The Lord has a way of bringing things together. I’m preparing to preach on 1 John 4:7-5:4 for Sunday evening. The key theme is ‘love one another’ which is intimately connected by John to the nature of God, who is love, to the gift of God, which is Christ, to the purpose of God for our lives that we display his love before one another, for one another.
Yesterday I read in the Times of a minister in our church comparing those who disagree with him to Nazi panzer divisions storming into France. Today I read in the Press and Journal another minister in our church calling those who disagree with her fundamentalist terrorists. (I've deliberately note included links to these offensive articles).
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Sisters and brothers, listen to yourselves. Is this what we have come to? Is there no way we can disagree with one another without also descending into name calling and insulting one another? For the avoidance of doubt ‘insulting one another’ is not close to the same as ‘love one another’.
I believe that God has revealed to us, in his word, that human sexuality is to be enjoyed and celebrated in celibacy or between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage. I know that my believing this is offensive to those who disagree with me. But I too am offended when I hear my God and my Saviour condemned as a liar or a fool by those who seek to reject his revelation and dismiss his word. It is easy to be offended.
Given that holding any position in this debate will offend someone for whom Christ died, can we not agree with one another, because we love one another, that we will speak and act in a way that does not add to this offence? If we find ourselves unable to speak or act in support of what we believe to be a Godly, Christian position in a way that is loving and Godly perhaps the position we are speaking for is not Godly. If we are unwilling to speak or act in a way that is loving, for the sake of God, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord we should be silent.
What we need today is not greater displays of offensive rhetoric, but greater displays of Christ like love.
Please, pray for the Church of Scotland, pray for all who speak on this sensitive and contentious matter, pray that in all we do and say the love of Christ would be seen and displayed among us.