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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Marriage :: Defined

Well, now I know how to get all my Facebook friends excited: ask them to share their opinions on the topic the Supreme Court is currently debating.  (If you would like some background information, you can read it here, here, and here.)

I realize that there are a lot of issues involved in this.

-How do we define marriage?
-WHO defines marriage?
-Is homosexual marriage a right?
-Should the government have a role in marriage at all?
-Who decides who can get married and who can't?

Disclaimer:  I'm going to state some of my beliefs here.  I understand many of you may disagree with me, and that's OK.  I'd love a discussion in the comments.  I just ask that we all respect each other as people created by God.

For me, the bottom line is GOD.  God supersedes the government in authority.  God's Word contains the directives for daily life.  Obedience to God is the best way to live.  So I stand by God's definition of marriage.
Genesis 2:23-24: The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Genesis 1:27-28: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it."
God created marriage to be between one man and one woman.  (Side note: his directive to "be fruitful and increase in number" would be impossible to fulfill if marriage had been designed to also include same-sex couples!)

Now, should the government have the right to define what marriage is?
I acknowledge that our government isn't perfect.  It may even be described as corrupt.  And I realize that governments have been used in the past for great ill.
That doesn't negate the fact that government was originally instituted by God for the order and benefit of society.  (In 1 Samuel, God chose the first king, Saul, for the people of Israel.)  In the United States, our government has outlawed such sins as murder and theft, and sexual sins such as incest, rape, and child pornography.  I believe that therefore homosexuality can be decreed by our government as illegal.

This brings me to the next point... is homosexuality a sin?
I believe it is.  I believe that anything outside God's design for marriage is sinful.  And the Bible does speak to this.  Genesis 19:1-11 make it clear that homosexual behavior is punishable.  Leviticus 20:10-17 condemns homosexuality, incest, adultery, and bestiality.  1 Corinthians 6:9 clearly condemns homosexuality, along with other sins.

Romans 1:24-28 states, "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts for the degrading of their bodies with one another...Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."  It is helpful to read this passage in its full context: Romans 1:20-32.  Also see this article for a helpful discussion of the topic.

Now, I must make the most important point.
Do I condemn homosexuals?

NO!

I cannot condemn any sinner.  Why?  Because I, too, am a sinner.  It is up to God to condemn sin.  I saw an excellent quote on Facebook, that has been attributed to Rick Warren (although I can't verify that):
Our culture has accepted two huge lies.  The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them.  The second is that to love someone means to agree with everything they do.  Both are nonsense.  You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you."  Jesus loves everyone equally.  That's the kind of equality I'm all about!  He does not love any person more or less for the choices they've made.  However, Jesus did tell the prostitute caught in her sin, "Neither do I condemn you.  Now go and sin no more."  (John 8:10-11)

Jesus died a horrific death on the cross so that the sins of all people, of all time, would be paid for.  He wants all people to be in heaven with him someday.  All people have been created by God, and God loves them all, so very much!  Whether your sin is drunkenness, gluttony, sloth, greed, murder, lust, theft, homosexuality, or any other sin, Jesus has died to eliminate that sin.  He has died for you (and me!) because he loves us.  And he doesn't want us to be separated from God for eternity.

So am I going to say homosexuality is wrong?  Yup.  Am I going to say it's something no one should do?  Yes.  Am I going to back the government if it makes a law that homosexuality is illegal?  Well, I'm not going to complain... but the government hasn't outlawed my sinful habits of rudeness, laziness, and meanness.  The government isn't required to make such a decision.

Will I continue to strive to love everyone around me equally, with the love of Jesus?  You bet.  Because that's how God does it.


Linking with: Upward Not Inward, Deep Roots at Home, Raising Homemakers, We are THAT Family, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Messy Marriage

12 comments:

  1. I agree... however even though I find it interesting and well thought out, I would love to hear your full explanation of this statement "This brings me to the next point... is homosexuality a sin?
    I believe it is. I believe that anything outside God's design for marriage is sinful. And the Bible does speak to this. Genesis 19:1-11 make it clear that homosexual behavior is punishable. Leviticus 20:10-17 condemns homosexuality, incest, adultery, and bestiality. 1 Corinthians 6:9 clearly condemns homosexuality, along with other sins."

