Reading through Romans 12 at my little group study thing today, I caught some things that I think are usually skipped over, unless you’re making a camp T-shirt, or poster for your cubicle, as well as some things that I think are taken in partial context, with the intention of advocating things that aren’t exactly ok.
The first is in verse 15. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” How often do I find myself weeping with someone who is weeping? Not very often. It’s way easier to celebrate with a friend that just got a raise, or who found out they’re pregnant than it is to have the guts to go cry with someone when their child dies or their wife has cancer.
I think it’s important to differentiate between consolation and actually weeping. It’s pretty easy to send someone a text or Facebook message saying that you’re praying for them, or that they should stand on Romans 8:28, but that’s not at all what this verse says to do. Weeping is weeping, and it says we’re supposed to do that with other people. That seems really uncomfortable.
Consolation is important too, but maybe sharing in someone’s sorrow to that extreme is better? I don’t know.
The second is in two parts, but reversed. Verse 16 says, “Live in harmony with one another.”
Lately I’ve seen a lot of people use this and verses like it to advocate for people living in sin. In particular, homosexual sin. Someone call the ACLU, I just hit the hate button. If they show up, I can’t answer the door right now, I’m too busy putting glitter on my protest sign.
I guess I just miss the logic that says, “Jesus told us to be kind and accepting, so how dare you judge a person for their orientation?”
My problem with that line of thinking is, how do you determin which sins are ok and which are not? If I read the Bible and believe it, then I believe that not only is sin bad, but that God views ALL sin the same way. There’s no sin hierarchy chart out there.
So if I believe that, why isn’t it ok for me to hit my wife? Why isn’t it ok for me to get drunk?
(By the way, at one point or another, with the exception of hitting my wife, I’ve been guilty of the other stuff.)
I realize those are all pretty overtly negative things. So what about these: becoming obese, breaking the speed limit, gossip, etc.?
The Bible is pretty clear on all of those things, including homosexuality. If it’s all the same to God, why is it not all the same to us? Or why are the REALLY bad things not ok with us, but we’re ok with some of the other, not-so-bad things?
The logic that says to accept homosexual sin kind of falls apart before that verse is ever written, in the same chapter. Verse 2 says, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”
Just because I obey the speed limit, doesn’t mean I hate people that speed. Nor does it mean that I think everyone who speeds should be carted off to jail.
But if I’m a christian, and out of an attempt to show unconditional love, I tell someone, “Hey, you know, speeding’s not so bad. It’s no big deal. The translation of ‘speeding’ could mean lots of things,” not only do I blur the line between ‘Christ follower’ and ‘non-Christian,’ but I also enable that person to potentially get hurt. Not to mention, it says to other members of Christ’s body, “Ah, I only believe parts of that book. Thomas Jefferson style.”
When I think of someone showing me “unconditional love,” that has to include that person telling me, “Chris, the drugs you are addicted to are destroying your body and your family. Please stop.”
It doesn’t include “Everybody has their vices. To each, their own. Nbd, bro.”