When Love is On Your Terms (The Gay Marriage Debate)



This past week, these past few days, I have done a lot of soul searching.

The war of words that has been waged on the internet has been seemingly endless surrounding the gay marriage debate. Long, heartfelt debates and conversation have occurred even in my own home. I have wrestled with what to believe, what to support, how to show love, what is truth and how to untangle this mess called my faith and how it works in our culture.

I have read many articles from several blogs of some people I have grown to respect. I respect these people, not because I agree with them on all issues, but because of their heartfelt sincerity in expressing their view points.

While I sort out the mess in my own heart, trying to separate my own sin nature from what is truth and how to show love, I have rested inside my soul what I believe.

There has been so much banter and noise in the online space surrounding the gay marriage debate that I have been trying to avoid it, but that has been increasingly hard to do. The toxicity has made me sick to my stomach because of the awful discourse that I have seen, mainly inside the Christian online sphere.

Today I was reading across the Twitter stream and came across an individual who I had grown to admire through his writing, especially his writing on the current gay marriage debate. The reason I admired his particular article on gay marriage was that even though I completely disagreed with him, he had the ability to write in such I way that I respected him and how he approached the subject.

He made me question what I believe without being abrasive. He made me question what it means to love people and what that love looks like. I walked away questioning what it really meant to love others, how to show love, and how Jesus would want me to love others.

Then I saw his tweets.

Sucker punch would be one way to describe the hypercritical words I was reading 140 characters at a time. And not just one tweet, but repetitive tweets.

He was mocking me, although not intentionally, even though he had no idea who I was. He did this by ridiculing my point of view; he mocked how I view gay marriage. The words he was using that once were used to edify me as a brother in Christ were now used to mock my point of view.

He encouraged me the day before in what it meant to love others and how Christ showed love. But when there is an opposing view against how he interprets the Bible, and the love he spoke of went out the window.

The comments are passed off as nothing but simple humor to make a point. But if he were to follow what he preached it would not seem that way. Making fun of how another brother or sister in Christ interprets the Bible seems pious and prideful and not at all like the love he so eloquently wrote of in his article.

I feel disappointed.

I know we all have our faults, and we all say and do things that are hypocritical sometimes, but it was very hard to read a respectable post just to turn around and read the hypocrisy hashed (pun intended) out on twitter negating everything he had just written.

I hope as Christians we are able to disagree with each other in love, not just preach on it as if we own the corner of the market on love. Love does not belong to only one side of the debate. 

The world is watching.

They are watching how professing Christians are fighting, arguing, and slaying each other with their words. Words that are not spoken in love on either side of the debate. And when the bible speaks of this:

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

I wonder this: through mockery and ugly discourse, what will they know?


Photo credit: “Christ’s Example – Life of Christ Framed Canvas, Found at DaySpring

  • http://www.childrencount.wordpress.com Sarah

    I don’t think the Bible is a book to be messed with. God says homosexuality is an abomination and He means it. Jesus loves and loves and loves and gives people opportunity after opportunity to give up their wrongdoing and follow Him, but His standards don’t change. God said at the beginning that marriage was between a man and a woman and it always will be in His eyes. How dare any of us interpret God out of the picture! The UK-government seems set on redefining marriage right now and it can only mean trouble.

    • Danielle

      Totally agree. It greatly burdens me that there is so much compromise in the church today. Many practice eisegesis, reading into the text of the Bible what they want, rather than exegesis, pulling the intended meaning from the text. They start with man’s word over God’s Word. I’ve seen so much Scripture twisting that I’m stunned. Yes we love people OF COURSE but the most loving thing is to care about their soul and wellbeing. I think the key is “speaking the truth in love”. BOTH need to be there, in balance. There’s a great post by a Christian woman who struggles with homosexuality on The Gospel Coaltion site. She talks about how it does them no favors to side with the world on this issue and distort the Word of God; that if we accept their sin then they have to accept all of ours. It was a great read.

      • http://www.twocannoli.com Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli)

        The Bible was not written in English, originally. How can you be sure that your “exegesis” is EXACTLY as God intended? Every interpretation is open to some debate, and in this case, scholars all over the world have questioned what the book of Leviticus really meant. You will not know what is distorted until you meet God himself; in the meantime, look around the world… there are so many interpretations. Many are twisting it to be what they want it to be.

  • http://www.gracecalling.net grace calling

    This gay rights debate is a tough one. I still haven’t found a really great way to express my belief on the topic, so I just keep quiet unless, and until, God shows me how to speak my heart. I believe we often are so passionate about our message, we forget about the people we’re trying to reach. I don’t wanna be that kind of person. I’d rather keep quiet for as long as it takes until I KNOW how God wants me to word it, or approach the situation.

    Janelle Marie

    • JesseHoover

      Janelle, love this.

