If you're not familiar with the name Jason Collins, you may be soon. Collins became the first active athlete in a major American team sport (Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey) to "come out" as openly gay. You can find the ESPN column about it here. If you check out that story or Twitter, you'll find that there has been an outpouring of support for him. You'll find words like respect, support, proud, happy, courage, leadership, etc. It's almost enough to make a person feel misguided or guilty for thinking somewhat differently about the subject. You might have guessed that I do think differently, but please don't stop reading there and write me off as a bigot.
Would you believe me if I told you that even though I believe homosexuality is a sin, that I would gladly welcome Jason Collins if he showed up at our church? I would. Would you believe me if I told you I had a friendly exchange with a lesbian today? I did. Would you believe me if I told you I don't hate gays? I don't.
Yet I can't celebrate someone coming out unless it is a different kind of coming out. You see, every day Christians own our sin as well. But we shouldn't own it as a badge of courage or pride. I struggle with self-centeredness and pride and lust and impatience. I don't tell you that to show you how content I am with who I am or to find acceptance with a community of similar sinners. We acknowledge and confess our disobedience to God as something from which we must find forgiveness and turn away. That's why I'm no better than Jason Collins or any other homosexual or other kind of sinner. I'm a sinner too. I too need God's grace and the forgiveness that only comes through Christ. So if Jason came to our church, I would call him to confess and repent just like I seek to do for others who continue in their disobedience and don't repent. I would point him to the marvelous Savior, Jesus, as I seek to do for all who worship with us each Sunday. I would seek to show him the freedom that comes with knowing and loving and trusting God.
I don't doubt that it took courage for Jason Collins to do what he did. But it would take even more for him to "come out" in repentance and faith.
The Sure Savior for Troubled Times
Sin spoils everything. So we live in a fallen world where creation is groaning and we see it in natural disasters. We live in a fallen world where people are not flawless and make mistakes, so there are (apparently) accidental fires and explosions in fertilizer plants. We live in a fallen world where evil people intentionally do evil things like plant and detonate bombs at marathons. That means we need Jesus who came to redeem his people and this world from sin and its tragic consequences. Our hope is in Christ alone whether mourning our own sin or sin's ugly effects in the world around us. Is he your hope? Do you have a Rock on which to stand when the ground all around you is giving way and the accuser comes after you? Here are some scriptures that come to mind in light of recent events. May the sword of the Spirit do its work in our hearts pointing us to our Savior and bringing us to the end of ourselves.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies...What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:20-23,31-32; 38-39
Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. - Luke 13:4-5
Let us pray for those affected in recent tragedies (here are some helpful thoughts on how to do that from Pastor Andy Lutz); let's mourn and repent of our sin; let's eagerly look forward to the 2nd coming of Jesus. It won't always be this way. Come, Lord Jesus!
When I quote Scripture In this blog, unless otherwise indicated, the quotations are usually from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission.
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