The gay marriage agenda in this country has brought something very interesting to the forefront. A number of people who were staunchly against gay marriage were suddenly faced with a dilemma: they discovered a beloved family member, most often a son or daughter, was in fact gay. And after this revelation, many of these people, after a short period of “coming to terms” with the revelation, reversed their position on gay marriage. They came out for it in solidarity with their child. And in the case of many celebrities/politicos, they were lauded for having made this about face.
There are several things I find curious about this. Bear with me. Even if you read this and violently disagree with me, I promise you before you close this blog, you’ll at least have come across some food for thought.
Back during the Vietnam War, there were a lot of people who quite rightly questioned politicians who supported that war but who found “outs” for their children from serving in the military. It was okay for Mr. and Mrs. Smith to send their son off to be shot at and perhaps die in Vietnam, but not Senator So-and-So (no relation to Congressman So-and-So).
Today, the same line of thinking is in play with gay marriage, in a kind of reverse image. “I was against it until I found out my son is gay. Now I stand with him.” Great. This translates to, “it was not all right for YOUR gay son to marry, because at that time I thought this actually had no direct impact to my life. But now that it affects me, well, now I’m okay with it.”
Is this not hypocrisy? And it crosses all party lines, levels of society, and ethnicities. And yet people are applauded for this.
The plain truth is that for many people, adherence to a principal is on a sliding scale. It’s easy to be moral and upright and stick to a set of beliefs when it does not directly impact you. It’s easy to be against something or for something when the crowd supports it. It’s harder when one has to stand against the tide.
The larger question in all of this is whether or not we, as Christians, take seriously our role as disciples of Jesus Christ. You see, if you take discipleship seriously, then you have to take Him seriously. And if you take Him seriously, then you have to take the words He uttered in the Gospels seriously. It is a choice.
In light of what I’ve written above, let’s take a look at a couple of lines from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew was one of THE Twelve Apostles. That means he knew Jesus personally. That means he heard Jesus speak. That means he discussed what Jesus said with others who also knew Jesus personally. There’s no wiggle room here. What Matthew has written comes from the lips of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself. And here it comes:
Matthew 10: 38 – 39: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Kind of sounds pretty straightforward. Recall also the story in Matthew Chapter 19: 16-22:
Now someone approached him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”* He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”
Now I’ve heard people debate back and forth about what this really means. You mean we should all sell everything? No, it doesn’t. But what it does mean is that if you really want to follow Jesus, the other things in this life – no matter what or who they are – have to take a second seat. You can’t be a disciple of Christ, if other things in your life hold equal weight. There is one God and one Savior, and He has to come first.
Now let’s get back to the original example. What does this have to do with people embracing gay marriage when a loved one "comes out"?
If you believe in Christian marriage and accept the words of Christ (also from Matthew) that “a man shall leave his mother and father and cling to his wife, and the two will become as one flesh,” then you can’t accept that marriage between two men or two women equates to what the Lord explained in the Gospel. You can try to twist these words, but you can’t change them.
So if you say in the first breath that you are a disciple of Christ, but in the second that you don’t accept His words, you have a dilemma. You are a conditional follower of Christ. You follow Him when you agree with what He teaches. Or when it’s just academic and has no impact on your life (e.g., “I don’t have a gay family member, so it doesn’t really impact me”).
But wait a minute, someone is thinking. You mean that my son, who is gay, wants to marry his love interest and I shouldn’t support him? You mean I should separate myself from him?
Of course not. Your child is your child, gay or straight. You love him no less, you treasure him no less. You open your heart to him. You don’t cut him out of his inheritance. You also don’t “pretend” he is not in a gay relationship and ignore the man he loves.
But that does not mean you have to accept something that is contrary to your role as a disciple of Christ. It doesn’t mean you have to accept his gay “marriage”. And if that seems preposterous to you, let me give you another example.
Let’s change the playing field for a moment. Let’s say your Catholic, heterosexual son is marrying a woman of another faith that rejects Jesus Christ. Further, he tells you that if you are a supportive parent, you will celebrate this with him and approve of this marriage, even if it means that he will end up joining another faith which does not include Christ.
How would you deal with it? Would you tell him, "hey, that’s fine, it really doesn’t matter what you believe"? After all, he is your son. If he chooses to live a life apart from Christ, isn’t that just okay?
You would still love your son. You would still maintain an open relationship with him. You would not refuse to acknowledge his love interest. But, would you “approve” of this marriage?
As a Christian disciple I sure wouldn’t.
Well aren’t you a supportive parent? I mean, if you really loved your son, you’d celebrate this love with him! You might even consider converting. I mean, if you really love your son, shouldn’t you support him by jettisoning your own beliefs in favor of his life choices?
Hopefully you see what I mean. Jesus Christ was specific. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He isn’t just another “guru” or “nice moral teacher”. He is the Son of God made man. He deserves the first place in your life. His words are of God because He is the Word of God.