By Pastor Erik Iverson
Holy Cross/Faith Lutheran Churches
Seeley Lake & Condon
In the 1830's, French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; rich mines and vast world commerce; public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.
Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.
Sociology reveals much about individuals. One aspect is acceptance. Most all of us at some level need to be accepted, which in one way is measured by how much our morals comport with everybody else's.
When there is one codified, accepted standard for right and wrong (i.e. the Bible), there is no room for obfuscation. But what happens when that accepted standard itself is assailed? When an ostensible majority rejects God Himself as the arbiter of truth, we are left with two choices as to whom we are accountable: God, or man.
Far from being holier than thou, Christians are to ...in lowliness of mind...esteem others better than themselves. But this does not equate to abdicating discernment and right judgment when God's truth conflicts with society's morality du jour.
Christ Jesus was not politically correct. He confronted sin head-on despite people's reactions because, unlike men, who accept, downplay or outright deny sin, Jesus saw it for what it is, and the eternal consequences of it.
But even while condemning sin, He always offers the free gift of His redemption. The core of all He did and His example for you and I means that we are in like kind to let Christ and His love be the very epicenter of all we are and do...especially concerning sin in ourselves and others.
If you knew a fact that would save your son or daughter's life, yet was likely to offend them deeply, would it show more love to offend and save, or to not offend and let die?
What is true here and now is infinitely more so in eternity. God states unequivocally that homosexuality is a sin that leads to eternal death. Far removed from the America of de Tocqueville's day, we now live in a time described by Isaiah where we call evil good, and good evil. To wit, according to recently passed US law, what I am writing here now makes me potentially indictable for a hate crime.
Whether it is abortion (murder), homosexuality, adultery, lying,... any sin, my silence is not only acceptance but also complicity, and I show the exact opposite of love if I do not say anything. The same is true all the more with fellow Christians, which is why our churches have placed an ad in this very paper concerning the ELCA, and the path their leadership has chosen. [See below.]
Peter once wrote We are to obey God, rather than men. We all have our sins, and just as I would hope that if I devolved into a particular sin (or my forgiven past sins!) that my fellow Christians would love me enough to shine God's light upon it, love for our brethren compels us to do likewise.
Quite simply, true Christian love means hating sin, but loving the sinner. In His infinite love God sent His only Son Christ Jesus to call lost sinners (all of us!) to repentance and to die for us. His gift of salvation is free and offered to all. Choose you this day whom ye will serve; ...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.