I remember being about your age. Sitting in school one day, the question of abortion came up. I was asked whether or not I believed a woman should have the right to choose to end her pregnancy. The truth was, I hadn’t really thought about it that deeply. It didn’t really affect my day to day life. I was more concerned about the ball game than about abortion. That means I didn’t have much of a foundation to answer the question. I don’t think I would have known how to search the Scriptures to study the question, and I know I didn’t take the time. I had just heard what people around me, or people in the news were saying. Honestly, I was most concerned about the loudest voices in my school, both from teachers and students. Those voices had framed the question in terms of equality for women…they made me think the most important thing was being fair to women and that if I didn’t support abortion I wasn’t being fair (never mind the question of the unborn baby). I didn’t really think that I was against women, so it seemed right to me at the time to say, “I’m not sure, but I guess the pro-choice position makes some sense.”
That was my question in middle school, and make no mistake, it is still a question for you. But now, there is another question. It is the question of marriage. Are you for gay marriage, or against it? Do you believe a man should be able to marry a man and that a woman should be able to marry a woman. That’s the question you are being asked, and I want to help you think more deeply about your question than I did about mine.
The culture around you is trying to frame this question in a certain way. They are saying it is an issue of civil rights. They are saying it is about not judging other people and just accepting them they way they are. In doing so, they would tell you that if you are against gay marriage, then you are discriminating against someone else, which means you are no different than a racist bigot. Just like I didn’t want to be against women’s rights, do you really want to be a bigot?
That’s what the world around us is saying. Then, there is the world of Trussville, Alabama. For better or worse, this is a “churchy place,” and that “churchiness” has a lot to do with the culture. By culture, I mean the things that people accept as normal and the ideas they celebrate. Here, homosexuality is not as openly accepted as it is in other parts of the country. That means that in our “churchy” atmosphere, more people are against gay marriage than they might be in other places. There is a problem with that, though. Again, for better or worse, one day the “churchy” atmosphere will change. If you are making up your mind about gay marriage based on the atmosphere, then you will change with the atmosphere…just like the wind changes direction. That is because culture will change. Truth will not. That is why your beliefs must be based on something that doesn’t change like the wind. Your beliefs must be based on the unchanging Word of God.
This truth is the real battleground today. Gay marriage is just where that battle for truth is being fought. So what is the truth? In God’s word, we are told that the Scriptures are in fact God’s Word (2 Tim 3:16-17), that His Word is unchanging (Heb 13:8; Rev 22:18-19), that marriage was instituted by God between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; 1 Cor 6:16; and Eph 5:31), and that homosexuality is a sin (Gen 19; Lev 18:22, 20:13; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9; and 1 Tim 1:10). This is not my truth, or culture’s truth. It is God’s truth.
Kids, I know this truth is not the most popular position today. I know there are some who might hear this and call me (and you) a “hater.” Please don’t buy in to that lie. I am talking to you about truth, not hatred. I do not hate the homosexual, even the ones who are trying to change the truth to fit their own desires. I don’t want you to hate either. But I do want you to base your beliefs on truth that goes beyond what you hear on CNN, AND that goes beyond fitting in with the churchy culture in Trussville.
I told you that when I was your age I didn’t know how to look to Scripture to examine these issues. That means I don’t expect you to do this on your own either (though I am trying to train you so that you can). Please know that you can always talk to me about these things. I am for you and am here to help you. Please also know that I WILL talk to you about them. Sometimes these conversations are uncomfortable. That’s ok. Guess what? They can also be uncomfortable for me. It doesn’t matter. Let’s talk about things that do matter. Let’s talk about truth. Let’s talk about grace.
Do you remember when I said what I did about my middle school views on abortion? I was a mess. I was lazy in my thoughts. I didn’t know where to look for truth. But, in God’s timing, He gave me a greater understanding of human life…that we are created in His image (Gen 1:26-27). He has taught me of His plan for me (Rom 8:28), of His love for me from before the beginning of time (Eph 1:4), of His tender care forming my inward parts while in my mother’s womb (Ps 139:13-16). I now firmly stand for life because of what I know from God’s unchanging truth. He has shown me this by His grace, not because I was better than someone else or smarter than someone else.
That truth came to rest for me when I first held you in my arms. You were so beautiful and fragile, and I knew you were a gift to me. In those first moments, I also distinctly remember another emotion. I remember being so doggedly pro-life (against abortion) that I could have punched someone who even spoke of abortion. I was passionate about the truth…partially because it was true…partially because I was holding you. The passion was good. Punching someone would not have been.
I share this last bit with you for a specific reason. I am trying to raise you to know truth and to stand for truth, because it is God’s truth and it does not change. I am also trying to raise you to know that you can only stand for truth because of God’s love graciously poured out on you through Jesus Christ. You didn’t deserve His love, but He gave it to you anyway. Among other things, this means that as you stand for truth, I pray you will do so in grace. Love your friends who disagree with you, and do so with patience. The Lord patiently, and graciously, opened my eyes to His truth. I pray He will hold you in it as well.
I love you,