How Should Christians Approach Amendment One?
By tom goergen
Special to The Pilot
It is troubling that fellow Christians are contemplating a change to our state constitution that would limit civil rights.
Please consider Christ's living and loving example when you decide on May 8. Jesus gave us the greatest Commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest Commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the law and the prophets hang on these two Commandments.
Jesus reinterpreted the Old Testament, giving us a fuller and deeper understanding, an understanding that can only come through the perspective of love. He challenged those with a too-literal interpretation. The Ten Commandments were not given us to shield God's eyes from wrong behavior and protect us from divine wrath; they were given out of love so that people could live happier, more fulfilling lives.
God loves us. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father did not wait for an apology or inflict punishment. He ran to his returning son, embraced him and celebrated.
When the older brother became angry at what he perceived to be a lack of justice, the father told him the importance of his joy at being reunited with the lost brother.
If the father in this parable represents a loving God, to whom punishment is unimportant, we should follow that example and embrace and accept our fellow men and women for what they are, not what we might prefer them to be.
When Jesus was confronted by the scribes and Pharisees with a woman caught in the act of adultery, they reiterated Mosaic Law and its proscription that she be stoned.
Jesus dispersed the crowd by saying, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Then he said to her, "Neither do I condemn thee: Go, and sin no more."
Being a Christian is not about punishment; it is about doing the right thing and leading by example.
We may fall victim to our human vices again and again. What is important is that we do not give up, that we keep trying to follow the light as it has been given to us.
Jesus did not have to die to save us from the wrath of God. Why would God want to inflict pain and death upon the one he loved most?
How would that satisfy an almost unquenchable anger with the people he created, knowing that they had imperfections capable of generating the sort of behavior he later could not abide?
Jesus' Gospel of love revolutionizes our understanding of the Old Testament. Before Jesus, fear was necessary to keep people in line, and God's wrath to explain why his chosen people could suffer defeat and exile.
Jesus' death proves that God's love for us transcends even the human desire for life. It is a demonstration that life is fleeting, but the soul isn't and how we live our life is what allows us to become one with God, or can estrange us from him, which is the real punishment.
Science has amply demonstrated that homosexuality is primarily not a choice, but a natural condition some of us are born with. Some brains are wired differently. It is not a sin to be as God created us.
We have to understand the ancient culture and the reasons why society repressed homosexuality. Whatever our beliefs, times have changed. Knowledge and understanding have advanced. We must let others do what we may not choose to do ourselves, especially when not forced upon anyone.
Our own morality and minds should be strong enough that we can live and let live without being diminished in the slightest or demoralized in any way.
I understand feelings that our culture has in some ways degenerated and that a healthy dose of individual morality would be beneficial.
The better answer is not repression but dialogue across cultural lines, and agreement upon practical and effective ways to provide a pathway for those who wish to lift themselves up.
Let us not be hypocrites like the scribes and Pharisees, imposing the letter of an archaic law above the spirit of love that originally inspired it.
If God can create and love those among us who are different, we should not misuse state power to oppress and impinge upon the liberty of those who are living the life they were created to live and becoming the fullest divine creation they can be.
That includes the right to marry another adult, if one is blessed to find loving commitment with another, regardless of gender.
Wish them peace and happiness instead!
Tom Goergen lives in Southern Pines. Contact him at tgoergen@ nc.rr.com.
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