Bob Russell’s article “Should You Attend A Friend’s Same Sex Marriage Ceremony” considers the same line in the sand that I have concluded as the strongest argument and scripture to apply to a decision to go or not..
“Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.”
Romans 1:32 AMP
I am still praying about where is the line between love, condoning sin, taking a stand on principles, being obedient to the Word? We cannot condone sin hoping that it is somehow showing love. Love leads people to Jesus, not to sin. God help me to discern this!
I arrived at this viewpoint after very deep prayer and personal discussions with people I consider brothers and elders in the faith. It has proven a very tough conversation for them as well and the answers have varied. Nobody wants to alienate people they care about. This is heart wrenching for all involved in this decision.
I think Bob’s letter to his gay friend falls a little short of the possibilities of what more could be done if the couple, one or both of them, are believers. His letter is a great starting point if both of the couple are pre-believers.
Thinking back to where I was in my gay relationship for instance, I was intimately in love and I would have married the man had marriage been legal then. Taking that as the context for a letter, what would the contents need to speak to in order to persuade me, bring me back into the light? What would I today hope to tell myself then? What would I have wanted my fellow brothers and sisters in the faith say should I have been hypothetically inviting all my friends to my gay wedding?
I propose this situation because that is what the verse implies or says ‘to do unto others what you would have them do unto you.’ (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31) So in that sense I temper my forthcoming response in how I would hope people would have responded to me in this proposed situation.
Knowing that I am a Christian, I would approach the issue as a Christian brother. Knowing I am not an unbeliever the argument holds merit as I know I had the Holy Spirit inside me burning a flame that wanted to be holy and set free. Had I been an unbeliever, this would not work as you probably could not have appealed to my choices using scripture and biblical truths, per se, as one would assume an unbeliever puts no weight in the scripture at the point of getting married. Thank God that was not where I was at the time. (Although God knows someone may have an open door right then and there and the couple could have a revelation of Jesus. I’m not discounting that.)
Contents of the letter to myself
I would implore my past self to reconsider rebelling against God’s sacrament of marriage and purpose for my life. I would encourage myself as a man of God, reminding me that Jesus died and rose from the dead to set me free from sin- including the gay lifestyle. That while I don’t have the revelation yet, God’s grace is powerful and there is power to be set free. That sexual sin, sexual attractions do not define you, God’s word defines you. That a brother will come along side me and support me through my upcoming very hard journey to freedom. That the brother and Jesus will be there and never let me go. That the cross to bear comes with a weight, but even Jesus had someone help him carry the cross, and so they would come along side me in this journey to help me. That a wife and Children will show the true nature and character of God. That my role as husband and father would show the male identity God had intended for me and that it would be more amazing than I could ever imagine.
I would want my Christian friends to try their hardest to correct me with wisdom and love, to remind me of the truths I first believed as a Christian before I lost my hope. Before I gave up, gave in, to what I knew inside wasn’t right, but I didn’t have any other answers. I know the pleas and tears the shed while holding my hands in discussion are authentic. I hope for my sake my heart is softened and hope returns, faith returns.
I know that by my friends not participating in this supposed marriage they are honoring God by putting God before our friendship. I believe they are showing what their love of God costs them. Putting God first is authentic love. Sharing in compassion the conflict in their heart between loving me and loving God, without attacking me, is love. I know they cannot go against their convictions and that is honorable and makes their words carry that much more weight. Their absolute belief in Gods truth about who I am in Christ and what Marriage is becomes a testimony to me, and God willing softens my heart. I would hope that by taking a stand out of love, my heart would receive their love and I would turn away from the potential spiritual prison sentence of gay marriage. Their efforts, and my choice, would turn me away from wrath to life.
I hope for my sake I receive their love, admonishment, correction, and that the conviction is strong to move me to faithful action.
But what if the choice to choose darkness? Then what do my friends do? God help me should I reject them, they should know I respect them but have chosen to reject Christ and go my way in gay marriage. Their hearts may be heavy at that point, but their hands are clean and I, with a hardened heart, absolve them of their duties to witness to me. God help me not to die a spiritual death as I go further into darkness. Their role now is to pray that God brings me to a place again where I can receive the truth, before the time is too late.