As August is upon us, it is hard not to think about summer winding down and school winding up. Is it really that time? With the late arrival of summer-like weather this year, it seems it’s more like June than August. But, August it is, which means that vacations are wrapping up, fall ministries are gearing up and volunteers are stepping up. How are you going to engage in ministry this fall? How about contacting a ministry leader about your plans this week?
Regardless of the speed at which the summer has passed by for you, there have been some defining moments along the way. Some of those have come at Pathway through things like baptisms, mission trips and 5-day clubs. Others have taken place in our nation through things like the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. I shared some thoughts regarding that ruling with the Pathway congregation a day or two after it was handed down and I’ve had several ask if I could share those thoughts again. I don’t have the exact transcript of what was shared, but here are some abbreviated thoughts that were on my mind at that time and continue to be.
The decision of the court wasn’t a huge surprise given the direction things have been going on this topic in recent years. However, that doesn’t soften the disappointment I feel as it flies in the face of the Biblical definition of marriage spelled out by God in Genesis 1 – that marriage is a life-long union between one man and one woman. Of course, the decision does not change, in any way, the Biblical definition of marriage. What it does mean is that the Biblical definition, Pathway’s definition, is no longer supported by the law of our nation. That might tempt us to respond in despair on the inside or bitter anger on the outside. While those would be understandable feelings on one level, I don’t believe they are fitting for this moment, do not provide a beneficial way forward, and do not demonstrate the redemptive power of the gospel.
To base our degree of peace and satisfaction on the ruling of the court is empty at best anyway, because the court and its decisions are not the hope of the world…Jesus is. If you’re concerned about the direction our nation is headed, and I sincerely hope you are, then our first priority is to be beacons of the light and hope that is found in Him. It is to reflect the love of Jesus to those who agree with the Genesis 1 point of view and especially to those who don’t. Jesus extended His love to them and we must too. That is the message that has power and will land with force as we engage this issue and others in the days to come, because more than a legal issue, this is a heart issue. We can work to see this law overturned, and seeing our nation’s laws in harmony with God’s will is desirable and well worth the effort, but even such a reversal will not transform man’s heart. It is only as man’s heart changes that real, substantive changes are going to happen to culture.
If ever there was a time to live out your Biblical conviction on marriage, this is it. There will be no more powerful influence now and down the road than beautiful, Biblical marriages thriving for our children, grandchildren, neighbors, and the world to see. In all we say and do, as we stand for the truth of the Scriptures, and I hope you will, we must speak the truth boldly and in love. While we don’t know all the implications of this decision that are ahead, I encourage you to walk forward in faith and hope, not despair, knowing that God is in control and will ultimately use this to glorify His name. May all that we say and do, and the spirit in which we do it, glorify His name as well.