Friday, 3 August 2012

Intolerant tolerance

This past weeks headlines from a National paper have included "Gay marriage vote could be close".  I've received emails asking me to sign petitions in regard to this.  It is all going off. 

It appears this issue is not just raising it's head along the beachy shores of Aotearoa, New Zealand.  The fast food chain in the USA, Chick-fil-A, is under fire after an published interview with the owner, who stated that his company supports "the biblical definition of the family unit".  I have to say I've not read the entire script of the interview nor the press release.  But as you will be able to imagine, and read for yourself. Some comments at the bottom of these articles are fierce, personal, hateful, intolerant and just plain ugly from many folks. People, many people are drawing lines in the sand and choosing sides.  

One of the blogs I subscribe to is brave enough to join the discussion.  In a post titled Not your mother's kind of tolerance the author points out the seemingly fluid nature of the definition of tolerance.  Tolerance use to be the acceptance of the existence of different views. Now it appears to be the acceptance of the existence of different views, as long as you don't give yours, if its different.

I may be a coward, maybe this is just one battle that I'm not keen to publicly join. But the one thing that has touched me and ever so gently is; where is Jesus in all this debate?

The Women's Pastor at my faith family told us this story this week of a gay man, who had a Christian flatmate (house mate/room mate), who loved him in a truly powerful way, never once approaching the topic of homosexuality, the man only ever spoke to him of Jesus.  That gay man is today, a believer in Jesus Christ because of that witness. I do not know the detail of his life, and quite frankly it is none of my business.

Mahatma Gandhi is famously quoted "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."  Does this quote bring a tear to your eye's?  It should, this is how some people view Christians; followers of Christ.  What Jesus did in love for us, he did for all man, every single one of us, we are all sinful, even if you are saved, you are still sinful. I can get so self-righteous, so proud, feeling like I am ok, nearly even good. Judging others, feeding my Pharisee. That is not reflecting my Saviour. Jesus has given me everything, but most importantly He's given me His record, His perfect record.

 "On the days when you feel as though you'll never get it, you'll never please him, you're such a failure, you must remember the lavish gift: his great heart pumped blood through his veins and then out his wounds so that he could bless you.  This perfect blood streamed down his body and tumbled through space, pooling on the earth beneath his feet. It was trampled on by those who stood below jeering.  It mingled with the dirt he had created, and from it grew your hope.  And then, on the days when you believe you're finally getting it, finally pleasing him, when you think you can look in satisfaction at your goodness, you'll need to look at that blood even more closely.  Take yourself to Calvary and stand there until all your good works seem to you as they really are; vile sludge purified only by his cleansing flow." (Elyse Fitzpatrick, Because He Loves Me)

The gift of Jesus is the greatest gift we can give, yet all too often we give our opinions instead. Now I'm not saying do not stand up for what you believe the Bible says.  This world needs Biblical values,  what I am saying is; remember from what you have been saved and who saved you, Jesus Christ is the life changer, the heart changer. A change of heart is the greatest miracle. Just to make it really clear, it is the Holy Spirit job to convict, not ours. 

As far as debates go, this one on gay marriages is heated, there is no doubt about it. Intolerant tolerance is rampant on both sides of the line. I've not come across teaching in the Bible about tolerance, but the Bible does teach about love. We need to be reminded that no one has ever won anyone over to their way of thinking by finger shaking, shouting and calling names. Let us show the world Jesus by speaking to the world about Him and His love.

Thank you Jesus

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