Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Though Misunderstood

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5.10

No Compromises

The 1966 film, A Man for All Seasons, tells the fascinating story of Thomas More. A staunch believer, he adamantly opposed Henry VIII’s divorcing his first wife, Catherine, to marry Anne Boleyn on (correct) scriptural grounds of adultery. After the Pope outlawed the new marriage, Henry declared himself head of the Church of England, and More refused to compromise by submitting to the king’s religious authority. It landed him in the Tower, ultimately costing his life.

A Man for All Seasons: More (Paul Scofield) answers his accusers.

I pray none of us ever faces a similarly dangerous dilemma. Yet I also know we all confront situations where we must choose between our convictions and our convenience. In some cases, what’s right will make things go wrong for us, while what’s wrong will make things go right. From what we see, it’s more sensible to compromise. But faith says there’s more to it than meets the eye.

What’s the Big Deal?

As GLBT Christians, we know God designed us, He created us, and He accepts us as we are—sexual orientation included. Why does this torment so many fellow believers? It would seem they’d be the first to support us, given the alternative of living for our own pleasure rather than pleasing our Maker. Sadly, that’s not how many of them feel. Chagrined, we ask, “What’s the big deal?

It’s not that we don’t understand why they act toward us as they do. They’re afraid they’ll dishonor God by embracing what they’ve been taught He hates. Caution about disobedience is something every Christian can relate to. But it’s perplexing is why they don’t—or won’t—understand our desire to follow Jesus. On this matter, there’s no room or reason for compromise. We’re going on His word: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6.37).

Misunderstanding Breeds Mistreatment

Our habit always has been to attack what we can’t understand. Cain killed Abel; he couldn’t figure out why God preferred his brother’s offerings to his. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery; they couldn’t rationalize why he was the Daddy’s boy. Rulers crucified Jesus because they didn’t get His message.

But let’s watch these stories end. The persecutors always wind up singing “Who’s Sorry Now?” God gets in the mix and heaven’s laws overturn man’s ideas. When we withstand pressure to compromise, we see what’s going to happen, not what’s happening now. Because we don’t like being attacked doesn’t prevent us from being happy though misunderstood.

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