The recent Supreme Court ruling that gives same-sex couples the right to marry has, to say the least, caused a great deal of hoopla in this country.
Evangelical Christians are up in arms with the decision. After all, it’s pretty clear in the bible that God intends marriage to be the union of one man and one woman. Allowing same-sex marriage is akin to condoning sin.
Meanwhile, the LGBT community and its supporters are celebrating. This is about an individual’s right to choose his or her own lifestyle. Evangelicals can’t tell us how to live, they say.
And you know what? The LGBT community is right.
They DO have the choice. After all, that’s how God made things.
A long time ago, God embarked on the most phenomenal creative project in history. He designed and built, well, everything. Starting with light, He then moved on to stars, galaxies, comets, black holes, wormholes, and other wonders of the universe. He made the mountains and the seas, everything from Everest to the Atlantic. He formed islands from Greek to Galapagos. He fashioned plants and flowers and birds and mammals and reptiles and weird creatures like duck-billed platypuses and pink fairy armadillos.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s fun to imagine God creating all this amazing stuff. He points His finger and BOOM … Niagara Falls. BOOM … a bullfrog. BOOM … a cheetah. He twirls his finger, and the cheetah speeds up to 70 miles per hour. Can’t you just see Him laughing and having a grand time as He zaps all this stuff into existence? I sure can!
After several God-days of ridiculous creativity, He leans back, looks at what He’s done, and says, “This is good. It’s REALLY good.”
Then He strokes his whiskers and says, “But it’s not good enough. I need more. I need someone to love … and to love me back.”
So in His boldest, most ingeniously creative stroke yet, He takes a handful of dust and molds it into a man. From the man’s rib, he fashions a female companion. Because His eye for the aesthetic is perfect, He makes them very attractive to one other.
And then He gives them something even more precious. He gives them CHOICE.
Just like Adam and Eve, we have the same ability to choose. We can choose to love Him – or not (after all, it wouldn’t be much of a relationship if we were simply programmed to love God … we’d be like Stepford wives). We can choose to sin – or not.
Like it or not, that makes the LGBT crowd completely correct. Any of us may choose whatever lifestyle we wish.
But the LGBT community wants it both ways. They want choice, AND they want God to APPROVE of whatever choice they make. “After all,” they say, “God made me the way I am.”
Therein lies the rub. Let’s look at scripture.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
– Proverbs 3:5
Allow me to put it another way.
If you’re going to lean on your own understanding, then you’re doomed to be limited by it.
– Me (I’ve always wanted my own quote)
So … what do we understand about homosexuality? Let’s look at identical twins. They have the same genes or DNA and are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions. So if homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, then the co-twin should also be gay.
But that’s not the case. At least eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades show that when one identical twin has same-sex attraction, the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11 percent for men and 14 percent for women.
If gay individuals were truly “born that way,” the number should be 100 percent. It’s not even close.
Yes, there is a theoretical argument in support of a “gay gene,” a marker on a chromosome that results in a predisposition to be attracted to the same sex. But that theory has not been proven, which means it hasn’t been accepted by the scientific community. Again, if you’re going to lean on your own understanding, then you’re also going to be limited by it.
That’s not to say that gay individuals haven’t had extenuating circumstances in their lives, environmental factors that have caused them to make the choice they’ve made. We’ve all experienced circumstances that shape us into who we eventually become. But let’s not kid ourselves. As determined by current science, homosexuality is a choice.
Many homosexuals are not happy with that conclusion. God MUST have made them this way, they reason, because they can’t recall ever being anything else. They argue eloquently (or sometimes not-so-eloquently) to pastors, bishops, laypeople, the media, and just about anyone else who will listen, that their place in heaven is secure because it was God who did this.
I would offer three responses.
First, our place in heaven is not determined by our behavior.
It’s not a result of works or any other human characteristic, good or bad. Ephesians 2 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Our place in heaven is secure ONLY when we accept Jesus, who bore the punishment for our sins, as our Lord and Savior. Nothing else.
Second, if you believe God got it wrong, then take it up with God.
Not long ago, I received this advice from my friend and pastor, Kiboko Kiboko, when I asked him how to answer people when they say, “God messed up.” It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I don’t have the answers. I know what the bible says, but I’m not God. Neither is your pastor. Or the bishop. Or the pope. Or Franklin Graham. Or CNN. If you have a problem with God, talk to God. If you believe God made you a woman, but mistakenly put you in a man’s body, take your grievance to Him. If you think God ought to celebrate your homosexuality, go to God. He won’t punish you for questioning Him. He’s a big God. He can take it. Even if you’re mad as a rabid dog, He will still love you.
Speaking of love … that brings me to my final point.
In Matthew 22 Jesus gives us – His words – the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbors as yourselves.”
Notice He DIDN’T say to judge!
Condemning those who make the choice to live a homosexual lifestyle is not our place. It’s God’s, and He will sort it all out in the end (as I like to say, “We may be REALLY SURPRISED at who ends up in heaven with us”). Our call is simply to love one another. Not to love only cool people, or people who think like we do, but everyone. Yes, that includes those who speak ill of us. Jesus makes a point of this in Matthew 5:44, where He instructs us to “love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute [us].” Can you do that?
When all is said and done, it’s pretty clear that the Supreme Court’s ruling will end up being somewhat important to America. But it will have no bearing on heaven. Not even a blip on eternity’s radar. After all, the course of eternity is set by God’s design, and no decree of man will ever change that. So maybe we all should just relax, love one another, pray for friends and enemies alike, and find a way to make our time on this earth a little more agreeable.by