When I stand before our Daddy

2 Aug

From time to time there is controversy among Jesus followers about when or at what point loving someone is giving license to their beliefs or behavior. It may be possible to err on one side or the other. On one hand judging beliefs or behavior is hard to separate from the one in a zillion person espousing them. I always want to be careful to love the sinner (at least from my perspective) while not liking the sin. That was some great direction from my Big Mama (about 5’4″ and near ’bout that wide). She more lived it than said it. On the other hand some people’s beliefs and behavior are so intolerable (hateful, harmful to themselves or others) that we have to take a firm and strong stand against what they are doing and hope they are able to separate themselves from it and be always ready to help them find their way.

Some areas are gray. Take homosexuality for example. At least it’s gray for me. Is it learned behavior or environmental or genetic? Would that make a difference? Heartsong has an official stance on the issue-rather on the people who in their hearts and minds whether in practice or not see themselves as homosexuals. If you want a copy of that statement as approved by our council, email me or call the church office and I will see that you get one. In a nutshell (and I do hope you read the whole thing) it says that while the issue can be debated as to whether it is a sinful lifestyle or not, we do not believe we have to “solve” the issue in order to love the people.

I have a fantasy that guides me about responding to this issue (and others) and the dear people who struggle with it more than I will ever have to struggle. When I stand before our Daddy to give an account of how I spent my life following Jesus I would much rather hear, “Steve, you were really soft and way too tolerant on the homosexuality issue”, than to hear, “It just crushed my heart every time you hurt one of my dear daughters or sons with your hardness and intolerance.” If you had to hear one of those two things, which would you rather hear?


12 Responses to “When I stand before our Daddy”

  1. Sherry August 3, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    I want to err on the side of loving all of His children always!

  2. Lesa Henson August 3, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    Thank you.

  3. Linda Rudder August 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Amen, brother Steve! 1 Corinthians 4:21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness? God gives us a free will and knew all the repercussions and ramifications that would ensue from the choices stemming from that inner force. Romans 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, It is not for us to condemn homosexuality, abortion or other hot-topic sexual issues. Alcohol looked like a solution and a savior to me! But I am certain it did not look that way to others, observing my behavior while enslaved to it! What we can take away from observing those who serve the author of those choices, is that they are tethered to bondage, confusion, destruction, unrest, death and disease. The enemy is a liar and must make evil look good in order to pass it off to a child of God. Why? Because not mankind BUT the divinely designed origin in each of us, seeks good. Once the enemy establishes a stake in the life of a fragile child of God, generations will reap what is sewn in that delusion of truth. God’s word says in James 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Christ is the only one who can judge, with the mercy provided for all in forgiveness, which closes the door to hell. His grace opens the door of heaven for all who are desperate for it. Those who condemn others are as desperate for grace as the ones they condemn. God is responsible for His children. Our only responsibility as a child of God is to respond to His ability, having faith that He is able to produce change, through Christ Jesus. Christ bore the sin of all mankind past, present and future. Jesus told us plainly in John 14:6 I am the way, and the truth, and the life. He set the example for our God authored life. Our control over others is relinquished in our prayer life. The power is in the prayer taker, NOT the prayer maker. We do not pray for the greater work, prayer is the greater work for those lost, sick, suffering, and stumbling toward the life He has available for all who truly desire HIM. Simply put, there is no crown for any life we know, without the cross death to sin that robs us of it.

    In praise of God for His Son, our Lord Jesus!!
    He is able!

  4. Mike Martin August 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    I do not need to read the “Heartsong official stance” if you can’t determine for yourself (what God’s word states clearly) if homosexuality is sinful or not. Do you doubt God’s word? Do you have an official stance on stealing or murder?

