It’s Time to Speak Up

John 3:17 says For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. So I assume it’s not my job to condemn. In fact it’s that thought that has kept me quiet when perhaps I should not have been.

Is it a coincidence that today I read Ezekiel? Ezekiel was made a “watchman for the people” (3:16), something I have felt convicted to be for a long time. And then God said to Ezekiel: “When . . . you don’t warn them . . . of their evil ways. . . I will hold you responsible.” (3:17) God repeats His command to Ezekiel making Him a watchman to the people of God. Interestingly enough, he was not commanded to speak those words to someone outside the community of Israel, only those whom God had chosen.

Those words from Ezekiel were the final conviction for me to finally speak up and say something to the people of God. If you don’t claim to be a Christian, you are welcome to read the following, but it’s not meant for you. I hope that if you aren’t a Christian, you’ll explore the love that Jesus has for you before you worry about anything you read here.

Below you’ll find words of warning I have to speak, but before I speak them, I feel a need to speak some words of repentance. I need to ask forgiveness for me and my people, the people of God who have been silent for too long.

Forgive us, Lord, for keeping silent when men convinced your people that you did not create us in your image. Forgive us for allowing your people to forget how precious humanity is because we have in us the potential to be replicas of You. I think this was probably the beginning of the problem, for if the enemy can convince us to forget the beauty and potential of every human to be like You, we are much more likely to approve of slavery and other atrocities against the only part of creation that you called “very good”.

Forgive me and those who’ve gone before me for allowing Christian prayer to be removed from schools. We just stood back and said, “Yes, those few people have more rights than the many.” And now, should we try to bring it back, it would not be an honor to You, it would be a party for the foreign gods.

Forgive us, Lord, for just sitting on our hands when the courts said that unborn babies aren’t really humans. Forgive us for allowing people to think your creation is less precious before it is born. Forgive me and those who’ve gone before me as we have allowed your command, “You shall not murder,” to be distorted and perverted.

Forgive your people, Lord, for our silence in the past several years. Forgive us that we have not followed the command you gave Ezekiel to warn and speak out against sin. Forgive us that we have listened to the voices of the world who continue to say we are judgmental when we call sin, sin. Forgive us that we have allowed those who are not Your representatives, those who call themselves Christians, but insist on condemning and being hurtful, to cause us who truly love with Your love to be silent instead of trying to balance their hurtfulness.

And to those of you who have been given excuses for your sin and been told “It’s OK, God loves you,” forgive us for sharing God’s love without being bold enough to remind you that our Heavenly Father and Omnipotent Creator says, “Those who love me will obey my commands.”

Yes, this is getting long, but to speak the words I need to speak without accepting some of the blame for the need to speak them would just be compounding the problem. You see, sin is sin. And I am convinced that the greatest sin, the unforgivable sin, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, is to reject the conviction that the Holy Spirit places on our hearts, to deny that the sin our Perfect King points out is truly sin.

So, this writing is not in condemnation of anyone. John 3:17 and Romans 8:1 don’t leave room for condemnation. However, Romans 8 tells us that Jesus’ death condemned sin, (8:3) and John 16:8 reminds us that the Holy Spirit was sent to convict us of our sin. So, here goes. If what I’m writing makes you upset, please pray, ‘cause I’m guessing it’s the Holy Spirit’s conviction. I’ve experienced it many times, and I praise God for it, because it’s that conviction that brings me closer to Christ every day.

Leviticus 18:22 says: “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” I haven’t figured out how that can be translated any other way. Some have said that it doesn’t mean two consenting adults, but “as one does with a woman” makes it sound like that’s exactly what it means. Additionally, I’ve heard those who like to defend the homosexual lifestyle saying that this is irrelevant because now we eat pigs . . . you can start out by checking out Acts 10 where even Peter decided God was now giving permission for His people to eat pork. One person even compared Leviticus 18:22 to the command from Deuteronomy 25:5. The theory is since a man doesn’t marry his brother’s widow anymore we don’t have to follow the commands from the Old Testament. I see at least a couple of flaws in that thinking. First, Moses said this was a command for brothers who live together, so I’m assuming that means a single brother, not every brother. Plus the purpose was so the brother’s name would not be “blotted out from Israel.” Perhaps single men need to take a look at that, I don’t know. I don’t feel any conviction about it one way or another, but I do know that the fact we don’t obey one part of scripture doesn’t automatically give us permission to ignore other parts.

