Last week when I first heard about a group of people in Sullivan, Indiana wanting to put together a prom apart from the school and not invite any of the homosexual kids in their school I didn’t have time to write a short blog post about it. So I made and uploaded the video below.
I now, however, do have a few minutes in which I would like to explain my reasoning with disagreeing with this group of fellow believers. In doing so I would like to state clearly that I do think that they are operating out of a mind set that they are protecting themselves and their children. Though I disagree with the method of doing so I can share in their idea that as a parent you do want your children protected against the things that you see as bad for them. This however is where my agreement with their idea ends. Below I have outlined three examples that I think shows this clearly.
1. Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19) – Within this text we see a few key things with how Jesus interacts with known sinners. The first is that he acknowledges them. Zacchaeus did not call out to Jesus, He called out to him. Not only does he acknowledge him he then tells him that he is going to go eat with him. We can learn a lot from this short interaction we see in scripture. The most powerful of which is that if we love people like Jesus loves them we will pursue them. Not only will we pursue them but we will bring them into our lives. Jesus does not ever say that Zacchaeus’ sin is acceptable to Him. Nonetheless he goes and eats with him.
2. Jesus and the Sinful Women (Luke 7) – As the story goes a Pharisee invites Jesus to his house. While there a women who is known to be a sinner comes to Jesus and starts washing his feet with some very expensive perfume. In that moment however all the Pharisee can do is think about how bad of a person she is and all the sin she has committed. Jesus however is thinking of her in a different way. He sees her life and her sorrow. He sees that she is sorry for what she has done. He then forgives her of her sins and she goes on her way.
Admittedly most of the homosexuals in the Sullivan community are not going to go to a church supported prom and ask that they be forgiven of their sins. However there are a lot of people that have questions about their identity as well as their sexuality that, if given the chance, would listen to someone explain how Jesus forgives sin. The problem is rarely that people don’t want forgiven. It usually has to do with a moment in their lives were religious people in their lives, much like the Pharisee, looked only at their sin instead of seeing their potential in Christ. Jesus looks at us in love not condemnation. In saying that let me be clear. He doesn’t accept our sin as an acceptable part of us. He looks at us in love knowing that by his grace we are healed and regenerated.
3.Jesus and Reputation – Luke 7:34 – Though this verse is very vague we can take from it that Jesus had a reputation for being around sinners. He hung around them so much and even on their turf that he was accused of being their friend (gasp) as well as being a drunkard because of where they hung out.
I think we should be careful about where we go and be even more discerning about why we are doing it. However when we do become clear on both our motivation and goals we are free in Christ to pursue sinners like Jesus pursues us. If we do so it is likely that we will be called “the friend of sinners” and other such things by our fellow Christians.
My point in all of this is that we can separate ourselves from the world in holes that we won’t be effected by it. Jesus is our protection and our strength not our separation and avoidance. We are to meet them on their turf not them on ours. Anything less is a misunderstanding of a part of the Gospel.