    • stevestonesr August 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

      Hey Mike. In the official stance we do deterimine for ourselves what God’s word states and how we are to respond in light of it. What I’m saying is that it is not my call to declare homosexuality a sin or to say that it is not. That is God’s business. We don’t have an official stance on eating BBQ or catfish, but it clearly states in the bible that eating those are sinful. Some of the punishments in the Old Testament are way out of line with the teaching of Jesus. Slavery is condoned in the New Testament, but we don’t feel we need an official stance on that one either. We, like you and every other throughful and faithful Jesus follower have to interpret the bible, and some of what was a big issue for them (whether or not to eat meat sacrificed to an idol for example) is irrelevant in our time and culture. In the same passage where Paul says that those who practice homosexuality should be killed he says the same thing of liars, gossips and those who disrespect their parents. Should that be taken on face value or does it need to be set in the context of the bigger point he was making? Some of what Paul said he claimed he did not have a word from the Lord on it. Did he claim that about all that was just his opinion? I don’t follow Paul or follow everything in the bible. And if you are truly a Jesus follower, you don’t either. We have to get to know Jesus and then take him as our interpreter of all else that is there. That thoughtful people will disagree on what is time bound and cultural, and what benefits from the ongoing and ever new witness of the Holy Spirit seems inevitable to me.

      • joshdavis August 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

        The overwhelming and almost universal agreement amongst Christian theologians is that Old Testament Law should be divided into three categories… moral law, ceremonial law and civil law.

        The Ten Commandments are an example of God’s eternal moral law. The Commandments and other laws like them are stated rather abstractly and can therefore be applied with relative ease to every person, place and time.

        The ceremonial laws were designed for tabernacle worship. The civil laws were designed to guide Israel as a theocratic nation. A vast majority of these laws do not apply to our present day because Old Testament ceremonies and the body politic of Israel have been fulfilled in Christ.

        The examples you use to deflate Mike Martin’s statements are clearly Old Testament ceremonial/civil law that we don’t nor should we live under in the present era. Those in our culture that live in darkness constantly misuse those types of laws as they argue for ungodliness in our current culture.

        It is possible (and in fact happens every day) for Christians to reach out in love to our homosexual friends while at the same time oppose a radical political agenda that seeks to create laws that define evil as good.

      • stevestonesr September 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

        Hey Josh,

        I too am a Christian theologian and believe that what Jesus came to do was fulfill the law (all three categories). He did that by teaching his two commandments and then saying that all the law and all the prophets hang under them. In other words, if something in the law or the prophets does not stand up to his test of love, it is no longer relevant for his followers. There are many examples of this that he gives in the gospels. I feel sure you are aware of them.

        I am not one who argues for ungodliness in our culture. Politics are not on my radar at all. I couldn’t be more disintersted in political correctness from the left or the right. I’m spending my life following Jesus into the lives of those who do not know him. There is nothing more godly that meeting him personally and developing your own one in a zillion relationship of love and trust with him. No mere religion of any kind (and to me that especially includes religions that take the name of Jesus while totally excluding his Spirit) can come close to that experience, which the bible calls-salvation.

        Thanks for weighing in.

  5. Linda Rudder August 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    Amen Mike Martin! Gods WORD reveals, if we are obedient to the 1st commandment…there would be more of God’s word here and less justification and rationalization! None are standing on God’s word. (Psalms 118:8-9) God reminds me all the time that my highest thoughts of myself are flawed…pride is ugly…Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” God does not approve when we are walking by ourselves, comfortable in our own petty presumptions, and ignoring His love and truth! Thus ignoring the 1st commandment, reduces the 2nd to people pleasing, political correctness which is suicide! Even Jesus prioritized the commandments when responding to the scribes….concluding that the scribe was close to the kingdom of God for understanding the commandments as Jesus, Himself did.

