This week the Supreme Court, for all intents and purposes, validated same-sex marriages. This was announced the day after parliamentary procedure was exercised in Texas to prevent the passage of a bill that would likely eliminate the majority of abortion clinics in Texas. While we haven’t seen the last of that abortion bill, the trending demographics in Texas suggest that even a conservative victory will be short-lived.
In Mark 10, a young man approached Jesus asking what he needed to do in order to receive eternal life. Jesus told reminds him of the laws (do not kill, honor your parents, etc.) and the young man says, “I”ve obeyed those commandments since I was a child.” Then Jesus cuts to the chase, looking right into the heart of the man while “loving him”, and says, “You are missing one thing . . . Go and sell everything you have. Give the money to those who are poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”
The rules were followed and the laws obeyed, yet Jesus was not taking the bait to be distracted by performance. He looked beyond the behaviors to the heart. He did this, according to Scripture, while “loving” the young man He was speaking to. While looking into the heart of the man, Jesus delivered the Gospel. There was not condemnation in His discourse, just a simple message, delivered in love, of what salvation looks like. It looks like allowing Him to look into our hearts for the things we hold more valuable than Him, getting rid of those idols and following Him in relationship. That was as true for the rich, young man as much as it is true for us today.
There will have to come a point where the American church chooses to emulate the engagement model of Jesus. We’ll need to choose loving relationships which are not compromising on the Truth while also not condemning to invite people into the Kingdom. We’ll need to get past the scorecard of laws (which we are losing) and begin to engage the hearts of our culture.
Our nation has idolized individual privilege and rights beyond any boundaries of Bible based morality. That idolatry has manifested in our laws and the momentum is moving away from absolute Truth, not towards it. There have been, and will be, consequences for these choices.
Different laws or better arguments won’t turn the tide. “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” That’s what it’s going to take.