Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I COULD BE MORE LIBERAL IF IT WEREN'T FOR LOVE

(Full title)
IF IT WEREN’T FOR THIS PESKY THING CALLED LOVE,
I COULD BE A LOT MORE LIBERAL 

I recently saw this post on Facebook. It was preceded by a comment to introduce it:
"Ah...common sense ?? Too much for many people to understand...”

Here is the post:

Don’t like gay marriages? Don’t get one
Don’t like cigarettes? Don’t smoke them.
Don’t like alcohol? Don’t drink it.
Don’t like drugs? Don’t do them.
Don’t like porn? Don’t watch it.
Don’t like sex? Don’t do it.
Don’t like abortions? Don’t get one.
Don’t like your rights taken away?
Don’t take someone else’s away.

When I read it, there were two additional comments, both agreeing with the post. One of them simply said, “truth.” 

Usually, I do not quickly comment on a post that someone makes. Facebook people are often pretty touchy, and if you make a comment that in any way disagrees with what was said, you very soon find yourself in a discussion, and sometimes a rather testy one. I don’t like to be in one of these. Besides, these back-and-forths seldom lead to anything constructive. I am actually just a peaceful man. I’m not looking for a fight.

Because of this, I at first did not comment, but the problem was that this post really began to bother me. In some ways, it is a commentary on the direction that our culture is heading. Actually we have already traveled a good ways down this road.

After about a day I went back to it and made a comment. I tried to make it non-confrontational....
I simply wrote, “Well…you might expect this coming from a Bible teacher, but at least one other time in human history, we tried it when ‘everyone did what was right in his own eyes.’ That time did not turn out too well.”

That was not what I really wanted to say. But, like I mentioned, I tried to keep it non-confrontational so that I would not have to keep responding to comments leveled against me. I’m not that concerned if they make comments about God. He can take care of himself. I just did not want to get into anything personal between me and another individual. 

It’s not that I’m necessarily against all of the things that are on that list. In fact, I can say that I am definitely in favor of least one of them. But taken as a whole, this list has that dangerous quality of seeming to be reasonable when one first reads it, but in actuality there are many things wrong with it.

As I said, when I made my comment, I tried not to make it personal. However, the difficulty is, personal relationships have everything to do with it. What I wrote in my comment is not what I really wanted to write. What I really wanted to write is this:

"This attitude of just let everyone do what they think is right in their own eyes seems at first to be a fair position. Doesn’t everyone just end up happy? We simply do not care what others are doing, as long as they are doing what they want to do and as long as they are not bringing harm to anyone else. At first blush, this all seems like a reasonable perspective, that is until you bring it home to your own house. Then it becomes a little too personal.

"What if it is your daughter, now over 21 years old, who decided that she wanted to live on methamphetamines, earn money by prostitution and create pornographic films? She is an adult. It is her body and her life. You, yourself do not have to take meth and live by prostitution, so what is wrong with letting her have the freedom to do what she wants to do? After all, it is her body and it is her life.

"This is where love just messes everything up. If you love your daughter, you would not approach this with such a laissez-faire attitude. You would do everything that you could to help her to see that the life that she has chosen is one that ends up in certain destruction.
*******
"Here is another example: What if your wife came to you one day and told you that she had been having affairs with two other men, and that she enjoyed it and that she wanted to continue with these relationships? She would still remain married to you. There was no problem with that, but she also wanted to continue her relations with these other men.

"She’s an adult. No one is getting hurt. No one, that is, except you. But why should you be hurt? Why not allow her to do what makes her happy?
 
"Again, this pesky thing called love has gotten in the way. You love your wife. On your wedding day you made a commitment to her, and she to you.  You are bound to one another. There is no way that you would be liberal in sharing her with two other men!
*******
"This aspect of being bound to one another brings up another of these examples. The post on Facebook read, “Don’t like abortion? Don’t get one."

"This only holds true only if there is no love; only if you believe that the little life growing in your womb is not a person. If it is not, if it is just a part of the woman’s body with no life of its own, then having it removed is no different than having a tumor removed.

"But we all know that this is not correct. Instinctively we know that what is in the womb is not a tumor, but rather a new life that has begun. And as the ability to peer within the womb by means of ultrasound and other methods become ever more sophisticated, the medical community will back this up – at least if they are honest with themselves.

"My wife and I have had no daughters, only sons – four of them. From experience, I can tell you that I loved those little boys even before they were born and even before I held them in my arms. Vivian also loved them deeply. The thought of aborting any one of them would have been repulsive to her. Her life was bound up with these little lives growing within her. There would have been no one in this world who could have convinced her to end her pregnancy. Her love was too great!

"Do you see how love just messes everything up? If she did not care about this little life, it would be no problem. We all could be quite liberal about this entire process, and that little life could have been terminated. Or, to put it more bluntly, we could have murdered them without any shade of regret.

"Do you think that God puts restrictions upon us because he wants to take our freedom away? If you think that, you have got it all wrong. He puts restrictions upon us because he loves us. If there was no love involved, he would just leave us alone and allow us continue with our own ways until it led to our eventual destruction.

"But to be the recipient of love…now there is something that sets me free! Oh the security of being loved! I know that there is One who loves me so much, that he would do absolutely anything to prevent me from destroying myself. He would even die for me! That is love!

Oh the freedom of being alive and safe in the security of pure love!"

That is what I really wanted to write on Facebook. I did not do it there, so I am writing it here.
*********************************
(This was the sermon I delivered at our Ash Wednesday service at the Log Church. Afterwards, when the people of the congregation came forward to have the ash cross marked on their foreheads, I said to each person, "Do not let the world determine what you should think.")

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