"Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man." Luke 6:22
In the past few days since NBA player Jason Collins' announcement that he embraces a homosexual lifestyle, many words have been used to describe Christ followers and their stance on biblical principals and morals. This includes the biblical stance on marriage and sex, what God created to be enjoyed between a man and a woman in the bond of marriage. ESPN analyst Chris Broussard has taken some hard hits because of his Christian beliefs about homosexuality and our culture. Many of the words used today are words like bigot, intolerant, prejudiced, dogmatic, and religious zealots. Unfair? Maybe and maybe not. There are those who call themselves "Christian" yet display actions that would seem otherwise, just as there are those who scream for tolerance and justice yet want to block the voice of Christians. We are a messed up bunch of people! On ESPN, they asked for the opinion of an analyst that is known as a Christ follower. Then they apologize for his offensive remarks on the grounds that he is intolerant. Who is guilty of the greater intolerance? Christians are supposed to tolerate everything in society that goes against biblical commands, but when we speak out about why we believe what we do then no one should tolerate us.
I love this country that we live in! We have been given freedom to live with freedoms that are taken for granted with every breath. I am a Christ follower! I am not ashamed to call myself one! I believe in God's Word, the Bible. I try to live my life according to the commands He has set forth in His word. I teach my children and anyone that will listen about the truths found in the Bible. It is a freedom that was given to us by God and embraced and defended by this country. But just as I am free to believe in God and His Word through a relationship with Jesus Christ, anyone else is free to reject the Bible and God's love through Jesus Christ. Just as it is my belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman and sex should be enjoyed in the bond of that marriage, anyone else can have their own belief on that issue. But as a Christ follower, I have to understand that my response toward others, especially those who disagree with me, must be Christ-like. We know that people will not like what we have to say about sin. Luke 6:22 says, "Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult your name as evil, because of the Son of Man." We are not to hurl insults at people who disagree with us. We are not to attack them violently just because they attacked us. Jesus goes on to say in Luke 6:27-31, "But to you who are listening I say: Love you enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks of you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Those are difficult words to hear and even more difficult to live by! However, as Christ followers we must embrace the Holy Spirit of God in our lives and live out loud the truths we say we believe. People are not the problem. Sin is the problem. People are not the enemy. Satan is the enemy. WE HAVE NOT BEEN CALLED BY GOD TO JUDGE OR CONDEMN OTHERS! WE HAVE BEEN CALLED BY GOD TO LOVE OTHERS! This issue of homosexuality is just one of many issues that plagues our society. We are a people who murder, a people who steal, a people who gossip, and a people who cheat. We are all sinners by nature. Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way." None of us are perfect...not one! Maybe we should remember that in our conversations with each other about these issues. And let's remember what John 3:16 and 17 says: "For God SO LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." I will pray for everyone...my fellow Christ followers and those who do not believe. I will love everyone like Christ loved...my fellow Christ followers and those who do not believe. I am a Christ follower! I am not ashamed to call myself one!