Sometimes it seems we live in a bubble, unaware of what many others are thinking about us. This reality was brought to my attention on a recent trip to Sacramento. I didn't know it, but I learned on that trip that I am a hateful Christian!
I had joined some other leaders in my medical community on a trip to lobby members of the state legislature. At the end of the lobbying day we all gathered for refreshments while we waited for our rides to the airport. I sat across from a female internal medicine doctor I had just met on the trip. We were having a casual conversation in the hotel bar with several other doctors around us, me with my diet coke, others with their cocktails. After she made a Jewish toast with a colleague I asked about her faith tradition, assuming she was Jewish. She called herself a protestant Christian, and then asked me about my faith.
“I would be classified as an Evangelical Christian,” I replied.
“Oh,” was the response, “So where do you stand on the social issues of the day?”
“I am conservative,” I answered, “What social issue did you have in mind?”
“Same sex marriage.”
“I do not believe in it,” was my straightforward response.
Her next words caught me a little by surprise. “So God is a God of hate, not a God of love.”
Just like that.
A long conversation followed. It consisted of her repeatedly attacking traditional Christianity as hateful and me calmly deflecting her assertions.
What really struck through it all was how willing she was to belittle traditional Christian beliefs as being nothing other than thoughtless and hateful. To her Evangelical Christianity is a force for evil in the world. She could not think of anything positive about it.
Her claims brought to mind the saying, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” World Vision, Samaritan's Purse, The International Justice Mission and countless other Christian organizations work tirelessly around the world to defend the defenseless and help the helpless. These groups are rescuing women and children from sexual slavery, feeding the poor, digging wells to provide safe water, sheltering orphans, loving those dying of AIDS, and proclaiming the gospel. To this physician these things are irrelevant and a sham. Evangelical Christians are hateful because we hold to the Biblical teaching that marriage was ordained by God to be a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. To her it is this that defines our faith.
What I find most fascinating about this discussion is how it demonstrates the true nature of the problem Christians face as we try to engage our culture. The culture claims that we are obsessed with depriving homosexuals of their rights and that we are therefore hateful.
The truth is totally different. True followers of Christ are obsessed with Jesus. I know I am obsessive about my own sin, my own need for a Savior and my need to be more like Him every day. I for one view homosexuals as no different than anyone else. We are all broken people, damaged by sin, our natural tendency to do things our way instead of God's. We all need a Savior, and we all need to allow Him to change us into the people He wants us to be. We need to allow Him to define us, allow Him to determine what aspects of our nature need to be redeemed, refined, rejected and rebuilt, doing so in faith that our eternal condition and happiness infinitely outweighs our current circumstances and desires.
That God is more concerned about our eternal joy than our temporary pleasure reveals Him to be a God of love. It is only when we reject the promise of eternity that we can claim Him to be otherwise.
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