His word.
A long time ago I told God that I believed Jesus was His Son who died on a cross to save me from my sins, and rose from the dead to affirm He was the Son of God and the giver of eternal life. When I surrendered myself to this belief, I also surrendered my life. In doing this, I was telling God His way is better than my way, His thoughts are more important than my thoughts, and ultimately what He wants is more important than what I want. Now, hear me on this: I have a hard time with all of these and I most certainly don’t do them even close to perfectly. God never said that following Him would be easy but He said it would be worth it in the end. So I’m putting all my eggs in His basket and trusting that He will do what He says. But while I’m here living on this earth I made the decision to believe, and try to live by, what the Bible says. Again, I don’t do it all that well but it’s my understanding that’s what grace is for. My fear is that this post will come off like I’m some holier-than-thou punk. I’m well aware that Jesus died on that cross for the whole world, not just me, which let’s me know He loves all of us. And since I’ve chosen to believe this is true, I owe Him my life. I owe Him a life of obedience and gratitude for what He did for me.
So I believe marriage is a covenant before God between a man and a woman because that’s what the Bible says. I also believe that I am supposed to love others like Christ loved me because the Bible says that too. Remember how I said when you see repetition in the Word it’s because God is trying to make a point? Jesus tells us over and over to love one another. Don’t believe me? Read the book of John. God also tells us not to judge. Don’t believe me again? Read Romans 2. My (our, if you’re a believer in Christ) responsibility is to love. Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I can’t love you. And vice versa.
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) This is how I’m supposed to identify myself with Christ. I’m supposed to be kind and love those I disagree with. If I only love people I agree with wouldn’t that be just a tad superficial? The people Jesus hung out with were nothing like him but He loved them just the same. I have to live out what I believe, as do you. So thanks for letting me get my thoughts out so my stomach could get back to normal. And I’m fully aware some of you may quit reading my blog after today and that’s ok. Thanks for sitting in my headspace for a few minutes.
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