Now, there are those who believe that the laws against homosexuality were for Old Testament times only. I’m assuming these same theologians throw out Romans 1:26-27 “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” One such student of scripture basically said we can’t trust anything Paul wrote. He erroneously stated that Paul wrote “women can’t wear pants.” I’ve looked. I can’t find it anywhere. Deuteronomy 22 prohibits cross dressing, but since men wore robes at the time, it can’t have anything to do with women wearing pants. It does seem to set men and women apart; even when both wore robes there were definite men’s garments and women’s garments. Obviously God wanted to maintain a certain difference in the genders. This Bible student should have quoted the passage where Paul instructs women to cover their heads when they pray if he wanted to note passages we don’t observe anymore. However, even in this instance, I see it in context of the times. Modest women wore head coverings and veils. In fact, if I went to the Middle East right now, I might consider observing this passage because I would want to appear modest in every culture.

When these same folks seek permission to ignore Paul, they also site 1 Corinthians 14:34. Paul does say women shouldn’t talk (the Greek doesn’t mean preach – it means have conversation) in church, but if you keep reading on through verse 35, it would appear these noisy women were asking their husbands questions during worship. This, because they would have been seated far away from their spouse in a segregated congregation, would have been quite disruptive. In 1 Timothy 2:11, most translations read as if Paul does say that He personally didn’t let women teach men, although if we go back to the original Greek, more than one theologian believes Paul really means he doesn’t allow a wife to teach or take authority over her husband. In any case, as a women, I’ve never felt as though Paul was to be disregarded because he asked women to live within cultural expectations. Paul obviously didn’t have a problem with women in church leadership. He seemed to encourage Priscilla, and I’m sure as a devout Jew he knew all about Deborah and had great respect for this ancient Jewess.

Another thing that students of scripture will note is that Jesus never says a word about homosexuality. It’s not something He took the time to speak about. It’s not the only issue He didn’t mention, but it is one. Of course, if Jesus viewed homosexuality as “sexual immorality,” then he mentioned it at least a few times. And if we consider what he said about marriage, we can also question whether or not homosexuality is part of God’s perfect will.

The first thing that Jesus says about marriage, actually talks about divorce. I only address this because if you look up what Jesus says about marriage, this is the one that everyone talks about. Many think that those who have divorced should never remarry, and if you were the one who was sexually immoral or you were already a Christian when you divorced and your spouse didn’t cheat on you, then perhaps you should stay single. I’ll leave that between you and Christ. But I’m convinced that when Jesus inserted, “except for marital unfaithfulness”, He was making a way for those who’d been wronged to have another relationship.

But the other thing that Jesus says about marriage is one that we ignore. He says we’re ignorant about marriage. There won’t be any marriage in heaven. Even if you’re married now, you won’t be in heaven. So, if there’s no marriage in heaven, why are we married here on earth? The only explanation is for procreation. God made Adam and Eve male and female, one man for one woman. He blessed the humans that He loved and gave them pleasure in the procreation process, but as with most of our blessings, humans perverted it.

As a Christian, I can find no way around the Bible’s mandate that homosexuality is wrong, as is sex outside of marriage. In Hebrews it says to keep the marriage bed pure. The big Ten specifically says no adultery (which is not cheating on your spouse – it is having sex with someone you are not married to). I Corinthians 6:18 even goes so far as to tell us that sexual immorality may be worse than other sins because this is a sin against one’s own body.

I don’t want to pick on the sin of homosexuality. I believe it is the same sin as pre-marital sex and adultery, no worse than either of these much more socially acceptable sins. Plus, I believe in God’s eyes it’s not even any worse than stealing a pen from the bank or telling your mother she looks beautiful in that hideous dress. I believe that God judges the severity of our sin based on the hardness of our heart, which explains why we see taking that pen as a much more innocent faux pas than cheating on our spouse. It’s easy to unintentionally stick that pen in your pocket. There’s a little more planning involved in sleeping with your co-worker. But if one schemes to steal the pen, then . . .

I don’t like confrontation. I don’t like to make a big deal about sin. I prefer to make a big deal about forgiveness. I prefer to allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin; however, as the world covers sin up and makes excuses for it more and more, it’s imperative that I reiterate what scripture says. You see, my silence could be construed as “I don’t care if you go to hell.” And that’s not the truth. I don’t want anyone to miss out on eternal life with our Creator. Ultimately, God will decide who gets that gift. I can’t begin to say whether or not you will be excluded. However, I do know what the Bible says about what is displeasing to God. So, while I confess my pride and gluttony (yep, both are sins) and give them to my Heavenly Father over and over to clean them up, I hope you will see your sin as sin so that you can be right with God and experience the fullness of the abundance of His blessings.

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