    One could read those passages and interpret them differently from the point you are trying to bring to the argument.

    Good job though!

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    1. Thanks for your comment! :) I'm curious: How would you interpret those passages to make a point other than "homosexuality is a sin and here's where the Bible condemns it?" (Also, read the article I linked to in that section... the author of that has a great, concise explanation.)

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  2. I agree with what you've said here, Jaimie. I still struggle to know exactly where I fall on the argument of legalizing same sex marriage, though. I'm not aware of the financial differences between a civil union and marriage, though either. I feel like I need to do more homework on the subject in order to be able to form an informed opinion. Let me be clear, though, I agree that it is a sin based upon what God's word says, but not sure what the means for a citizen's rights.

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    1. Yes, there is more I'd like to know, myself. As far as whether it's a citizen's right to get married... I think that all CITIZENS have the right to marry... but all COUPLES? Not necessarily. You can marry anyone you want, as long as they're of the opposite gender. :)

      I realize that giving rights to homosexual couples equal to those of heterosexual couples would only formalize something that's going to happen anyway. People will choose to live lives contrary to the Word of God whether it's legal or not.

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  3. The bible doesn't claim marriage is between one man and one woman since for most of the old testament polygamy was the norm. Marriage is redefined all the time.

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    1. Thank you for speaking up! I appreciate having different viewpoints in the comments. Life would be boring if we all thought the same way, wouldn't it? :)

      I must respectfully disagree with you, however. Polygamy was common in the Old Testament, yes, but it wasn't the norm. Divorce was allowed, too: See Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy%2024:1-4&version=ESV).

      However, just because this was ALLOWED doesn't mean it was God's plan. In Matthew 19, the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus said no; that's not the way God planned for marriage to work. But why, the Pharisees asked, did Moses give the instructions about the divorce certificate (see the Deuteronomy passage)? "Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and married another woman, commits adultery.'" (Matthew 19:1-9)

      When God instituted marriage, he designed it to be between one man and one woman. That's how marriage was before the fall into sin. After sin entered the world, all sorts of things went wrong. Marriage was tainted along with everything else. Certain behaviors were allowed, but not sanctioned, and certainly not encouraged. And think of the polygamists in the Old Testament. It didn't work out very well for any of them. Abraham had a son by his wife's maidservant and his wife and the servant ended up hating each other, and his son by the servant was the ancestor of Israel's enemies. Jacob married both Leah and her sister Rachel because he was tricked into it, but he never really loved Leah and the two sisters fought a lot, trying to outdo each other in having babies. Solomon had hundreds of wives and concubines, but this was not what God had told him to do, and he ended up being enticed into idol worship by several of his many wives.

      Jesus told the disciples how marriage is supposed to work: "'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that in the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh"? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.'" (Matt. 19:4-6)

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  4. Great post Jaimie! I really like how you concentrated on love and that we can show people love without agreeing with their choices which is a lot better than condemning people when we all are sinners... Thanks for the post; I really like reading it :)

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  5. Your thoughts are clearly expressed. I think Chrisitians and the Church have a challenge to extend love to all sinners through Christ--we are all sinners--and maintain God's design for marriage. Within the Church many failures with regard to sexuality and marriage are present. Our message has become muddled. We need repentance and revival.

    In terms of legalizing same-sex marriage I am most concerned about the effect on our public schools, small businesses that don't want to participate in same-sex marriages (photographers and bakeries and inns). Same sex marriage and homosexual sexuality will be taught in the schools. Massachusetts did not let parents pull their children out of same-sex marriage presentations.

    Religious freedom will change if gay marriage is legalized.

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  6. I forgot to add a link in my comment. The chief Rabbi of France wrote a deep and thoughtful article on same-sex marriage and adoption,

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/02/homosexual-marriage-parenting-and-adoption

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  7. jaimie... this was a beautifully (and lovingly) written post on a very hard topic. thanks for sharing.

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I love reading your thoughts and opinions!