The Gay Debate
The other day my Facebook feed blew up with pictures of shaggy beards and camouflage. Apparently a guy that likes ducks said something polarizing about gay folks. This has caused people to once again take up arms, draw lines in the sand and pick sides.
This has become an excuse for everyone to break out their soapbox and give their opinions to the world. Some people are saying that this bearded man is probably Hitler reincarnated and others think that he’s an angel sent from the Most High.
Cracker Barrel decided to pull a lose/lose play by pulling all Duck-related merchandise from its shelves. Duck fans replied by boycotting this barrel of crackers. The restaurant responded by apologizing and putting the ducks back in the barrel…I’m sure that move angered those people who think that ducks should never be barreled. Perhaps I have not told the story one hundred percent accurately, but I think it gets the point across.
No one wins.
This is not the first time this has happened. Not too long ago it was a chicken restaurant. The chicken-restauranteur spoke out against gays and that made people mad saying they would not partake in chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. Other people, on the other side, consumed chicken with such vigor that cows around the world began to rejoice.
So, was this patriarch of Duckdom being a crazy hate-monger? Or was he simply speaking the truth from the Bible? Did he cross the line? Should he have been more loving? Should he have been even more harsh?
I don’t know, and I don’t really care.
Many people are not wasting any time in making their views shockingly clear. Whether you agree with the Duck-man or not you have probably heard shocking views and statements from both sides.
As these events unfolded I found myself quickly starting to fall onto one side of the argument. Then I started wondering what Jesus would have said if he was a redneck reality TV star being interviewed by a men’s fashion magazine. Since Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, I decided to look and see if there were any similar experiences that he was faced with.
When I look to the Gospels to see how Jesus handled politically charged arguments I come to Matthew 22:15-22. The hot topic of the day was not if homosexuality is sin, it was if you should pay taxes to Caesar.
Judea was living under the tyrannical rule of Rome at the time. The taxes that Rome was inflicting on Judea was already causing many riots. Rome was such an oppressive government that many wanted to overthrow the Empire. This led to many revolts and uprisings and many were hoping for a Messiah to come and save them.
The Scripture tells us that some smart religious gurus, called Pharisees, wanted to trap Jesus. They decided to catch him off-guard with a politically charged question. They approached him and tried to act all innocent and butter him up a little before asking the career-ending question.
“Should you pay taxes to Caesar?”
Jesus saw through it immediately and called their bluff. He knew they had evil intentions! “Why are you trying to trick me?” he yelled. “Give me a coin,” he demanded.
Why was this such a devious question?
The religious Pharisees knew that if Jesus said to pay the taxes he would be supporting a tyrannical government and that the people would no longer respect him. On the flip-side if he would say that they should not pay their taxes then that would be a punishable crime. (In fact, Jesus was accused of this very thing in Luke 23:1-5.)
So someone tossed Jesus a coin. Much to everyone’s amazement Jesus did the wise thing. He dodged the question. He said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is God’s.” The religious leaders, the very ones trying to trick him, were amazed at his answer and so they left him alone.
This is not the first time Jesus dodged a question like that. Another time was when Jesus was posed with a seemingly easy question in Matthew 21.
[quote]Matthew 21:23 Now after Jesus entered the temple courts, the chief priests and elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”[/quote]
That seems easy enough. Jesus should just give them a simple answer…God. But that’s not what he did.
[quote]Matthew 21:24-27 Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.  Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from people?” They discussed this among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’  But if we say, ‘From people,’ we fear the crowd, for they all consider John to be a prophet.”  So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.[/quote]
Do you see what Jesus did there? He dodged the question! He could have answered it, but he didn’t. He wasn’t trying to prove a point. He wasn’t trying to make a political statement. He just masterfully dodged the question and turned it back on the people asking it.
How About Homosexuality?
Now this brings us back to the hot question of the past few years regarding homosexuality. How would Jesus have answered it? I think he would have dodged it.
If you think about it, there really is no good answer to that question. I think Jesus would have been wise enough to see through the trickery. If he says that homosexuality is evil then everyone will accuse him of being a bigot, and if he says that it is acceptable then the rest of the people will say he is compromising his beliefs. I think he would have turned the question around on those posing the question. I think he would have dodged the question.
