Christmas is four days away. We are currently in the Advent season which is, as I am learning, all about the anticipation of what is to come. In simplest terms, it is about symbolically anticipating the change that Christ is bringing to the world at the time of His birth. In a larger view, Advent is about anticipating the Second Coming of Christ. Our minister made mention prior to his sermon last Sunday that Advent originates from a Latin term (though it escapes me now) that refers to the Second Coming. I would like to focus for a moment on the anticipation of the change that Christ brought at his birth. My understanding, with little scholarly study, is that Christ came to lead all humans away from sin so that we might be reconciled to God through his death. The main idea being that we are all sinners and are unable to enter into God’s presence without being cleansed of those sins.
Christians seem to come in a number of different flavors these days, due to a number of interpretations of Biblical scripture. I have called myself a Christian at other times of my life, but now don’t feel comfortable doing so because I am still on a path of coming to understand the message of Christ and what being a Christian truly means. However, there two points from Christ’s message that I clearly understand to be the cornerstone of His ministry: love your neighbor as yourself and leave the judgment of the sins of others to Him and his Father, God.
I am writing about this today because I am very bothered by some of the responses to what Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty said to GQ about homosexuality. Feel free to go to GQ and read the article yourself, if you have somehow missed the millions stories about what he had to say. I don’t agree that homosexuality in and of itself is a sin. I believe that there can be sinful homosexual relationships just as there can be sinful heterosexual relationships, but I also acknowledge that the scripture seems to indicate otherwise. That is something that I will have to wrestle with as I continue on my path of exploring and embracing the message of Christ. However, when examining what Mr. Robertson had to say on the subject, he said, in a nutshell, that a sin, is a sin, is a sin. It doesn’t matter what type of sin it is, the Bible says they are all equal. Furthermore, he also said that it was not his, or anyone’s job to condemn those that engage in sinful behavior. The job of the Christian is to share the Good News and let God deal with the judgment.
I’ve noticed that some have missed this last piece of his message and are crafting some very un-Christian messages in response to the backlash that Mr. Robertson is currently receiving. Based off of what I read, Mr. Robertson was not shouting a rally-cry against gay marriage, he was explaining his view on sin based on his understanding of Biblical scripture. Many use 1 Corinthians 6:9 (ESV) to justify their condemnation of homosexuality: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality…” And this is where they leave it, but the scripture goes on to say in verses 10-11: “…nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, and you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
When using scripture to punctuate our own opinions, it is important to look at it in context and understand the full message. This part of the Bible is not here to simply point out that homosexuality is sexually immoral, it lists a number of actions considered to be immoral and calls to those reading to remember that they too could count themselves amongst the immoral until they had been cleansed by Christ. If you begin to read prior to this verse, you also see that the writer of this book was calling on believers to judge those that were being immoral WITHIN the church and to leave the judgment of those WITHOUT the church to God. Ultimately, judgment of those WITHIN the church was also left to God because the writer calls for believers to “Purge the evil person from among you” (1Cor 5:13), thus placing them on the outside to be judged by God alone.
In sum, do not take what Phil Robertson and scripture has to say about homosexuality and use it as a weapon against others. The big picture is that we must judge our own sins and make corrections to our own lives. Further, we are to love everyone, even the sinner because we are all sinners, and share the LOVE of Christ’s message. Leave the judgment and condemnation up to God and find some way to make the world a nicer place.