I in no way believe or propagate tolerating sin. Those who know me know I am usually an absolutist. I have trouble seeing the gray areas so many choose to live in. That can be a great thing, but more often than not, can result in the missing of opportunities. Black and white absolute vision would have called for Jesus to issue the stoning judgment of the woman caught in adultery. But Jesus instead of issuing the edict from the Law of Moses, enhanced it, not through the measures of a gray area, but by more perfectly espousing the truth of the doctrine of the law. It is to that measure that I'm seeking to become more keen and more accepting. And the truth is, we all agree with that. We may say we don't, but I can assure you that if it was you at the feet of Jesus in front of an angry mob caught in a sin, you would be more than happy for Jesus to spare your life. Such is the perfection of grace.
So again, I'm not tolerating sin. I'm not advocating that we allow the "world" in as object lessons on how to love. I am absolutely saying however that we are responsible if we proclaim Christ, to act like Christ. He was made fun of and ridiculed for His association with sinners and the "world." Yet in it all, He never sinned. We are called to be separate in the ways of the world, not the world in general. In fact, the Great Commission sends us to this world we're trying to convince ourselves doesn't exist. We are sent to the world so many in the church would rather be incubated from.
Secondly, I emphatically denounce abortion. As much as I disliked the act of abortion before March 3, 2011, I vehemently became to hate it on that date. That is the date of my daughter's birth. Seeing the miracle of birth, watching her enter into this world, her grasping my finger minutes after entering this world . . .. no doubt. . . I detest abortion. Before that I did as well. The 4-D sonogram pictures of her smiling inside Billie were all too perfect. My child will be taught the importance and sanctity of life. But may I add this . . . . if we as Christians are so intent on protecting the innocent blood of babies, and we better be and should be, what happens to our concern for that baby as he/she grows up? I would suggest that we, the church, become committed to saving the lives of those born as well as those unborn. The unborn are a special cause because they truly cannot help themselves and thus they require our desperate and immediate attention and aid. I only implore us not to neglect the life once he or she is born.
Thirdly, I emphatically denounce homosexual marriage. Marriage was designed to exist between a man and a woman. Their bodies were perfectly crafted one for another. Genesis is clear that woman was made for man, not man for man. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are clear that homosexuality is a sin. It should be taught as such in our churches and in our families. But we must also understand that if homosexuality is a sin, and it is, those involved in the lifestyle need forgiveness and deliverance. That will not occur with the church shunning them, not accepting them, and not loving them. We're not protecting our families from sin by teaching them to not be around homosexual people. We're teaching them to be bigots. This is not a "born this way" (Hello Ga Ga) or "not born this way" debate. This is a simple understanding that those proclaiming homosexuality are in need of a Savior and the church is supposed to be commissioned to offer that chance. We must do so without compromising our principles. We must do so as Jesus did and do it without sinning. There is a way and the excuses of protection and separation won't cut it in the end.
Fourth, the goal of my review of Obama's book was to point to a greater problem that we have. I believe we're guilty of too many times judging people on face value or on what someone else has said about them. As I said in my earlier blog, we see the woman who just had the abortion, but we refuse to see the steps in her life that led her to this moment. Seeing and acknowledging those steps doesn't make one tolerant of the act. It simply gives the Christian insight into how to introduce Christ. We live in a world where the sinner doesn't necessarily care about how much scripture you know and can give them to show them their wrong. They first, as the old adage suggests, want to know how much you care. Face it, we all have stories. Some of the problems in our families today exist because of struggles we had growing up. Some people's present struggles in church are due to past hurts in church. Now we can dismiss all of these people as immature and needing to grow up, or we can look at them and see ourselves in the time when we probably should have "grown up" ourselves. It is in this that I'm saying I believe we must become more tolerant of people, not of their sins. We do not seek to understand their sinning. We seek to understand their choice to sin.
Lastly, on the issue of the President. I'm not an Obama supporter. I don't support his policies for the most part, or in other words, I don't think he's completely clueless. I would disagree with anyone who believes he hasn't done anything of merit since being President or especially before. By the time he wrote this book which was meant to be an introduction into his campaign, Obama had served as the head of the Democratic Party, a US Senator, a State Senator, special adviser to President Bush with Hurricane Katrina, and had taken a few tours in Iraq and talked with military personnel and generals. I would dare bet that most of us have books written by people with far less accomplishments sitting on our shelves that we enjoy. To be honest, Tim Tebow probably shouldn't have written a memoir book considering he's only 24. Whether or not Obama means what he says in his book can be debatable as much as whether you and I mean the things we say to one another from day to day, month to month, or year to year. Things change and so do we. The point in talking about his thoughts was to examine what may have led him to make the stands he has made on issues, many if not most of which I do not support.
Let me add, that becoming tolerant of people doesn't cloud one's judgment to hear from God or hear the alarm of discernment in our hearts. Being tolerant of people is simply loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Thank God people are tolerant of me. Thank God my wife is tolerant of me. Thank God my parents were tolerant of me growing up. We all have to be tolerated at times and we should be grateful and probably have a fond place in our hearts for those who showed the most tolerance in dealing with us. If anything, learning the reasons an enemy fights the way he does only helps a warrior. We can be warriors for Christ, prayer warriors, and moral warriors without being hateful, prideful, secluded, and judgmental. Being understanding, warm, and tolerant doesn't have to equal compromise. It can, but Jesus set the example of how it can be prevented. We have to remember that Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 that our war is not with flesh and blood. That's hard to tell in many churches and media markets. It seems the war is very much flesh and blood oriented. Instead though the Apostle Paul tells us that we fight spirits and principalities. Jesus understood this more so than anyone and thus became the basis for the "Greatest Commandment" sermon and the actions of His submissive death and triumphant resurrection. He never compromised. He was and is perfect. He's the spotless Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the world. He's tolerant of our belligerent, faithless, and casual expressions of devotion. He's long-suffering and patient. He's holy and perfect in all of His ways. He alone is God. That can never be denied. The world needs to know this truth. What will we do to make sure we are conveying that?
Let me say I appreciate the responses to the blog on the President. We all have a right to our opinion. Because opinions differ doesn't make someone more spiritual or less spiritual. I think we have to be careful in making that judgment.