Today's question is: "Should Christians attend the gay marriage ceremonies of their loved ones?"
This is a really tough question, and it's not one that I'm going to pretend even for a second to have the universal 'right' answer to. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least two ways that a devout Christian could be motivated by seemingly good intentions to attend their loved one's gay marriage ceremony. So I really do understand the thought processes of those who do.
But personally, I cannot maintain a good conscience and advise any Christian to go to any gay marriage ceremony for any reason.
Below I will give two seemingly good reasons that Christians may attend these ceremonies, along with my thoughts as to the faults in the reasons.
Seemingly Good Reason Number 1
Christians want to love their friends and family and to see them happy. It's natural to want to celebrate alongside our loved ones in the monumental, joyful occasions of their lives – regardless of where their joy is found or what the occasion is for. So is it so wrong to celebrate a loved one's happiness in a same-sex marriage even though we don't delight in the idea of a same-sex marriage, ourselves? If we want to truly love them, shouldn't we go?
I understand that we need and want to love these people in our lives. But at the end of the day, it must be the love of Christ that controls us – not our love for our unbelieving friends. Please hear me carefully and do not twist my words: we must love our unbelieving friends with a fierce, passionate kind of love. I'm just saying that we must love God even more. I know that much of modern evangelicalism basically tells us we should love God and people on the same level, but the Bible is clear that we are to love God above all and anyone And if we want to love Him supremely, we cannot align ourselves with a celebration of what He hates. A celebration of the union of two men or two women is a celebration that mocks the will and design of God for humanity.
Additionally, loving people in a way that isn't congruent with the way God loves isn't true, pure love. Yes, Jesus ate, drank talked with sinners in his time on earth. He loved them where they were and didn't demand they straighten up their act before he showed them that. He beautifully demonstrated the gracious, merciful and non-condemning demeanor that He now commands us to engage the world with. But would Jesus have gone, in a spirit of love and support, to a homosexual marriage ceremony? Most of us would agree He absolutely would not have. Jesus lovingly engaged the unbelievers around him in a way that didn't glorify or celebrate their sin, and that is the way we are to love them as well. A gay marriage ceremony glorifies and celebrates sin and if we (Christians) attend in order to be 'loving', we are practicing a type of love that God does not.
Seemingly Good Reason Number 2
Christians want to preserve their relationships with unbelievers whom they are trying to win to Jesus. Most Christians facing this decision fear that if they don't go to the ceremony, their relationship with their friend or family member will be totally and irreversibly damaged. They feel pressured to attend the event solely to maintain the relationship and to keep open a line of communication through with to continually share the hope of Jesus with their friend. Can it really be all that bad to attend an hour-long gay marriage ceremony if the motivation is to assure future years of friendship for the sake of the gospel?
This is the difficult one for me. If I were ever to attend a gay marriage ceremony, I would begrudgingly do it and only for this reason. I wouldn't go in loving support of what was taking place, but in fearful anticipation that if I didn't, they would never talk to me again and my influence for Christ in their life would cease permanently. But my advice here to myself and other well-meaning Christians would be: a) not attending the ceremony is a massive witness to the character and truth of God, and b) trust the Lord with your loved one's soul.
It has always been important that the world know that God is not just loving, but holy. But in these current days, in which western evangelicalism is perpetually downplaying sin and even beginning to embrace homosexual behavior as good, I think it's of dire importance that in our individual witnesses we strive to communicate that while God loves people, He is not down with people's sin. And if they don't turn away from a lifestyle of sin, He will condemn them eternally.
Yes, God is love. Yes, God is merciful and gracious. But God's love, mercy and grace are saturated in holiness and that is why his Son was mutilated on a Roman cross for our sins. God hates sin. If we want our lives to show unbelievers the true character of our loving and holy God, we must be people who set ourselves apart from the evils of this world. And a gay marriage ceremony is a celebratory glorification of blatant evil. A Christian abstaining from a loved one's ceremony would give witness to the holiness of God – a characteristic of His which most are failing to believe still exists.
Now, the mature Christian definitely wouldn't reject the invitation to such a ceremony in a self-righteous, judgmental manner; but in a meek and lowly spirit. Nevertheless, the decision to not attend the ceremony will most likely cause the gay friend or family member offense. It's almost certain that they will react indignantly. The chances are unfortunately high that your communication with that person may all but diminish, at least for a while. And this is where the Christian must trust God.
If in a good conscience you follow the Lord in this situation and that results in your gospel-influence in that person's life coming to a halt, you just have to trust the Lord with their soul. He is not limited in resources and He's definitely not solely dependent upon you to bring that person to Himself. Your years of loving faithfulness to this person – including your loving and faithful decision to not attend their marriage ceremony – have effectively communicated the kind and righteous character of the true God, and it is only He that can save them. Don't let the enemies of your soul heap guilt upon you for doing the right thing. You have done well, loved well, and witnessed well.
Tomorrow I'll be tackling the following question: "Is sex a human right?"