By Guy Hammond
Executive Director; Strength in Weakness Ministries
Often when I speak publicly on the issues of homosexuality and the church, Christian family values and Biblical sexual ethics, I feel like I am in a lose, lose situation. Doing so leaves me open to a host of stereotypes and positions me squarely against the cultural norms that prevail in our society today. And it is not just the gay rights proponents picketing my events who have been angry at me. Some of the nastiest responses have come from people who call themselves Christian. Something tells me that this article isn’t going to assist me in the popularity department with either group.
In the last decade I have been passionate about discussing what the Bible says on sexual ethics, fearing that the cultural push to fully embrace all that is gay has seeped into the hearts and attitudes of many Christians. It’s almost impossible to believe otherwise. We all have been exposed to a consistent presentation of homosexuality as healthy, satisfying and long lasting by the media, Hollywood and our educational systems. What we are experiencing today is something close to ideological fascism where Christians must agree wholeheartedly and fully approve of people’s choices or face being labeled a homophobe or racist. Culture has gone from seeking tolerance and acceptance to having absolutely no tolerance for a different opinion. This is not only the case when discussing sexual ethics, but in today’s crazy world, it has now become a reality on almost any issue; most especially the wacky world of American politics. (Please excuse this Canadian’s take, but come on, you Americans know that your political discourse out of control, right?)
Knowingly or unknowingly, it is for these very reasons that many Christians have capitulated to these cultural demands, and there are few places where this is more evident than how Christians often respond to these types of issues on social media websites.
Over the years I have witnessed several same-gender attracted men and women abandon the faith to live an active gay life and then post this life altering decision on social media platforms. Often, I have been shocked and saddened to see Christians post their congratulations with “likes,” “hearts,” and “smiley face.” Don’t get me wrong. I respect everyone’s right to choose how they will live and I strongly believe that everyone needs to be treated with dignity, kindness and respect, but that does not mean I need to congratulate people for choosing sin over God.
I think many followers of Christ have confused the biblical truth that Jesus loves everyone with the commonly held belief (yet unbiblical teaching) that Jesus approves of everything everyone does. Does Jesus love everyone, including gay people? Of course! Does Jesus approve of what everyone does just because He loves them? Of course not! I love my children unconditionally, but that doesn’t mean I approve of every decision they make. Ask them; they’ll be more than happy to confirm this reality. Should Christians love everyone, including gay people? Of course! Does that mean that we have to approve and applaud when someone comes out on Facebook? Of course not.
Many Christians suffer an identity crisis on social media platforms. Jesus should be our identity and the Bible our standard in life, but the popular societal concept that we should all be involved in a huge group hug no matter what one believes or does often wins the day on social media platforms with loads of likes, hearts and smiley faces from the very people who should not be liking, loving or smiling! When this happens, Christians become horrible ambassadors for Christ, “liking” or “approving” of things that Jesus would never like or approve of.
Be careful, Christian, about what you offer your “likes,” “hearts,” and “smiley faces” to. We are Christians at church, we are Christians at work, we are Christians at home, we are Christians when we are alone, and we are Christians online. If you want to respond at all, message the person privately of your unending love yet share your concerns respectfully and offer help and assistance as they strive to work through these very difficult and complex challenges in their lives. Will anyone give me a thumbs up?