Summary: This is my personal response to recent same-sex marriage legislation and the casing of the Confederate flag in South Carolina.
In the last few weeks, a couple of significant things have been all over the news in our country. From a Columbia, South Carolina AP article: “South Carolina pulled the Confederate flag from its place of honor at the Statehouse on Friday, marking a milestone in how America commemorates the war that tore the United States apart 150 years ago.” And from the New York Times, “The Supreme Court could not have been clearer when it ruled late last month that states may not refuse to marry same-sex couples. “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court in Obergefell v. Hodges.”
These events have created division in our United States. People have picked sides. “It’s us against them!” Every side is getting offended. Some people are being minimized. Others have won great victories. All because one group of people wants “this” and the other group wants “that.” At what point will we satisfy everyone? At what point will we not be able to satisfy anyone?
I’m not here to argue “for” or “against” any issue right now except this … know the truth and it will set you free. I spoke about that last week for a bit. What has changed this week? NOTHING!!! Know the truth and it will set you free. Our Scripture reading for today comes from John 8:1-11 NLT.
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Over the last three days, I’ve been in a running conversation with a friend who is Catholic. I believe the conversation began between another Soldier and him but I was drawn in because I’m their Chaplain. In a nut shell, Soldier A is explaining the Catholic faith as he understands it to Soldier B. Soldier B, on the other hand, is offering an apologetic – a defense – of the Protestant faith. It’s a beautiful thing to me because two people I respect professionally and personally are having a genuine dialogue about their beliefs and the traditions of their particular faith group. I have been given the opportunity to engage as Soldier C at times.
I walk away from these discussions with one overarching hope … that we are pursuing truth. We are pursuing truth, not as we understand it, but as we base truth on an objective standard. Our standard is the Word of God. Our worldview is this:
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:1-5 NLT).
So I ask you to reflect on your worldview. On what standard do you base your decisions and life choices? On what standard do you align your thoughts and actions? What standard is the backdrop and the forethought of your life?
If we go back to our Scripture reading, we are presented with one of, what I think, is the most incredible stories in the Bible. We have the woman caught in adultery. The Scripture previous to this was about a division in ranks of the Pharisees. They were divided as to who this Jesus really was. Was he the expected Prophet? Was he the Messiah? Was he born in Bethlehem? Was he born in Galilee? “Was” created division? Who “was” right? Who “was” wrong?