Why would he want to ostracize the very people that he was sent to reach? Jesus was not on a mission to change people’s minds and opinions, he was wanting to change their hearts. Jesus does not particularly care what flavor of sin a person chose…and we all choose a flavor, or variety of flavors. He came to save us once and for all. The discussion of homosexuality is really immaterial. We have all sinned and fallen short of God. We all need God.
Sin is sin
I have no clue why so many “Christians” jump on the gay debate. They carefully lay out chapter and verse showing how the Bible condemns it. Many will usually clarify it by saying that they love the sinner but hate the sin. Whoopee for them!
Why aren’t we having these same discussions about taking the Lord’s name in vain? Why aren’t we boycotting actors because they said “Oh my God,” “God-damn” or “Jesus Christ” in a movie? I haven’t seen any Facebook posts about that, yet from what I can tell that should be considered a sin. There’s no debate about it. It’s written right then in the Big Ten.
How about lying? Are we boycotting liars? Do we get as fired up when someone tells a lie?
What about craving your neighbors new BMW or swimming pool? Is that something that deserves any attention? Or is that not a “real” sin? I mean the Bible does say not to covet, but that’s not really a big deal it is?
The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12 that God’s Word is sharper than a sword. What can a sharp object be used for? Many people just assume that it is used for hacking apart victims. However, a knife in the hands of a skilled surgeon can actually save a life. Maybe we need to start using God’s Word more skillfully? Maybe we should use it more like a scalpel than a cutlass.
[quote]Skillfully using God’s Word means using it to draw people closer to God rather than just to piss them off.[/quote]
Skillfully using God’s Word means using it to draw people closer to God rather than just to piss them off. Believe me, we can all wield the God’s Word is such a way to do harm to each other. But using it to build people up? That takes skill.
Some may give the argument of Matthew 10:33:
[quote]Matthew 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven.[/quote]
They say that if someone asks about homosexuality you must give the right answer otherwise you are somehow denying God. Who came up with that interpretation of this verse?
Not answering a question about the gay lifestyle is NOT the same as denying Christ. If someone comes up and asks you if you think homosexuality is a sin you should realize that it is a trap! Maybe you should just say “I don’t really care.” Does it really make any difference? Is this just a cop-out?
Maybe the best answer to give is, “Who am I to judge?”
We are not the ones that determine sin in the first place. That’s God’s job. My job is not to win arguments, but to make disciples.
He who has no sin throw the first stone.
Sin is Sin no matter which way you slice it or dice it
We are all spiritual beings having a human experience!
Who is to say what is sin?
“I don’t care.” and “Who am I to judge?” don’t really put you in a position to witness to the salvation of Jesus because it either signifies that your judgement in the matter is necessary to know if sin is a problem or that you just don’t care enough even if it is. Jesus didn’t say “it doesn’t matter” and He didn’t imply it was impossible to know.
In the first example (taxes) He stated that they should pay what is due Caesar. That means, as those under Roman rule, they were required to pay taxes whatever His position. He also wasted no time in preaching by adding (and unto God what is God’s) meaning that they shouldn’t be so worried about their money (or any other earthly possession) anyway, but should be more concerned with heavenly matters.
In the second case He didn’t just act like it was a non-question either. Instead, He pointed out the issue of how they already intended to interpret His response. The answer was “God’s” and if they believed that John’s message was from heaven (which it was) they would have had their answer without asking. He gave them the truth (which they ignored) AND left them in a good position to wrestle with their own issues.
I’m still searching for the “Jesus answer” to the topic at hand. I think ultimately it’s a topic that should only be discussed from a position of friendship where you can relate enough with the person struggling to treat it like it’s a burden enslaving the person (which is the godly view of sin) instead of a personal attack that you intend to fight with billboards and speeches.
Saying we don’t care just makes us apathetic (if we still acknowledge homosexuality as sin) or intellectually dishonest (if we decide we’re just going to take what we like in God’s Word and chuck the rest).
Yes you make some valid points. However, the important issue is that they were trying to trap Jesus. We should certainly give a good Biblical answer. However, we also need to be wise about when people are just trying to trap us into a polarizing political debate. We certainly should never compromise our beliefs, but we need to tread carefully if we have any hope or reaching people with the Good News.