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by Sean McDowell & John Stonestreet
“It’s over,” he told me (John) grimly. “We’ve lost.”
These words came from a wounded warrior, a pastor who had dedicated much of his ministry to calling Christians to apply their faith in the public square and to opposing things like same-sex marriage. But his side, which he had spent so much time and energy defending, had been, he thought, definitively defeated. He was licking his wounds and wondering what to do.
Sentiments like these are not unusual, and we can sympathize with them. But we also hope they don’t last too long. The legal status of something alters neither its truthfulness nor its claim on our lives. As Christians, we are still responsible to the institution of marriage as God intended it, just as we are still responsible for unborn children, regardless of whether abortion is legal in a post-Roe v. Wade culture.
Informed and articulate Christians can make a difference in the same-sex marriage conversation. Yes, those hoping to promote natural marriage must overcome reputation liabilities, a firmly entrenched counter mindset, and the difficulty of presenting a winsome and reasonable case for our position. But we can, and we must, calmly and winsomely seek to make a difference.
Here are a few ideas:
1. We can change our reputation from those who hate gays to those who love them.
Christians have been guilty of demonizing those with same-sex attraction or gender identity struggles and those engaged in homosexual behavior.
Whenever we fail to treat anyone with the dignity they deserve as created image-bearers of God, we compromise our Christian witness. That simply should never be.
It starts with the next person we meet. The reality is that, far too often, our claims to love those struggling with sexual identity issues or those trapped in homosexual sin sound hollow if not evidenced by actions. Love is not passive.
All human beings deserve respect regardless of race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or any other status that is secondary to being an image-bearer of God. God loves all people, and so should we. The message of Jesus is the same to all sinners, including us.
2. We must tell the truth about same-sex attraction, homosexual sin, and same-sex marriage.
It’s tempting to downplay biblical morality to make Christianity more palatable. But loving others requires that we tell the truth, including, when necessary, that homosexual behavior is a sin. It isn’t loving to mislead people and suggest that God approves of any and all sexual behavior. He doesn’t.
Note that we did not say homosexual inclinations are necessarily a sin. On the other hand, too many Christians conclude God must be okay with homosexual behaviors or else he would take those inclinations away…
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