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Now What?

Tuesday, Maryland and Maine became the first two states in the U.S. to legalize homosexual marriage by a vote of the people.

I’m among the 48% of Marylanders who voted against same-sex marriage, and today I’m grieving. Rightly so.

If you feel the same sadness, you might be tempted, as many are right now, to focus on what went wrong, to blame, to complain.

There’s a better response.

Let the eyes of Christ, which are “like a flame of fire” (Rev. 1:14) look upon you and expose you. We have contributed. And don’t despair. There is much we can do. Here are three ideas to start:

1.       In humility, repent of your own sin, including any past or present sexual sins. Confess everything. Confess the ways you’ve compromised or contributed to the sexual darkness over our land. Make a beeline to the Cross. Bring as many people as you can. Get clean.

2.       See people (not enemies) among those who support same-sex marriage and those who marry another of the same sex. Ask Jesus to heal your eyes to see men and women who are simply pursuing the best they’ve known. And ask Him to transform you to love with the self-sacrificing love He revealed on the Cross.

3.       Make room in your life and in your church for those seeking to follow Christ even as they wrestle with homosexual temptations. Increasingly, they face physical and spiritual pressures from without and from within. If there is no refuge for them in the church, no allies willing to walk alongside them, no families for them to join, where will they go? What are their odds? They are a noble few and you should be honored if they are counted among you.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance ,but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13 – 16).

Question: What’s one step forward you’re going to take? Leave a comment below.

Forward!
Josh

 

14 thoughts on “Now What?”

  1. I am going to follow Jesus with his love toward these who suffer from the darkness. I have a desire to see Jesus in each of us. It is important to remember that Jesus is crucified in each of us. This truth about Jesus who is in each of us was beautifully revealed in work and life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Thank you Josh for all your work and the service you are providing. God bless you and your family and friends.
    Sabina

  2. Josh, I miss you brother. While I am out of the normal loop, I try my best to read your blog/newsletters. Thanks for your hard work this season to fight the good fight. I too am sad. Sad about my own sin. Sad about my State and sad for my nation. Sad about the fact that the longer I live, the more I realize how much more broken all of us (the world) really are than I first thought. And tomorrow, I will learn that I am more broken than today. And the cycle continues and leads to hopelessness, discouragement, falling to temptation, etc. But in that same simultaneous moment as I realize the degree of brokenness, I realize the degree of hope that I (we) have in the radically transformational power of Christ.

    Thanks for taking the time here again to remind us not to feel defeated, but remind ourselves and one another to pursue Micah 6:8 – act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. We often read these words exclusively. I think we ought to (and your blog effectively reinforces this) read and live these words SIMULTANEOUSLY. How can I embrace the truth of God’s word and its prohibition against homosexuality, while simultaneously exercising mercy and auguring out a petrified redwood out of my own eye? How can I love the sinner and hate the sin?

    Hard work, which is why most of us fail. But if the calling and the Gospel’s standard and Christ’s own words are for me to love my enemy (pretty high bar), then surely I can love those who are misguided and have unhealthy affinities. But, wait a minute! I have unhealthy affinities too! So who in the “hades” do I think I am to denigrate and malign those who struggle in other ways!

    You see how our brokenness reaches down to our very core and we cannot free ourselves from this spiritual cataracts in this life? We fight, kick, scream our way through life trying to undo the curse of sin. And then we sin trying to not sin (shake my head). I pray that collectively we as believers speak and act out of a radically transformed heart, recognizing that “all have sinned and gone astray, each one to his own way”. But Isaiah doesn’t stop there. “And the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” Wow. We all choose different ways, different sins. When will we realize this as a community of believers? When will we act honorably, with nobility, with wisdom towards our unbelieving friends and lost brothers and sisters? Let us choose to start this day.

    Josh, you are a small voice in the wilderness. Keep crying out the truth of the Gospel. Keep reminding us to love God first, and our fellow man. That is the entire Gospel.

    Joey

  3. My step forward is going to be to heal from the derision of this election and work with anyone i can to make this country a better place. I’m thankful our state has moved in the direction of love and temperance towards one another. Regeneration taught me to love one another in healthy ways, and give to Jesus what we can’t do on our own. Jesus said he will fix people who need fixing (Matt 9:12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.)

    Actively legislating discrimination, when humans have an inherent right to make their own decisions, is morally and (in my humble opinion) theologically wrong. We are Christian men so we are indeed called to do our best to lead our peers to God’s Word, but it’s not our government’s place to legislate it.

    PS – I left Regen a year ago after a year there and will always be thankful for you and the men in my small group. Thank you Josh,

    1. Hi Nate, good to hear from you. I’m glad you’re doing what you can to work with others to make our country a better place.

      I have to take issue with you, however, that Question 6 would have legislated discrimination. Marriage, by definition, is exclusive and has never in the history of mankind been granted to any two individuals. Even the wording of Question 6 recognizes this, as it points out that it only extends to those who are not otherwise legally prohibited from marrying. Moreover, it is not descriminatory to limit some rights to only some people. We do this all the time: you must have a hunting license to hunt, you have to be 18 to vote and 21 to drink alcohol, men are not allowed in the women’s bathroom, those without cars are not allowed to travel on the beltway. Marriage between one man and one woman was not a discriminatory law. It simply recognized that there are differences between men and women that matter.

