(Today’s guest post comes from my good friend, D.H. Coleson. His writing is strong, unabashed, and probably really uncomfortable. But we’d be remiss to ignore it. Enjoy!)
I’m not that into cussing for a couple of reasons. 1) I’m a pastor, which makes things really awkward around grandmas and parents of small children, and 2) I think I’m intelligent enough to express my anger/frustration without using curse words. However, there are rare occasions where I will say a curse word intentionally for effect and, because I am a pastor, the intention is usually to shock someone into paying attention.
This is one of those cases and the word is asshole.
Asshole is defined by dictionary.com as “a stupid, mean or contemptible person.”
Now, that we have gotten that out of the way, I will explain why I desire to use such a word to express my feelings about a particular group of people doing a particular thing.
The group of people: Christians (not all, but a pretty good chunk of ‘em).
The context: the treatment of homosexuals and the recent law allowing them to marry.
Now, I work in an evangelical, non-denominational church in the heart of our country. It is an understatement to say they are conservative, so I hear a lot about this. I love my church and I love the people in my church, but there are some statements that are made by conservatives regarding this issue that need to be addressed, and I’m afraid the only way it can be heard is if I use language that is shocking.
Now, my fellow believer who claims the title conservative, I want you to know I’m not what you would call “conservative.” Yet, I’m also not “liberal” as you may be tempted to call me. What am I? I’m an anomaly. I consider myself to be something in between. Why? I don’t agree with everything conservative, but I also don’t agree with everything liberal. I don’t treat all issues as black and white, because they’re not.
Conservatives view homosexuals and the recent law that was passed as a wrong that needs to be righted. This is black and white thinking.
I, however, don’t really care about the law because the Kingdom of God doesn’t stop being the Kingdom because the good ol’ USA decides homosexuals can marry.
We can disagree on this. I’m okay with that. I can work alongside and witness with people who disagree with that. What I’m not okay with is statements like the following:
“We need to be careful as a nation, and win it back for Christ, or God will send judgment on us for our rampant immorality.”
“The government is trying to take my freedom! Let’s petition the antichrist Obama and get him kicked out of office and take back this country for God.”
“Our country was founded on Christian principles, we need to win back this country for God or we are going to be judged!”
And when pressed, “winning back this country for God” translates into: Christians are allowed to say and do whatever they want and “immoral people” (which right now refers to homosexuals) are to be shamed, belittled, and marginalized. After all, this is a “free” country founded on “Christian” principles and if Christians are not allowed to pass laws in their favor, say what they please, refuse service to whom they please, and slander whom they please then Christians are no longer “free” and God will judge this nation.
And that last statement is what I want to focus on.
God’s judgment is going to come because homosexual are allowed to marry?
Do you not realize how incredibly arrogant that statement sounds? Do you think you are so holy, that you have such an in with God, that you get to determine what God will and will not judge people for, and when? Since when in the history of ever have human beings held the authority to tell non-godly people, without direct revelation from God, that they will be judged?
Are you a prophet? Does God speak directly to you? Where are you getting this authority to pronounce judgment?
For crying out loud, even Jesus refused to cast condemning judgment on people! Yet, you have the authority? Yes, Jesus does use harsh language toward the Pharisees in Mt 23:13-24; Lk 6:24-26; 11:37-52, and some would view these interactions as condemning. However, I don’t. It would seem more in line with Jesus’ character to seek a means of drawing the Pharisees toward repentance (because God desires all to be saved). He was using harsh language in a similar manner to how I am using harsh language to wake up a group of people who considered themselves “righteous” enough to look down upon or judge “sinners.” Will you fall into the same frame of mind as the Pharisees, righteous enough to reject a savior who associates with sinners, or do you consider yourself one of those sinner Jesus came to extend grace towards?
We have been blessed with the freedom to worship and serve God however we want in this country, and what do you use your freedom for?
You are using your freedom to be an asshole (there’s the word!) and last time I checked, asshole is not a description of a disciple of Jesus Christ!
You are literally shutting the door of the Kingdom of God in people’s faces and making it really hard for anyone else to share the love of Christ with people.
Why? Because when you make statements that God’s judgment is going to come down on the USA because of sinful people like homosexuals you are being an asshole.
In fact, anytime you pronounce judgment you’re being an asshole. Why, because judgment is not the gospel.
Let me say it again: judgment is NOT the gospel.
What’s the gospel?
Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:1-3…
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved… that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”
So, I echo Paul’s words to you. Do you know what gospel saves you? Do you know what the good news is?
Christ has died for our sins.
And do you know why that’s good?
In Christ, our sins are not counted against us.
So, now that your sins are not counted against you, my fellow believer, what is it that God requires of you?
To judge the world? To get our government to legislate morality? To create more and more laws to keep sinners for sinning?
Nope, it goes like this: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn 13:34-35).
Those are the words of the one you claim as Lord and the definitive characteristic he asks you, his disciple, to emulate is for you to be a loving person, not a stupid, mean, or contemptible person.
Therefore, for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, stop being an asshole and love like Jesus. If that’s too hard for you (and I’m not saying this in spite, but as a spiritual leader and mentor) maybe you should close your mouth and let those who can speak love be the voice of Jesus, and you can share your opinions with a loving mentor behind closed doors.