Monday, August 30, 2010
The Golden Rule, 2.0
Never start a conversation with a person you have not spoken to in twenty years, when they were fifteen, with; “You're an atheist? What the hell? Have you lost your mind?” This recently happened to one of my brothers when a well meaning childhood friend of ours discovered his decision to stop practicing Christianity on Face Book and posted the above on his wall. Mild obscenity aside, this question sparked no debate, or meaningful rekindling of an old friendship which may have led to the opportunity to speak into someone's life. It inspired one thing; a “click” on the mouse as my brother de-friended him.
We have all heard the old saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. I personally have eradicated it from my vocabulary and am working on erasing it from my thinking as well. I found that focusing on the “hate the sin” part was distracting me from the “love the sinner part”. This was brought home to me when I recently watched the first season of “Survivor” again and noticed that while I had despised the infamous Richard Hatch, (the first winner, for the uninitiated) during the run of the program, his actions looked much different to me now. I said as much to my wife and the first words out of her mouth were profound, “I think it must have been because he was gay.” At first I chuckled, but that bothered me later.
Now, let me explain something; I do believe that any type of sex outside of marriage is against God's law, homosexuality included. I will take one step further and say that I believe that that particular sexual proclivity is forbidden in scripture and is always sin, regardless of the commitment between the two parties. However, I also think that when Jesus said, “Be careful when you judge...for the same judgment you dish out, will come back to you.” (paraphrasing of course, although I know for a fact that he didn't say it in the king's best English either) that he meant this: If you feel burdened to start every conversation with a known “sinner” by revealing that God hates their sin, or even if you are being their “friend” while biding your time, waiting for the precise right opportunity to reveal this liberating bit of information, which you are sure of course will reduce them to a ball of blubbering repentance and lead them to a life of holiness that may even rival your own, you should think twice.
Homosexuality is sin, so is: the magazine taped under your bedside table drawer, the website you think nobody knows you are on and the bottle inside your toilet tank. It is no more sin than watching a movie that helps you entertain thoughts you don't need, singing along to that song on your Ipod when no one is listening and engaging in the conversation that starts with, “You didn't hear it from me, but...”. Not to mention calling what plays on top 40 radio these days music. Way back in the good ole days of the 80's we had songs that described sex in obscure, poetic metaphorical language, instead of the vulgar, crass, clinical descriptions they use today. (with a few notable exceptions such as “I Want Your Sex”) Or, how about the blatant lack of artistry in such lyrics as “My life would suck without you” or “just like a tattoo, I'll always have you” (although the second is, technically, a metaphor, I suppose). My point being: these are crimes against society, at least, if not technically sin.
We seem to have forgotten the golden rule “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” We have substituted our own wording: “Do unto others of equal economic status, like minded political affiliations and a level of acceptable righteousness in their personal moral behavior, as you would have them do unto you, and condemn the rest for what they are! Expose their sin, to save their souls, of course, and warn everyone of the danger they represent to prevent further decay in our holy society.”
Wow! That last bit sounds just like Jesus, don't you think?