I’ve always believed 1 Corinthians 13 to be one of the greatest passages in all of Scripture. If we could just learn to love with the kind of love Paul here describes our marriages would never fail, family strife would not exist, and the world would be an amazing place. The problem is we don’t love like this.
I want to take on one descriptor of love at a time and comment on it. Some of what I say will be commentary-like but I plan to through in personal experience as well. I am by no means perfect at love and fail to live up to these words all the time but by the providence of God my life has taught me to love more like this passage. God’s grace has enabled me to turn the trials into my life into growth and truly He is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28).
This is going to take time but I hope it is of some use.
Lately I’ve read a number of letters ad commentaries trying to suggest the Christian response to homosexuality is irrational particularly in the current debate over gay marriage. I’ve seen a trend of misconceptions I would like to address.
First off, and this is my pet peeve, it is grossly unfair to assign the label homophobic to anyone who is not fully supportive of homosexuality. A phobia is an irrational fear. Most Christians do not have a phobia about homosexuality. Their opposition is based on the teachings of the Bible and not a fear that homosexuals will take over the world and turn everyone one else into a homosexual. Some may have concerns about what is being taught to their children but no more so than some parents object to certain sex ed content sometimes taught. The are not against their children learning about the birds and the bees but might prefer to discuss it privately with their children or using different materials. That is not a phobia. The word homophobia has become a derogatory term suggesting someone who is a bigot, hateful, close minded, and irrational. Is there no room for disagreement in our democratic society without negative labels being attached?
One misconception I’ve heard is that Christians believe all unions have to be about procreation therefore homosexual unions are invalid. One article I read cited the case of an old couple being married and asking if these same Christians consider that an illegitimate marriage since the couple was beyond child bearing age. Of course not! No where does the Bible say marriage is not allowed if the couple cannot have children. God gave the command to “be fruitful and multiply” but that was a general instruction and never said there could not be exceptions. Christian churches do marry older couples. My Mom remarried at the age of 80 to an 80 year old man. They got married in a church. So this is not an argument about the ability to have children in the union.
Other articles have tried to call into question what the Bible really has against homosexuality and argue that the only concern was for homosexual prostitution. There is poor, self-serving scholarship behind those claims. There is no reason to believe there is anything other than regular homosexuality in view in the Biblical passages.
The bottom line is this. The Book of Genesis tells us that God first created Adam. He had Adam name all the animals thus giving him ample contact with every type of animal. Adam found that although the animals were great none were suitable to be a companion to him. He was human and they were not. So God created Eve – a woman. Adam responded with great excitement that now here was the perfect companion to him. God then went on to define marriage as between a man and a woman. No where does Scripture change that definition. It has always only recognized marriage as being between a man and a woman.
God could have created two men or two women with the ability to procreate in some other fashion. Man and woman each in some unique ways convey the communicable attributes of God. In other words women have some traits of God we men don’t quite have and we men have some traits women don’t quite have. Together though we complete the traits God has passed on to us.
So the real Christian objective to homosexual marriage is simply that it goes against God’s definition of marriage. We realize full well we live in a secular, democratic society. However that gives us the right to exercise our right to vote as we please and speak out for what we believe just like everyone else. Opposing homosexual marriage is not a hate crime. It does not involve hate at all. It is simply standing up for our beliefs. Personally I have no hatred toward gays and have had gay friends. I treat them no differently than anyone else. However if you ask me if gay marriage should be allowed I am compelled to say no. I say that though based on my beliefs. I realize that society as a whole may decide it’s ok and in time it may become the law of the land.
Disagree which is your right but please don’t toss out straw man arguments, call it homophobia, or hatred. There may be a minority of Christians who cite some of those reason or who have a hateful heart but if so they are not following the teachings of God and I cannot back them.