I arrived at our ministry centre earlier this morning as usual, gearing up for another day of worshipping God with my church family. As I waited at the corner to turn into our property, I realised we had been hit with graffiti – and not the usual tagging that goes on.
This time it was an offensive message loaded with hate for our church membership, together with a threat of violence. Yet I refuse to believe that the orchestrators of this vandalism are at all reflective of the common everyday “Yes” voters in the current public survey being conducted about same sex marriage.
Of concern however is the confusion that surrounds the current debate. Those advocating the YES vote, do appear to attempt to simplify the debate by advancing the view that it is a personal decision about equality and it seems often portrayed that those advancing the NO vote, are people who are opposed to equality.
The current discussion in our community however is much more nuanced than that, and at great risk, is respectful, considered and honourable relational behavior.
At GWAC we are clear about our official view on marriage – we hold that it is, as the Bible makes clear, a life-long covenant relationship between one man and one woman, excluding all others. Of importance also is the way we live out the message of the gospel - as I shared with our people today at the services, the Word of God has something pertinent to speak into this space for us as a church as we seek to live with integrity “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.” (Romans 12:17-18)
Now is the time for thoughtful, respectful relational behaviour; it’s the time for honest investment in relationships so we understand one another and position ourselves to really understand each other. Its also a time for the Church to realise that uncharitable, unloving and ungodly attitudes and behaviour of the past has caused great hurt for many in our community and it’s a hard ask to expect those most deeply affected to trust the motives and intentions of Christians.
In this climate, respectful, godly, behaviour is important. For a more detailed discussion and pastoral comment, please see my previous post.
In Christ’s love,
Lead Pastor - GWAC