“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
I very very seldom watch animations. Perhaps I watch one animated movie every 3 years. So when I went to a two-year-old’s birthday party today and the kids were watching the famous 1967 animated movie “The Jungle Book,” I decided to watch with the other kids. And then it hit me. When the scene came where the bear saved the boy from the tiger, but ended being injured by the tiger, the bear’s panther friend consoled the boy by quoting from John 15:13: “Greater love hath no one than he who lays down his life for his friend.” I was caught by surprise because it’s been a while since I heard Scripture quoted in a respectable way in a Hollywood movie. Then I remembered that the movie was a 41-year-old movie… a lot has changed in the world since then.
Today, especially in America, when people think about the Bible, they don’t think about it as a respectable source of wisdom. Rather, according to the book unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, the Barna Group research found that 91% of those in the Buster and Mosaic generations say “antihomosexual” accurately describes contemporary Christianity, making this the #1 perception people have about Christians. People nowadays view the Bible as a “patriarchal document” that contains outdated laws. While in the Jungle Book-era, the Bible’s standard of love is esteemed, today a Bible publisher can be sued for publishing the Bible to promote hate crimes.
Some Christians would blame the “homosexual political agenda” for causing the church and the Bible to be viewed as antihomosexual, and proceeded to analyze the various goals of homosexual politics. I, however, just want to point the finger back at myself first and foremost, and secondarily at the church, for failing to really preach the gospel of Christ as a lifechanging truth in the world. Christians are perceived as unloving and uncaring and overly concerned about moral matters simply because we fail to love, we fail to care, and we indeed overly concern ourselves with moral matters. And I admit that I myself have often failed miserably in this as well.
Kinnaman was asked by a homosexual friend whether he thinks gays would be condemned to hell. I love his answer. He replied, “No one goes to heaven for what they do or don’t do. That’s the message of Jesus. Every human sins, and we all deserve hell for that. But Jesus freely offers everyone his grace. I know it’s not an easy part of Christian theology, but yes, I believe homosexual behavior is sin, but it’s no different than any other sin, no different than if I sleep with someone other than my wife or even have a momentary sexual fantasy.” Sometimes we concern too much about what we do or don’t do, or worse, what others do or don’t do, but miss the point that people come to God not because of morals but because of whether they commit their lives to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I was shocked (but also glad) that David Kinnaman’s research found that one-sixth of the homosexuals hold beliefs that can be considered born-again Christians. This also means we cannot ignore the fact that homosexuals are also hungry for God.
Currently in California, Proposition 8 (defining marriage as between one man and one woman) is a hot issue, and I cannot neglect talking about it. I will be voting YES on Proposition 8 on November 4. However, the reason I’m voting yes on Prop 8 is NOT because I’m “against gays.” I believe that marriage between one man and one woman is the most natural thing designed biologically in our bodies (understanding the way the male and female bodies work leads one to say that they’re meant to be “coupled” together), and I believe that families with a father and a mother composes the healthiest society unit. I oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage on the principle that defining marriage based on sexual feelings is invalid and we could potentially slide down a slippery slope of continuously redefining marriage based on other sexual feelings such as pedophilia. And I oppose how the California Supreme Court overstepped its judicial boundaries to redefine marriage and to unlawfully overturn Prop 22 which was approved in 2000 by 61% Californians.
But with that said, it doesn’t conflict with my sincere desire for more chances to get to know more homosexual friends and to learn to love them. After all, Jesus, in his day, made friends with prostitutes and tax collectors — the outcasts of the society. I feel that homosexuals have a deep need to be accepted and understood, and I wish I understand more about their sense of loneliness and anger. I think Jesus would have befriended homosexuals today. And He will certainly show his great love by laying down his life for his friends, including homosexuals.
You might also be interested in:
What is “Prop 8”?