Should I attend my gay cousin's wedding?
I sat on the floor crying silently, heartbroken. My cousin helped raise me. He helped plan my wedding. Now it seemed he was ready to cut off all communication with me, convinced our worldviews were irreconcilable.
It didn't seem to matter how much I told him that I loved him, that I wanted relationship with him no matter what, because he is my family. He couldn't or wouldn't believe that I, as a Christ-follower, would accept him as a gay man.
This was maybe the second overt conversation my cousin and I have had about his sexuality in the 20 years I've known he was gay. Honestly, I feel like he has shown more integrity in his convictions than I have in mine. In an effort not to offend and to figure out how I believe a Christian should act toward the LGBT community, I've said virtually nothing. I haven't denied his beliefs, nor have I acknowledged them. I have tried to be neutral, a kind of Switzerland in the increasingly Us vs. Them cultural climate around us. And I failed miserably. I unknowingly wounded my cousin with my silence and refusal to wrestle with my own questions and beliefs, apparently siding with the vocal anti-gay horde.
We can only honor Christ by the power of Christ
Do I believe homosexuality is sin? Yes. According to Genesis, sexual intimacy was created by God to be experienced by a husband and wife (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6). Not unmarried people. Not two people of the same gender. Not multiple people together. That said, it’s important to note how completely impossible it is to live a Christ-honoring life without the power of Christ Himself. I can't follow Jesus without the supernatural intervention of God, so why would I think that someone professing a secular worldview should want to? Jesus didn't accept me after I'd cleaned myself up. He made me, a sinner, new.
Jesus didn't accept me after I'd cleaned myself up. He made me, a sinner, new.
The apostle Paul addresses this issue when speaking to the Corinthians:
"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside" (1 Corinthians 5:9-12).
As Christians, it's not our job to judge those outside the church, but to bring people into the church. Jesus Himself spent much of His time with people whom the religious community called the worst of sinners. We are called to love unbelievers as Christ did, wholly and without judgment.
What would Jesus do?
Jesus’ first miracle was performed at a wedding (John 2:1-11). We know nothing about the couple who married. Were they upstanding Jews? Was it their first marriage? The text doesn’t say. But what it does say, is this: “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11). Few people at the wedding even knew the miracle happened, and only Jesus’ disciples believed. We certainly don’t know what kind of people the newlyweds were. Here we see the Son of God Himself extravagantly loving those around him, whether or not they believed.
The love of Christ knows no boundaries. It seeks out the lonely, the broken, the disenfranchised, the abandoned, and the outcast.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34, 35). The love of Christ knows no boundaries. It seeks out the lonely, the broken, the disenfranchised, the abandoned, and the outcast. This is the kind of love our lives are to be marked by. They will not know we are Christians by our hate.
At the end of time, every person will be judged for his own actions by Father God. There are only two options for what happens next: either Christ died for a person and takes his punishment, or he will pay for his own sin eternally in hell. Heaping my judgment on someone else only condemns my own ungracious heart.
My cousin and his partner eloped and honeymooned in Europe, and now I've been invited to the celebration of their marriage. If we can afford the plane ticket, I want to go. I think Jesus would've done the same.