For Christians, the emotional response to the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage has run the gamut, and understandably so. It would be impossible to overstate the significance of Friday’s announcement.
In my statement to the media, I urged believers to continue engaging the culture with loving kindness and to be a light in these dark times. I joined many other Christian leaders in signing the “Here We Stand” evangelical declaration that, among other things, cautions against responding in panic to this ruling.
To be sure, it’s a sobering time, but it’s the era we find ourselves in. God didn’t promise us a life free of oppression. A rudimentary study of the Bible shows us story after story of persecution, and we’ve seen plenty of news stories of how our Christian brothers and sisters are currently facing extreme oppression at the hands of groups like ISIS.
For American Christians, I believe it’s time to take our emotions to the Lord in prayer and worship. Focus on His divine attribute of faithfulness and goodness. Meditate on His sovereignty. Recognize Christians have an eternal hope in Christ.
While doing so, I would suggest you concentrate on doing four things:
1. Tend to your own marriage.
More and more, we’ll see how simply living out God’s design for marriage and family in our own lives will serve as a bright shining light in this world. Being counter-cultural and embracing our role as a “peculiar people” has drawn individuals to Jesus since the start of Christianity. Don’t be a hypocrite. Practice what you actually believe is true. Love and devote yourself to your spouse.
2. Stand for truth in love.
More than ever, it’s important we are always “prepared to make a defense” of why we believe what we do, and to do it with “gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) Now’s not the time to put our light under a bushel. More than ever we have to exercise our right to share our faith with anyone who will listen and to fully immerse ourselves in carrying out the Great Commission by loving, serving, listening, engaging and preaching.
3. Support efforts to shore up religious freedoms.
Expect to see an influx of proposed legislation and other efforts to safeguard our rights to exercise our religion. Already groups like Alliance Defending Freedom have created manuals to help pastors and other leaders protect their churches and ministries from the emerging concept that “sexual liberty” trumps religious freedom. Believers would be wise to get involved and support these efforts.
4. Redouble your efforts to instill a biblical worldview in your kids.
The law serves as a “teacher,” and this Supreme Court decision will validate efforts to normalize homosexuality in the culture. Make no mistake that this growing acceptance will further undermine biblical authority in the eyes of many. Those of us raising kids in this day and age will have to live more authentically and be more intentional if we want to impart a faith that lasts to our children.
Far from feeling helpless or lost in despair, this is a time for Christians to find purpose in their faith. Let’s not forget that in times of oppression and persecution, the Church has grown and thrived.
Can you please let me know what you’re thinking and feeling these days? What are you hearing in your church or small group? In your extended family, neighborhood or social media circles?