  4. I am praying for our country and for the homosexuals. My soul is in distress over what has happened in our state, and Maine, that the voters themselves have approved this. I am in distress over this election in general. I don’t know very many homosexuals, but I am going to study the verses in the Bible that relate to the subject, memorize them, and produce them when the chance comes. Out of love I will try to witness to them so that maybe they will change their minds and their ways. Do you have any suggestions on what else I can do?

  5. “If you feel the same sadness, you might be tempted, as many are right now, to focus on what went wrong, to blame, to complain.”

    Josh, in your effort to bring “toleration” to this important, difficult and volatile issue of same sex marriage; is it not still discriminatory to those whose vocation or church position is the ability to concern themselves with these public square issues and address the institutes and individuals at these levels?

    In essence, as someone who focuses on what went wrong, and provides constructive complaining, this does not make me hateful or intolerant or less a part of the Christian effort in the worldview ideas regarding same –sex marriage. Josh, respectfully, your above statement is intolerant of those who think, reason, argue and dialogue on behalf of our Christian worldview ideas. I don’t believe on purpose… but while commendably trying to display tolerance to one group our church has become intolerant to another.

    I think conversations involving the separation of individual efforts (counseling) and institutional persuasion (public square) helps clarify what toleration is and how often these two aspects in the moral area’s are put under the same “approach” umbrella.

    – Faith seeks understanding not toleration or empty love – I’m sure Anselm would agree.

    1. Mark, I see and appreciate what you are trying to say. After reading and re-reading both your comment and Josh’s blog, I think that you both are saying very similar things; that is, we ought to preach the Gospel without deviating from its fundamental truths, but we ought to do it in love.

      While I can’t speak for Josh, it seems to me that he is not saying our posture should be, “Pshhh, I guess I now have to put up with these weirdos and try an love on them even though I really don’t feel comfortable”. This statement goes beyond intonations of tolerance. Rather, I think Josh is taking time post-election-post-mortem to reinforce the native and instinctive reaction to such matters by most people. People often over-react when circumstances don’t pan out the way they had envisioned.

      Knowing Josh, he is most definitely not silent in the public arena when it comes to morally deviant behavior. But, I believe Josh, like you, should continue to ascertain what went wrong, but do so in a measured, patient, firm, honest, and – ready? – tolerant way. Not a passive or ignorant tolerance, but a heart-level-accepting and inclusive tolerance. Perhaps semantics. When Jesus dined with sinners, he supernaturally expressed a hate for sin and a tolerance simultaneously. How could this be? Surely, the conversations and the preaching and teaching of God’s word must continue with perverting its truth.

      I suppose the caution here is that there does come a point in time when our hyper-sensitivity to the homosexual community begins to hand-cuff our ability to speak the truth. The solution? I must use my favorite and most-hated word in the English language: BALANCE.

  6. Hi Josh, As someone who does not believe in same-sex marriage and did not vote in favor, I do understand first hand the same struggles of same sex partnership on a personal level.
    Sin is legal in America and everywhere. Changing the status (legalizing) of the sin is not necessarily going to have a multiplicative effect on the abundance of the sinning. The issue is the definition of the word “marriage”. It is a Christian institution for one man and one woman. To have the state involved in it’s definition brings into play the age old debate over the separation of church and state.
    Although I am disappointed with the election in general, I am not going to complain or be discouraged. The step forward I am taking is to stride in the empowerment that God is aware and in control of our government and our world on every level. This didn’t suprise God. His love is not limited by our laws or distracted from His design because of our culture, and neither should we.

  7. I was one of the large minority of Washington state folks who voted against a similar re-definition of marriage in this election. I have been cautionsly open and vulnerable about the healing Christ has given me from acting out, and the healing from same sex desire that is still in process. I wish I had been more open. Psalm 107 gives 4 vivid examples of the redeemed “saying so”–in public. That’s convicting–and encouraging!
    The core principle seems to me to be that Homosexuality is NOT genetic, and that 1 Cor 6:9 works gloriously when I cooperate. Dan Davis

  8. I am going to fight for my soul and for the ones I love dearly. I am gay. As long as I love as God loves everyone and have faith, then my soul is saved.

    You can have your beliefs. But as long as you continue to put them out there for the world to see, I will be here, telling you that Jesus loves me just the way I am.

    1. Mel, thanks for posting. Although we disagree on some points, we do not disagree that Jesus loves you just the way you are. Christ’s death on the cross is ample evidence of that. And it is also evidence that none of us are right before God just as we are. We need atonement. We need new life.

  9. Respect for Authority
    Romans 13:1-2
    13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.

    Dear Josh,
    I was so depressed Wednesday morning after the elections that I considered not going to work. My wife repeated what our pastor stated during his message, “What God might be Saying to Us on this Pre-Election Sunday?” He said, “Our HOPE comes from the LORD and not in our elected officials.”
    “We have bad laws because of unrighteousness. Only another righteous wave of GOD will SAVE OUR NATION.”
    I did go to work and was able to help console others who were also discouraged about the election results.
    Thank you for what you and Regeneration do. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with sexal addictions and same sex attractions. Maryland is too far of a weekly commute from Florida so I go to a Celebrate Recovery in my town.

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