Far too many Christians view gay marriage through the lens of Leviticus 20:13 -“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
I prefer to focus on John 13:31 where Jesus says: “A new commandment I give to you. That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Please keep in mind that Jesus was talking to both his disciples and many people who were not yet believers, people who adhered to the old law. The new commandment was directed at both believers and non-believers to love both believers and non-believers!
In Matthew 9:11 the Pharisees asked; “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” To which Jesus replied; “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” And he continued; “I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinner to repentance.” (Matthew 9:12)
The lesson for us as Christians is not to hate but rather to love and accept with open arms anyone who thirsts for God’s word and help anyone who tries to find a way closer to God. I submit to you that any couple, gay or strait, that wants to be married, particularly married in a church, is searching for God, else why bother making such a formal connection?
Even in the case of civil ceremonies, gay marriage does not weaken the institution of marriage any more than someone else’s divorce weakens your marriage. Remember in the real world our choices are not between marriage and no sin but rather between the same actions outside of a committed relationship and marriage.
In John 8, we find the story of a woman found in adultery and about to be stoned in accordance with the law. Jesus stopped the execution of the sentence and instead demanded that “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7)
Yes, in John 8:12, Jesus ends with the admonishment: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” directing the woman to stop the adulterous behavior. Nowhere do we read that this particular woman did stop her behavior! We only know that she was protected from stoning and told to “go sin no more.”
So what does all this have to do with the latest Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage?
I just finished reading an article about a flower shop owner being taken to court for refusing service to a gay couple who wanted to buy the flowers for their same sex marriage. Somehow the owner believes that since the Bible defines marriage as “between a man and a woman” this give them the responsibility to not sell flowers to that couple. The article reports that the flower shop owner ”agonized over the decision but couldn’t support a wedding that her faith forbids”.
First I believe that allowing is far different from supporting. The flower shop owner in the article does have the absolute right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, but should they, by denying service, insult the customer? Just because I have the right to do something doesn’t always make it the right thing to do.
Everyone is free to interpret the Bible as they choose, for myself I’ll try and not be part of the crowd with a stone in my hand; but rather to follow Jesus’ new commandment to “love one another” in the spirit of Saint Francis’ prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.