When Tim Tebow was invited to speak at the inauguration of the new facility of First Baptist Church, I’m sure that he had no idea that he was going to find himself in a firestorm of controversy because the church’s pastor had made some very strong statements about the sinfulness of homosexual actions. When Louie Giglio was asked to pray at President Obama’s second inaugural, it almost certainly never entered his mind that almost twenty years earlier he had preached a message in which he said that homosexuality, along with other actions, is sinful, and that “the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle is through the healing power of Jesus.” This, as the Inauguration Committee made it clear, contradicted “this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”
Both Tebow and Giglio chose to withdraw from these events rather than stay in the center of a media storm. But both events highlight the tectonic moral shift that is reshaping our country’s understanding of morals and marriage. With the power of the media, the entertainment industry, and now the office of the Presidency bearing down on the issue, there is no way to avoid it, and Christ-followers who insist on clinging to biblical values increasingly find themselves marginalized and even demonized.
There’s no way to turn back the clock on issues like this, so that it will just all go away. And, tempting as it is to lash back, for Christians to demonize those with whom they differ, or to retaliate with hatred, name-calling and demeaning behavior is clearly contrary to the way of Christ. But neither are we given the luxury of silence. As the campaign for the normalization and endorsement of homosexual lifestyles and marriages reaches ground level in our schools and work places, we will find ourselves in situations we may not choose but which we cannot avoid. It is always tempting to go along so we can get along. But loyalty to Christ and love for our neighbor, which means that we believe a biblical view of sexuality is not only right, but wise, health-giving and life-affirming, means that we must learn how to speak the truth in love.
Wise Christians are the first to recognize their own sins, and to admit that there is much in their lifestyles that offends God. We come to this kind of issue as sinners, needing the grace of God. But grace lives together with truth in Christ, and we need to think carefully, proactively and strategically about how we will speak truthfully and lovingly to our children, confused as they are by the cultural barrage, and to others, to whom we represent Christ. And it means a willingness to take it on the chin at times, to be misrepresented and misunderstood, because we are determined to be loyal to our King.