    If we love God first, His wisdom prevails in carrying out how to love our neighbor. Gods word says in 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. So, we know we do not have to go to bed with someone to prove our love for them. In recovery, God reveals that enabling the alcoholic is a form of selfishness and control (fixing)….and contributes to destruction…and possibly death. If the word is truth as shown in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and we put the love of God before loving our neighbor, then 2 Corinthians 6:14 can not be error. How then do we justify facilitating idolatry to win muslims to Christ? In the heart???? God forbid. Good judgment means we are reading the whole word not taking verses out of context like “love your neighbor, period.” and concluding that loving your neighbor means you will accept the worshipers of a false god into God’s House. Collaborating with idolaters provokes God. This also endangers our lives by rejecting His protection, sharing a golden calf preference! It’s a blatant distrust and lack of faith in a sovereign God; and a false prophesy on God’s ability to accomplish all He has comprised in their Islamic worldly system, not to be confused with mere misguided religious fools.

    When the church goes through a “shaking” you better believe it is God and not man doing the shaking! God says in Rev.19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
    We are to live by faith and not sight standing on the only thing that stands when all around us fails! The WORD and Gospel Truth! 1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV) 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Obediently loving and sharing this truth God alone endorses in our hearts with the 1st commandment so we may emulate the 2nd according to His word….loving and praying for our enemies (idolaters) is the correct response according to Matthew 5:43-44. It is dangerous to try to impress the world with “good works” and God does not want us to impress Him…we simply can’t! The only way we can love Him is as Christ did…obedience to His will….The holy spirit affirms His will in His word. So seek an you shall find the instructions are in His book…you are all in my ceaseless prayers. I am still discerning, all this with my Father IN HIS WORD.
    2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
    2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work….Blessings<3<3<3

    • stevestonesr August 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

      Hey Linda, It’s hard for me to tell just where you are with this. In your earlier post you seemed to be affirming what I wrote and in your response to Mike you seem to be rebuking it. There is no rationalization going on in me. I am standing firm in the teaching of Jesus as the Holy Spirit is guiding me. Jesus is the interpreter of scripture for a Jesus follower. We get to know him and then trust his Spirit to guide us in making decisions. Do you believe it is wrong to eat BBQ and catfish? The Old Testament says it is. Do you believe it’s OK to sever body parts as a form of punishment? The Old Testament says it is. Do you believe it’s alright to have slaves? It is in the some of the New Testament writings. Do you believe there are different rules for church leadership for men and women or do you believe in Christ there is no male nor female? Both are in the New Testament. Isn’t it possible to read the same scripture and come to different conclusions about what is says and how to apply it?

      • Linda Rudder August 24, 2010 at 2:45 am #

        Simply put, in your earlier post, I was agreeing that condemnation was wrong, according to the word, and explained why. In Mike’s post I agreed that folks should be standing on the word and using it alone to discern His righteousness in each stance. In both I agree that God’s word clearly states homosexuality as being wrong…and so do those who have been delivered from it.

        Why is there so much deflecting from the issue of idolatry though?

        Proverbs 3: 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you.
        3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

        God’s Word is infallible, complete, absolute truth–His Word is infinite because He is infinite. The only thing fallible about His Word is our limited ability to understand.His judgment is just even if people don’t understand or agree with it.

        Ephesians 4: 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men,
        by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.

        I will just keep praying and happy to do so. It develops my relationship with Father God and He will provide the answers in time.

  6. Jesse Williams August 25, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    Ya know, in dealing with homosexuality, I have to point out that the Word is clear that there is only one sin that is any greater than any other, that is balsphemy of the Holy Spirit. It is easy for me to point out that this person is wrong for homosexuality because I don’t struggle with it. The same goes for druggies, child abusers and a whole lot of other things. Lets talk about pornography though, whoa there, I don’t want to talk about that, lets talk about being judgemental or having a quick temper and I don’t want to go there either. My point is that nobody goes to hell because of their sin. They go to hell because of their rejection of Jesus. My job is not to judge them for their sin but to love them. Jesus is the ONLY one who can talk because he is the only one without sin. As for me, I’m just thankfull that I’m forgiven as are they.

    • stevestonesr September 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

      So clear, Brother. I am proud of you for getting it and dishing it out so gracefully!

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