Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Log in My Eye

Yesterday evening church member gave me a page from the September 2008 issue of Decision magazine. The article, not on line yet, is entitled "Christians to Be Salt and Light: Standing up for truth in a confused world." It profiles Dennis Agajanian, who "stood alone outside a county office building in San Diego June 17 to try to persuade homosexuals not to go through with same-sex wedding ceremonies."

He held a large sign but "didn't go to argue or to engage in name calling." The sign said simply "JESUS CHRIST IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD!" and "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6" Decision magazine said he told couples "the Bible says it is wrong for a man to marry a man or a woman to marry a woman, adding, 'I'm a sinner, and the only difference between you and me is that I've accepted Christ into my life. And I want you to do that.'"

Though I agree that sexual relations are reserved, by God, for heterosexual marriage, I've never stood up with a sign or aimed messages at homosexuals. I guess I'm part of the group that Decision magazine criticizes as absent, and, by implication hiding the light of God from "lost, confused people."

I favor a slow, careful approach that puts the emphasis on God's unconditional love for sinners of all kinds first. Then we can begin to teach, on the basis of Scripture, and allow the Word to do its work. We will have differences of opinion all along the way. But as we look closely at the scriptures, we will see God's standards and commands for life. And we will be convicted, each and every one of us, of sinning against God. And against our neighbors.

Last night a group met at church to look at the ELCA's draft sexuality statement. At the same time, in another part of the building, another complex issue was being discussed. Can we continue to love each other as we walk through confusion? Can we broadcast God's love in a way that does not single out any particular group as worse than others? For God said that "all have sinned and fall short" of God's standards.

First, we look at our own issues, our own sins, the "log" in my own eye (Mt. 7:5). That will keep us busy. Occasionally, God will call us to "stand up for truth" in respect to other people's sins. But we do that with much fear and trembling, always being ready to ask forgiveness for harsh words or any incidents of looking down on others as if they were more in need of God's grace than we ourselves. “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5).

So how can sinners proclaim God's love boldy, being ready to rescue and confront sin in whatever form it takes? Whatever we do, we need to make sure the message of God's love gets through. This will lead to the humble love I see in our Lord Jesus Christ. As I remember it, the sins Jesus confronted most were of the people who thought they had it all correct, all right. When I start to think or act as if I know it all, please confront me in love so I can look for that log.

1 comment:

  1. That was very well put. Thank you for that!

    Mike L