How about cards and dancing?
Published 10:14 am Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Throughout our history, we Christians have had difficulty agreeing on what Jesus is really calling us to do. Many times, we have used the Bible to condemn behaviors different from our own.
In the 1930s and ’40s, some Christians uncomfortable with playing cards defined such as sinful. In the ’50s, Christians used the Bible to proclaim dancing as taboo (Exodus 32:19-21, 31). In the ’60s and ’70s, you were sinning if you married a divorced person (Matthew 5:31, 32). In the ’90s and 2000s — and still today — some Christians use the Bible to condemn homosexuals (Romans 1:26, 27).
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How we understand the Bible changes over time. And it should. If we are truly becoming more like Christ, as we move forward to mature in our faith, we will change. We will grow. We will become more like him — more loving, more accepting, more welcoming of those different from ourselves. As he demonstrated with the woman at the well (John 4), Zaccheaus (Luke 19), the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53), and those crucifying him (Luke 23:34), this was his role-modeling. Christians today who truly want to follow him seek to spend less time judging, more time forgiving, less time excluding, more time including, less time rejecting, more time accepting.
For most Christians, it is no longer sinful to play cards, dance or marry a divorced person. Within a few years, most Christians will no longer consider it sinful to be homosexual. We will instead refuse to participate in Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin (Ezekiel 16:49), and become ever more compassionate to those different from ourselves.
This will be a good thing. Jesus prayed that we would all be one as he and his father were one (John 17:9-11). This can only happen when we stop our judging of others (Matt 7:1) and see us all as children of God.
Many gays are devout Christians. Many of those who aren’t do not participate because when they sought the love of God in church, they could not find it there.
We all have the same source, the same creator. And God does not condemn any of his children. Indeed, as Jesus said, “none have been lost” (John 17:12).
The prodigal father (Luke 15:20) was not interested in how the younger son was different from the older son. He was only interested in welcoming him home. As we become more like the Jesus we follow, we too will be less concerned about judging others who are different, and more concerned about warmly accepting everyone into our midst.
I believe Jesus smiles as we become more like him — when we recognize his greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) trumps any other rule we may be compelled to embrace.
I share in Jesus’ hope that we will shed the responsibility we feel to be judges of each other. As we drop this judgment, we will finally become one, living the love of Jesus with all.