Conscience, and Politics
Love People, Not Their Actions
There are many in the media and around the public square that would say Christians are intolerant! That Christians are nothing more than intolerant bullies pushing their agenda on the rest of the world. What we as Christians need to do is be sure that they are not correct in what they say! The Christian is called by Christ to love our neighbor as ourself.
Does that mean that we compromise on what is taught in the rest of scripture about sin? Does that mean that we need to accept the sin that people are living in, no matter what that sin is?
Of course, we are never to accept sin as okay, or correct behavior no matter what the sin is. We are never to endorse a sin because then we are guilty of regarding in our heart what God calls evil. I am not saying that I think that homosexuals are evil, any more than I think people who commit adultery are evil. I think they are sinning and should stop but do not believe that any one sin is worse than the next. I do seek to change minds and the only way that can happen is through reason, not scolding or arguing. We can love without compromise. We could also be compromising and not loving. I seek to be uncompromising and loving also.
First, we do not need to compromise on what scripture teaches these two issues can be harmonized and without compromise on either loving our neighbor or on the stance that we must take on the sin of any stripe. Sin, after all, is not hierarchical there are no sins that are "better" than others. Any sin is a sin, plain and simple. There can be no compromises.
What does the scripture teach about sin? Psalms 66:18 teaches us that "if I regard sin in my heart the Lord will not hear me". This is on a personal level and I believe also a corporate level. This is why that for a church cannot endorse same-sex marriage. This would be a corporate sin. The church would be then calling good what God called evil. I do not take the stance that Same Sex marriage is worse than any other sin. Sin is Sin! The Bible also says that if a man divorces his wife for any other reason than unfaithfulness then he causes her to sin. In other words when he remarries he is sinning (adultery) and causes his wife to sin when she remarries. While this happens to be a different sin it is not better or worse than homosexuality. Sin is Sin! This is where I believe that many Christians have it wrong, some try to place a sin in vertical order from the least offensive to the most. I think that god sees it on a horizontal level none is more grievous than others they are all equally sinning. That is why Christ had to pay the debt for us!
Think about your best friend. If your best friend were on a cliff overlooking a vast field of spikes that if he fell he would be impaled on them and surely die... you would caution him right? "Stay back from the edge! We are to treat each person we meet as if they were our best friend on that cliff. We may be the only gospel they are ever exposed to. We must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger!
What is it about people that want everyone to accept them whether they are doing what is right or not? People want to believe that we are all basically good and that there is no solid morality in this life at all. If there is no solid morality then whatever feels good is okay. We who have grown up in the church (and I do not mean those of us who were raised around the church) I mean those of us who grew up after we started attending church, have seen plenty of examples of hypocrisy that would make anyone ashamed. If we are to impact culture, however, this must be put behind us and we must push forward in our growth in the word.
People want to be accepted and sometimes if you don't accept them you risk being called intolerant, a bigot or worse. We all have to look at what accepting them means, is it them wanting to be accepted, or are they wanting us to accept their favored sin and endorse it. There is a fine distinction there that I think must be explored.
Yet these are the same people that want to be accepted will scream at a pastor who is preaching in the public square. They will tell him to keep his religion off their body, call him names, or sometimes become violent. Politics can get just as heated, we see this at lots of events where there is a political leader who happens to believe that homosexuality is wrong and believes the bible. Many times the leader will be heckled by the "tolerant" opponent and be called names such as bigot or Nazi or the like. Many times we find the Loudest Voices for Tolerance are the Most Intolerant People!
Christians I exhort you to be bold in your speech, not rude or obnoxious, but bold and sure of what you are saying. For God did not call us to confusion but clarity. We have the secret that can save people from the flames of Hell! We must be Bold in proclaiming it or they will die without Christ. While we are called to be bold we are not called to chop at our opponent, but to love them and do our best to disciple them and lead them to the bible and the Ten Commandments which is a mirror that shows us our sin. Be bold Christian the God of the bible is with you even to the end of the age!
The Right of Conscience
In this age of Homosexual weddings and abortions on demand, we must guard against losing our rights of free speech, free press, and freedom of religion. With the freedom of religion comes the right of conscience.
What is the right of conscience? The right of conscience says that if you believe with a deep religious conviction that something is wrong then you cannot be forced to participate in that which your faith dictates is WRONG.
If we take away a person’s right to abstain from a ceremony like a wedding, which most people view as a religious right, then we are violating their right of conscience. This must not happen but has already started to happen in other states. In Missouri, we must protect our business owners and make sure that this is protected in the State Constitution. No person should be forced by coercion to participate in someone's ceremony which they believe to be wrong.
While we are called to compassion for the state that people are in without Christ. We are to call them to Christ, it is not our job to sanctify them that is an individual work of the holy spirit and should remain so. We are not Qualified!