I was rolling through Costco with my daughter when one of the employees caught sight of my cart FULL of frozen vegetables. He came away from his post to peek in at the bags and make a comment. I don’t know how it happened that we began to talk about scripture, except perhaps because he asked where my daughter wanted to go to college. Maybe it was telling him that she loves to lead worship that opened the door, but before I knew it, he was bringing up the matter of sexual orientation and the church. He said that there was a woman at his church whose daughter has not married. If she wanted to marry another woman, he said he would have a hard time telling her that she could not use the church.
I asked him why, and watched the wheels begin to turn.
“What does the Bible say about these things?” I asked him. “That it’s wrong,” he said.
Little by little, I asked questions, and he answered me based on scripture. I didn’t have to tell him anything. I just asked questions, and he preached to me, his countenance becoming stronger with every sentence.
We talked about how the apostle Paul wrote to the churches in the New Testament and told them not to tolerate sin, but to confront it. We discussed how the Bible says that a little yeast leavens the whole loaf, and sin is bad yeast that can contaminate the whole church if tolerated. As I headed to the register to pay for my veggies, he told me that if we tolerate sin, our doctrine gets watered down. He knew. He just needed to remember.
I bring up this encounter because I sat with a friend who challenged me today. I have a headache from thinking so hard. I told her I believe this country is still full of families who love and honor the Lord. She agreed, but then she said she believes many are afraid to speak up.
It’s easy to stand up for what is right when the majority believes that the same things are right. But when the majority moves away from what you have always believed, and you realize that speaking up means you can’t always stand with people you know and care about, the struggle becomes real. In 21 years of ministry, I have watched people in the church stop speaking out against sin issues because their kids and grand-kids are doing the things they used to know were wrong, and they have bought the line that if you don’t tolerate sin you are not loving, “hook, line and sinker.”
But tolerating sin isn’t loving people. It’s allowing those you care for to continue to live outside God’s will, doing things that drive a wedge between them and God. And if no one tells them it is wrong, how can they ever repent? How can their hearts be changed and their lives be renewed? How could we become so afraid of speaking up that we could watch legions of people march their way into hell? And if we could do this, how can we love the Lord? The Bible says that if we are not for the Lord, we are against Him.
I sit here in my corner of the globe writing things that the Lord lays on my heart. It blows me away when Google Analytics shows me that someone across the world clicked into one of my little spiels. And yet, I know that my words do not reach many ears. I think that, mostly, it just makes me feel better to speak it out, but I long to make a difference. I long to say something that would shake your world just enough for you to know that the only solid ground you can find is standing with the God of the universe who made you and knows you and loves you and died for you because He desires to bring you into a safe relationship with Him. I long to see you know what it means to love Him so much that you pursue Him and abandon anything that is displeasing to Him because if it displeases Him, it hurts you.
His love for you is so extravagant. You need to know that. Extravagant.