Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Better Cause

Some are so thrilled with the recent same-sex marriage decision coming down from the Supreme Court, while others think the court’s ruling is so bad, such a violation of God’s law.  I can’t get worked up about this.  I have never believed that morality should be legislated.  Some religious groups I am aware of have long tried to bring about legislation that supports their religious beliefs regarding right or wrong.

Many are protesting, loudly and publicly, on religious grounds.  But God has spoken on other issues and I can’t help but notice when those other issues don’t seem to be that important to the protesters.  Do they care about God’s word as it concerns cheating on your spouse, or honesty, or lying, or stealing?

There are so many things that define the type of people God wants us to be, but none better that that described in Matthew 25. While I don’t believe Matthew 25 is exhaustive in its presentation of what matters to God, here we do get a glimpse of the kinds of people who are living a life pleasing to our Lord. Here we find a picture of followers of Jesus who care and do what they can for the poor. In this passage I see Jesus pointing us toward the issues that pertain to the most basic aspects of human dignity: food, shelter, clothing, justice, and sickness:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in, 
I needed clothes and you clothed me, 
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

We can disagree all day about same sex marriage. Heck, the majority will most likely continue to disagree about this issue for another 20 years. We can disagree over a million issues.  However, we will not disagree, there’s no denying that millions of people are suffering significantly, and Jesus wants us to focus our energies on serving them. If there was ever a group of people who should give a damn about people who have nothing, about good people suffering in prison, and about people fleeing unprecedented violence, it should be us. This is not politics.  It is not about Democrat vs. Republican.  This is personal.

If you want to have righteous indignation about anything, take a stand on this.  If you need a good reason, this poverty and homelessness is the leading cause of crime, human trafficking, rape, prostitution and child abuse. Partnering with groups that empower communities to meet these basic needs will go a long way in keeping potential victims safe, healthy, and in control of their own lives.  We have always had people with means, competent charities, and passionate workers who are more than willing to travel to the ends of the earth to fulfill the very words of Jesus. If we collectively gave these most basic causes just a fraction of the time and energy that we had devoted to fighting for or against same sex marriage, or some other cause, who knows how many lives could have been rescued.

We need not bemoan the “terrible” world that our grandchildren will inherit. For millions of people in our own neighborhoods, the worst has already happened and will continue to happen. Know this: God’s judgment has been upon us long before a single state allowed same sex marriage.  God’s judgment came upon us when we left people hungry, thirsty, sick, unclothed, and alone. God’s judgment came upon us when we saw the destitute and did nothing. If God is going to condemn us over anything in America, it’s going to be our indifference and inaction when it comes to feeding people, giving out clean water, offering shelter, visiting the sick, and helping the prisoners.  Love one another. That is the message.

I don’t care what the courts decide. On any issue.  All I have to do is examine my own life and try to live it in such a way that I believe God finds pleasing.  Not what you believe and not what the court rules. If we disagree on same sex marriage, ok.  All I have to do is decide for myself and live accordingly.  If I study God’s word and determine God doesn’t like same-sex marriage, then I should not bring that into my life.  If I study God’s word and find that love and loyalty is all that matters regardless of sex, then I can proceed with my life accordingly. It is an individual and personal decision.  It does not matter what the law of the country is. God requires obedience to Him.  God’s law is what matters.  The law in our country doesn’t change the call of Jesus for his followers, especially us, here and now. We aren’t called to fight against someone. We aren’t called to litigation.  We ARE called to care for those suffering in the most basic ways.  Let’s take our energy and resources and throw them into serving the people who are suffering the most.

We may even hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant,” one day.