      “I believe we often are so passionate about our message, we forget about the people we’re trying to reach. I don’t wanna be that kind of person.”

      I don’t want to be that person either.

      Well said.

    • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin Slade

      I can so relate…I feel the same way…

    • http://www.everythingbeautiful-jimmielee.blogspot.com Jimmie Lee

      Ditto… I couldnt even express that but it is exactly how I feel. Thank you for putting words to what I may never have been to do.

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin Slade

    So. so good. I made the mistake of opening up the can of worms on my own FB page yesterday, and it was simply about loving across barriers.

    I am soo with you on feeling confused on specific issues within the gay marriage rights “movement”. And I cannot adequately express what I would like to say without someone misreading, misunderstanding, or misinterpreting it. So, I find it best to remain quiet in the public “spotlight” as it were. Good job penning out your thoughts here because to me, they seem clear and well organized.

  • http://rubiesandfireflies.blogspot.com sandy

    I completely understand what you are saying. I struggle with some of it, too. Was asking and answering this question the other day. Is it possible to love a person or people wholeheartedly, yet disagree with something they do? Yes. I recently read the book, Torn. I wrote a review of sorts on my blog.

  • http://embracingthislife.com Laura

    Very well said!

  • http://www.natashametzler.com Natasha Metzler

    This is exactly why I stayed hushed quiet.

    I know what I believe and I also know that if Jesus were here, He would be the one walking between the two sides slinging mud at each other, cleaning up the mess.

    • JesseHoover

      So true.

  • strikefast

    Going to simply quote Rick Warren here.

    “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 you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

  • Darlene Sokoloskis
  • Heidi

    I believe in the Bible as God’s word and will continue to support marriage only between a man and a woman. However, in dealing with individuals I think it’s unfortunate that people point fingers at homosexuals as though their sin is worse than any other sin. The Bible tells us that when we judge another, we sit in judgement on ourselves. We’re also told to love one another and let His light shine through us that people may come to know Him. Once they have experienced that life-changing grace then any sin in their lives is between them and God. In the same way, God works in my heart to remove any sin that is present and keeping me from having a full relationship with Him.

    Most importantly, I pray that I am not acting upon the sinful, judgmental nature of my human heart but following God’s direction and through my fellowship with Him, may He continue to help me show His love to others.

  • Susan Heiser

    Well said, Jesse. This post is not so much about the subject as it is about the discussion. You could substitute any controversial topic and the message would be the same: How do Christians conduct the discussion? If we can’t even be respectful to one another, if we can’t even exhibit love to our brothers and sisters when we disagree with them, how in the world will we be able to be respectful and loving to nonbelievers when we engage with them? And think how the Enemy rejoices when he sets brothers and sisters against one another, with the whole world watching. The Bible never calls on us to compromise our beliefs. It does instruct us to love one another. If you are a such a staunch defender of the faith, then defend that part of it, too — do everything as unto the Lord.

  • Tara

    I am just finding this post so I’m a little late on the discussion, but I am with a few of you that have chosen to not speak until God tells you to. I wonder how many people who have dogmatic views that are willing to air them virtually are able to walk it out while sitting at the table with their family members who are openly gay? My brother in law is and that whole “love the person not the sin” thing works great in conversation with people who share your opinion. But when it comes to someone you love sitting next to you, holding hands with their partner of 10+ years, showing more commitment and love than many hetero couples do, it’s hard to judge and not be happy for them. We are being faced with the questions of “what happens if they want to have a marriage/commitment ceremony and ask our young daughters to be flower girls?” We are asking ourselves, What do we start telling our young (8), very social and black/white daughter about her uncles choices? When she sees people smoking she will state ‘that man’s bad because he smokes!’ even when we’ve never said that?! What would she say to her uncle when we tell her that he’s gay and that God sees it as sin? We try really hard to reinstate grace and love for people no matter their sin, because God loves us in spite of our sin. That sin doesn’t make you a bad person, just someone in need of Jesus. But we never know what’s going to come out of her mouth!

    I just wanted to chime in with the perspective of having an opinion, a belief and conviction that makes it hard to live out when you’re literally face to face with challenge of “sticking to your guns.” How do we live out the Gospel? Sure we can love the homeless drug addicts during a mission trip, but how do we love our openly gay family members during dinner? And how are we showing God’s love to those who are not openly living the lifestyle but hear a condemning message of a God they so desperate want to know? Pushing them away from ever taking that step forward out of fear of being rejected for who they believe they are – because they haven’t been told who Jesus says they are? I believe God’s word is black and white, I believe sin is sin. And I believe God’s love transcends every judgement, every interpretation, and every opinion our human flesh comes up with. And I have to daily trust that God will show me exactly what it means to love everyone that comes across my path in every situation, regardless of my convictions.