|It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.|
Radical Muslims slaughtered 148 Christians in Kenya a few days ago. Timing it ironically or purposely during one of our most revered holidays, Holy Week! According to statistics from Open Doors, USA, a reporting agency for Christian persecution worldwide this is only the beginning. Persecution doubled in 2013 from previous years.
Praise God! Our Sunday services haven't been interrupted yet with anything of this magnitude or devastation, but can America, be that far behind? This has me thinking and perhaps you too. What price am I wiling to pay to exercise my liberties in Christ? Exactly, how far should I go to insure that both my civil and religious rights are preserved? When have I crossed the line into discrimination, the same kind that Blacks so valiantly fought against? How can I practice the law of love (love the sinner but not the sin) in practical ways? This post won't answer those questions for you but perhaps it will make you think!
If you're like me, education is needed from some reliable and truthful sources as to what those rights actually are... on both sides. As black people we know how it feels to have the law used for immoral and illegal purposes. So, I don't think you can find that truth in the media. Too many opinions from people with a dog in the race. Also, you can't count out the influence of special interest groups that are powerfully organized and have the money and means to push their agenda using everything at their disposal to do it !
Case in point is all the brouhaha over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that Indiana and Arkansas are wrestling with. It's making for some confusing talk all the way around! Is it just about the language of this bill or is something else happening? Whose rights are being protected--Bible believing Christians or those using it to open the door for a number of other issues they want legal sanctioning for?
I've had brief conversations with several Christians, all sincere, godly, and adherents of the Word who still don't know which side to take! I'm having less of a struggle. Not in regard to God's stance on the issues of what constitutes sinful behavior but as to the degree of my own social and legal compliance should it come to that. I am earnestly examining this issue in terms of what the
Bible teaches in three verses: Matthew 7:12, I Peter 2:13-17 and Mark 12:17. (This week I'll focus on Matthew 7:12)
- Matthew 7:12 (NIV) So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The writer James reiterates the necessity of putting real faith into practice (James 2:15-17). So unless you're boasting of dead works, if I'm a Christian business restaurant owner and a homosexual couple sits down to be served, I'm going to serve them with the same respect as any other couple. But they in turn would be responsible to abide by any rules or conduct I have for my other customers. I would not discriminate.
On Sunday morning, if a transexual took a seat next to me on my favorite pew, would I get up and move? Treat them rudely during Share the Joy time or in other ways make them feel marginalized as a human? Absolutely not! But if I was preaching would I change my sermon points to assure that I didn't step on his toes or back pedal on any bible truth? Not a chance! Christ's message of love through the redeeming grace of the Gospel would still come forth and if the brother walked the aisle, I'd be the first to shake his hand and lead him to Christ!
**I must add that this was not the African American's experience in similar situations during our fight for Civil Rights!
These are the finer points of Christian Freedom that we must consider. These are my thoughts. I'd love to hear what yours are! (See the Comments Section below)