Sin and Culture


Ever since the whole Chick-Fil-A, free speech, gay marriage debate blew up a few weeks ago, I've been wanting to post a few thoughts. 

I have strong feelings about the issue, but I don't want to be political. I want to be biblical. 

Sometimes the American church jumps on a bandwagon or a cause so quickly that I wonder if anyone stops to consider the implications of the jump. This may be one of those times. 

The Bible does have a lot to say about homosexuality. The clearest passage on the topic is Romans 1. This passage talks of God "giving people over" to sinful desires, shameful lusts and a depraved mind. Why? Because it's what the people wanted. "For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Read the entire passage. It's dark. It's bleak. It could be applied to the world we live in today without much of a stretch. 

This got me thinking about Sodom. Remember Sodom in the Old Testament? Go back to Genesis 19. Two angels - who looked like men - came to Sodom to rescue Lot from the coming destruction. The local men from Sodom nearly bang down Lot's door as they sought the visiting men. Why? Verse 5 tells us, "Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them." As if this isn't bad enough, verse 4 explains further that this mob of men included ALL the men of the city, both YOUNG and OLD! It sounds like homosexuality was a big problem in Sodom. And God did judge Sodom severely for their sin. Was it homosexuality alone that brought down His wrath? Hmmm.

If I were judging Sodom, I might put homosexuality on the top of their list of sins. Somehow this sin seems so much bigger and worse than other sins. 

Isn't it interesting how we tend to rank sins? Some are worse. Others, like a little white lie, aren't so bad. Some deserve judgement while others can be overlooked. Reminds me of a book I taught on last year called "Respectable Sins" which dealt with this very thing - how there are some sins in our culture which have become acceptable or even respectable. 

So this could be the end of the lesson and unfortunately for many, this is where it ends. Homosexuality is wrong and sinful. I can be thankful I'm not gay. I can point the finger at all those sinful folks and be glad I'm not one of them. End of story.

Well, there's a little chapter tucked away in the little-known book of Ezekiel that blew my judgmental soap box apart. Read Ezekiel 16, especially verses 43-63. Did you notice verse 49? It clearly states: "This was the sin of your sister Sodom - she and her daughters were ARROGANT, OVERFED and UNCONCERNED; they did not help the poor and needy." Whoa! Of all the sin that was taking place in Sodom - including homosexual behavior - God is listing these 3 as their primary issues?! 

Do you find this convicting? I sure do! 

I live in America. If any nation on earth could be described as ARROGANT, OVERFED and UNCONCERNED... it is us! 

And to our shame, the American church is holding the culture's hand on this. The American church is in many ways ARROGANT. The American church in many ways is OVERFED. The American church in many ways is UNCONCERNED.

And to bring it home even more, I admit that I am in many ways ARROGANT, OVERFED and UNCONCERNED. 

Lord, we ask for your mercy on us as a nation, as a church, and as individuals. We do not deserve blessing. We deserve wrath. We walk in arrogance. We are overfed. We are unconcerned about the poor, the needy, or frankly anybody besides ourselves. Forgive us, Lord. We are no better than any other sinners. The only hope for them or us... is You! Jesus, you are the only hope of rescue from sin, rescue from ourselves, rescue from eternal wrath and destruction. Thank You for loving us despite our sin. Thank you for demonstrating Your love for us even when we were still sinners, still lost. You poured out love on us. Thank You for that love and grace. Enable us to then show such love and grace for others, who remain lost in their sin. May they one day come to Your Kingdom because they have experienced Your great love, shown through others... and maybe even shown through me. Amen.


Heather said...

Interesting thoughts. I do think it is interesting that *church* puts so much emphasis on the types of sin, instead of acknowledging that God sees all sin as the same. I guess it is hard to wrap your head around that the little white lie you told your children is actually the same as someone murdering someone else. I feel like there is so much hatred and animosity between groups of people, it is very unfortunate. I don't agree with a lot of different people, but I try to be open enough to show love even if I don't agree.

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