A People of Differences.

THERE ARE FEW ISSUES current within our culture that absolutely give certain promise to define the Church and Christians of tomorrow - race and class divisions, individualism and sexuality. Perhaps the continual swell of homosexuality will serve as the most defining, or redefining.

By and large, the Church has not established a good track record in its response to those with a different sexual orientation. As part of the Church - that being the body of Christ - I have held a cold ear to those speaking contrary to my understanding of Scripture’s instruction in regard to homosexuality. And therein lies the problematic divide unable to be crossed in my heart: love trailing response. I think the same, or similar, holds true for many within the Church, as well. At the core of every human being is the desire to belong and to be accepted: to be loved for who they are and in the exactness of where they stand. We all want this for ourselves despite the dirtiness of our heart - the lying heart, the glutton heart, the drunken heart, the disillusioned heart, the selfish heart and the self-righteous heart, as well as the unloving heart.

In the life of Jesus, we see a choosing love reframing law, undeterred by the filth of our human hearts, juxtaposed with an invitation for our hearts to choose love in response. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”* This invitation is universal to all, to anyone, as well as personal. We must each accept the invitation and choose to follow. This choosing leads me into his footsteps where judging opposes love. And I must remind myself, love invading my heart inverts all that would reject others as primary response. As a follower of Christ, my heart must be bent to God’s love and his business within the hearts of others.

So at the bottom of it all, Scriptural instruction leads me to disagree with homosexual behavior but love seeks to accept every person and is not cautious of variances foreign to me and my beliefs. There are those beautiful within my life who care for me and my family's well-being. They are creative, brave, inspiring on levels and homosexual. I am no better because these friendships exist. What I am is learning to love well and to follow Christ purer. I'm thankful for my friends simply because they are my friends. Our differences and understandings can exist without threatening Love's business in both of our lives. Love is bold to pursue each of us to any length. If love trails response, then I limit it and dangerously hold it contemptuously. May we, who accept and bear the name of Jesus, always be more so concerned with following closely that we allow his love to continue his own redemptive work of this broken, fragmented world that we all belong to . . . for now, at least.

*(Luke 9:23, ESV)