Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Loving People and Chicken!

Today, I went to Chick-fil-a. I did not go out of hatred for anyone. I went because I support both Dan Cathy’s stated beliefs and his right to express those beliefs. Of course, I also went because they make a really great chicken sandwich. There are so many ways to talk about the recent controversy surrounding Chick-fil-a. However, there is one that is really burning in my heart. I want to spend a few minutes talking about our responsibility to those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality. I submit to you that in many ways we have failed these individuals. We have failed them by allowing this particular sin to be elevated into its own class of sin, while forgetting that all of us are sinners. Like all who struggle with homosexuality, I was born that way. I was born with a sin nature I inherited from our original parents, Adam and Eve. As I aged, I expressed that sin nature in all sorts of ways, even sexual immorality. While, I did not express my sin nature with homosexuality, I was every bit as guilty of unrepentant sexual sin and many other expressions of sin. I had desires and cravings which I selfishly fed. Paul put it well in Ephesians. He wrote, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph 2:1-3, ESV). You and I stood before God no less guilty than anyone who struggles with homosexuality. In fact, Jesus said that to even look with lust is to be guilty in the heart (Matt 5:28). I was born with a sin nature, as were you and everyone else. I believe we have also failed these people by insufficiently communicating the Gospel. You and I were born with a sin nature, and we need to be born again in Jesus Christ. Paul continued in Ephesians, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4-5, ESV). That is glorious truth! Yet, being saved does not mean that one will cease to battle temptation. We struggle with various temptations everyday. Satan is a master at knowing our temptations. And he will tempt us in the areas he perceives we are weakest. Thus, a man who gives his life to Jesus Christ may struggle with homosexuality the rest of his life. That individual, like the rest of us, needs to understand that we need Christ to get us through every struggle, every temptation. That individual needs to know that we are all a bunch of messy individuals, all with various sorts of struggles; redeemed and pursuing holiness by the grace of God. Too often, we try to make people think we have it altogether, when the fact is we don’t. We are constantly in need of our Lord and His strength. That is the whole point of the Gospel. God knew that we were a mess. So, He sent His Son to redeem us. He also knew that after we were saved, we would be messy and in constant need of His empowering grace in order to have victory in a world of sin. Collectively, we as Christians, are a people who have been saved by grace and brought together into His family, the Church. We need one another in our daily battles. We also need to be more transparent about our struggles. We need to quit pretending we have it all together. And we need to lovingly communicate the Gospel in its fullness. Does God love the individual who struggles with the sin of homosexuality? Absolutely! Just like He loves the person who struggles with the sins of pornography, promiscuity, and adultery. The entire point of the cross was to demonstrate God’s loving, viscous, and relentless pursuit of fallen people. Jesus did not come to save people who were good and well (there aren’t any). He came to save people who are messed up! He came to save people who have broken His law and deserve judgment. Thankfully, He poured that judgment out on Jesus Christ, who willingly served as our substitute. He is our ever-present help in time of need. Only in Him can we have victory over our daily temptations with sin. And when we fail, He wants us to run to Him and not from Him. So, yes I went to Chick-fil-a today. And I plan to go again and again. But, its not because I hate anyone. I will spend the rest of my life here in this world, and all of eternity in the next, perpetually aware that I am only saved by His grace. I was a wretched mess when He saved me, and I will be messy until He brings me home. Until then, I will rest in His gracious hand and pursue holiness by His loving grace. And I will seek to love all people and tell them how they can also have victory in Jesus. And I will do so as I "eat mor chikin."

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