Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Husband and Wife (08/08/14)
- TITLE: Strictly Arthur and Martha
By Dave Walker
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James puts it clearly. "Friendship with the world is hatred towards God." (Jas. 4:4). As the time of Jesus' return draws ever closer, embracing worldly values is culminating in overt hatred towards God, which is spelled out in hatred towards His people.
As Christian folk stay firm in their convictions that marriage must be between a husband and wife and not between Betty and Jane or Michael and Henry, they are coming under increasing attack.
In England a Christian couple who provided respite care for 15 children a decade ago were refused permission to be foster parents because they would not undertake to teach a child placed with them that the homosexual lifestyle was acceptable.
In New Mexico, a photographic studio lost a court case brought against them when they refused to photograph a same sex 'marriage' ceremony.
A Christian guest house in South Africa and another in England have lost court cases against them and been subject to fines for confining the letting of double rooms to heterosexual married couples.
The list of indictments for upholding Christian values gets longer as the gay rights movement becomes more successful in the courts and gay 'rights' supersede the right to freedom of religion.
How, as Christians, should we respond? How would Jesus respond?
John, at the start of his gospel describes Jesus as full of grace and truth. Let this be the hallmark of our response to the antagonism and accusations of intolerance by those who, themselves, refuse to tolerate Christian values. Let's respond with grace and with truth.
Firstly, let's respond with grace. There is no place for the vitriol that has been displayed at gay marches by people purporting to represent Jesus. Jesus was known as the friend of sinners. He kept his verbal attacks for the self righteous hypocrites. The weapons of our warfare should not be the same as those of our enemies. Let's love the sinner and pray that we can show our love in a way that does not condone the sin. This in no way means we cannot challenge the decisions made against Christians in court. It merely means we guard our hearts against anger and resentment in the process.
Secondly, let's respond with the truth. In spite of the consequences, let us stand firm on our godly principles. As the Body of Christ this involves us all. We can support those who are on the frontline of these attacks by writing to them and encouraging them. We can support them financially and let our views be known through the media and among our friends. An attack on the principles of God as laid out in His Word is an attack on all His people, not just those in the trenches. At the risk of facing persecution ourselves, we should refuse to compromise the truth.
As we move closer to the return of our Lord, we know, from His Word, that persecution of His people will intensify. Some respond by throwing up their hands resignedly and submitting to the worldly bullying as God's will for the End Times. Others respond with venom, becoming aggressively indignant at the treatment. Others, sadly, compromise to avoid the trauma. Yet there is another way -- the way of faithful engagement, like Jesus. As Jesus strode through Satan's territory with majestic humility, He used the weapons of truth and grace to demolish strongholds, actively engaging, yet trusting His Father to complete His mission on earth. While the Pharisees and Sadducees looked on disapprovingly and threatened His life, he extended grace and expressed the Father's true heart in healing.
While the lawmakers and judges rage against the laws of God, let us, in humility like Jesus, faithfully hold out the Way, the Truth and the Life. Let's strive to be blameless and pure, children of God in a crooked and depraved generation in which we shine like stars in the universe as we -- boldly, with courage -- hold out the word of life. (Phil.2:15,16)
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