“In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people,” he said. “We are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing Himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule—treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president, and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.” (Evolved) [emphasis added]
Serendipitously, today our pastor, Julian Russell, preached on the Golden Rule, (Matthew 7:12-14)
The Golden Rule
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
a. Matthew 7:13 Some manuscripts For the way is wide and easy
I hope Christians who urge the acceptance of same sex-marriage will evaluate their position by some points the pastor made about the standard of the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is not about “tolerance” or acceptance. The Golden Rule is the royal law, of which James wrote. (James 2:8-12)
First, Christ summed up the Law and the prophets; it is wholly loving God with all we have and are, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:33-40) It is not enough to not harm those who are different than we are; we are to serve them, in the ways we would be served. If you and I both like friend chicken, is serving each other fried chicken three times a day what we should be doing, the pastor asked? If God has said no to an appetite, a behavior or a choice, how is it kind or loving to affirm the behavior?
Second, being a Christ-follower means entering God’s Kingdom by the narrow gate – a gate so narrow the pastor said, we couldn’t fit if we insist on carrying our propensities with us. Entering the narrow gate squeezes them out; puts them to death. A desire to hold on to what we want, what we think we must have, may divert us to the broad path. We can’t live in God’s Kingdom indulging habits, hang-ups and hurts – and if we love others who are wounded, we should not encourage them to pursue what God hates.
Reading John Piper’s book, Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, I came across a description of William Wilberforce’s doctrine that sustained him in the battle in the 19th century against the English slave trade. What sustained him were
. . . the doctrines of human depravity, divine judgment, the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross, justification by faith alone, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the practical necessity of fruit in a live devoted to good deeds. Wilberforce was not a political pragmatist. He was a radically God-centered, Gospel saturated Christian politician. And his zeal for Christ, rooted in this gospel, was the strength that sustained him in the battle. (Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, page 104)
Can a Christian [politician] today push to strength biblical marriage between a man and a woman with the same zeal that galvanized William Wilberforce who pushed his culture to eradicate chattel slavery – another practice God forbade? Can he or she withstand the desire to accommodate what seems loving to the wider public? If one or two of them, and many more of us can explain and live the Golden Rule, as Christ taught, we might see the debate transformed.
Christians have more than a few deeply loved friends or family members who are gay; some Christians have been open about their own homosexuality. Homosexuals may be our siblings, children, parents, or spouses; sometimes they are our pastors or legislators. How are we to love the people in our path?