Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What is freedom, really?

I've got plans for a fashion post, a re-cap of funny and memorable little boy quotes, and a review of our water filtration system in the near future.... you know, the normal random array of things I talk about here. But if you know me well, or have read this blog for very long, then you know that Jesus is the most important thing in my life. Because of my heart to love Jesus and love others, and because of my life motto: "to speak the truth in love," I simply can't remain silent on the recent developments in our nation. My goal here is not to pass judgment, it's not to try to hate on anyone, it's not to try to be "right". I simply want to explore what freedom really is, how it is meant to function in our nation, and whether or not the Supreme Court ruling really did enhance or restrict personal freedoms in our country. If you are not cool with hearing both sides of the coin as far as people's opinions go, or if discussing morality and politics isn't your cup of tea, then this post is not for you and you can feel free to skip over it.

If you decide to keep reading, one more thing I'd like you to know... The issue of homosexuality is not some far and distant thing that exists outside the bubble of what my life is exposed to. It is something that affects people very close, people I grew up with, people that have visited my church. (And can I just say, I was so incredibly proud of the way my church family was intentionally loving and kind in that particular case.) I am not just throwing these lofty beliefs out at a crowd that is nameless to me. There are dearly loved people, people whose names I know well, standing in that crowd. It is out of love, out of a belief that there is a better way, that there is true freedom to be found for them that I share what I do.

So first let's talk about freedom. I have read many articles proudly proclaiming that in the ruling that homosexual marriage is now legal in all 50 states "love won" and there is now "freedom and equality" for the homosexual community. It sounds really good, right? Who doesn't want love to win? Who doesn't want freedom and equality for all? But here is my question: What is freedom outside the bounds of morality? As I have thought and thought on this question I have come up with one answer. Freedom outside the bounds of morality is destruction. Let me explain to you what I mean. Let's start with something we probably all agree on. Is murder right or wrong? We would all agree it is wrong. But why? Because morality dictates that it is. If one person wants to kill someone else, we limit the freedom of the killer in order to protect the freedom of the victim. It's something society does all the time, we just don't think about it often. Our freedoms are limited by what is morally right on a regular basis. If a man wants to molest a little child, do we give him the freedom to do so in our culture or do we limit his freedom to do whatever he wants because what he wants is morally wrong and would actually infringe upon the rights of the child? Ok, so you're probably asking, what do murder and molestation have to do with homosexuality? Well, according to the morality of our culture in the not so distant past, they were all three considered morally wrong. Our great-grandparents would not have believed a day would come in which homosexuality was not only accepted, but legalized and celebrated. Maybe you feel this is a great breakthrough, a necessary change, or progression to be celebrated... what if in 100 years something that you never would have believed is being legalized in order to give "freedom" to a group of people that right now are doing something our culture believes is morally wrong? There are religions that believe in child sacrifice. The literally burn children alive. We all shudder. What if one such group began gaining strength and numbers and popularity and pushing to have their practices legalized? Is their "freedom" to sacrifice children worth the price that the children would pay? Absolutely not. We would agree that their freedom should be limited in order to protect the children.

So here is my next question: What is morality defined by? Is it defined by popular cultural opinion at the time? If so, the scenario I mentioned above could actually be a future possibility. Or is morality defined by something outside ourselves, something unchanging, something steadfast, something that protects the true freedoms and rights of all people and has been tested over time and proven to actually do just that? If you are wondering if I'm talking about God's Word, the Bible, that is exactly what I am talking about. This has been a nation that has been free for all because of the fact that it was built on Biblical principles. Christianity in it's true intent is the one religion that does not force others to convert to it, the one that respects and honors people with different beliefs, the one that allows people to practice their religion however they wish as long as it is not bringing harm to others. (I am not saying that people acting in the name of Jesus haven't mis-represented its true intent in the past, they have.) The more we stray from the morality set forth in the Bible, the more true freedom will be lost. This is not the first time we have strayed from it as a country, sadly, we stray more and more and further and further all the time. We are beginning to believe the lie that to give freedom to all is to allow them to bring harm to others if that is their wish.... abortion is the perfect example of this. You may say I am crazy, the Bible should have nothing to do with dictating morality, and you actually like the idea that the culture and popular opinion at the time dictates the morality of the age. Here's a practical example to show you just how unreliable and ridiculous that ideology is: How about if you and I were standing face to face, and I felt like slapping you across the face, for no reason. Should I slap you? According to you, no. But if I really want to, according to me, yes. So it's tied, one to one. But what if the person standing next to me thinks I should slap you too? Now it's two to one. Popular opinion says I should slap you in your face. Is there a morality outside of us that gives us a reliable answer to this problem? Well, yes, in the Bible it says to treat others the way you would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). If I were the one about to be slapped for no reason my morality would be shouting that I shouldn't be too. The Bible also says that murder is wrong (Matthew 5:21). It also says that it would be better for someone that harms a child to have a millstone tied around their neck and be dropped to the bottom of the sea (Matthew 18:6). And it says that homosexuality is wrong(1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10).
One more thing... it is a popular belief in our culture today that all truth is relative. That morality is relative. That what is truth for you might not be truth for another person. No one seems to realize that this is a self defeating way of thinking. The phrase "all truth is relative" is either mutually exclusive of itself or mutually inclusive. If it excludes itself as the one truth that is true, then it is self negating, because then all truth is not relative, as it holds itself as a truth that is not. If it includes itself in it's own statement, then sometimes truth is relative, and sometimes truth is not, again defeating itself. Truth and morality are not relative things. They are concrete. If they can be changed on a whim, then all of life is uncertain, you are never safe or protected from another person's sin, and you have no foundation on which to stand if you are violated by someone.

Ok, so what does all this have to do with homosexual marriage being legalized? Marriage and homosexuality are two non-compatible words. A homosexual couple was not made for each other anatomically. They cannot re-produce and will never be able to become a family unit on their own. A male & male soul or a female & female soul were not created to complete each other in the way a male & female soul were. Marriage is a Biblical concept. If two people who believe they are homosexual wanted to touch each other in intimate ways no one in this country was stopping them, even though they were harming themselves by partaking in that lifestyle. But to take it so far as to want the recognition of marriage, a union that was not ever designed for them, is absolutely ridiculous. Marriage will always belong to a man and a woman, no matter what a homosexual couple calls itself, no matter what a court decrees. They may reap the benefits of filing joint taxes now, having a joint insurance plan, etc. but they are not and never will be what marriage was designed for. Now that our country has done away with the original definition of marriage there is no telling where it will stop. As Franklin Graham said, "With all due respect to the court, it did not define marriage, and therefore is not entitled to re-define it." If two best friends of the same gender want the legal benefits of marriage, but don't touch each other intimately because they are straight, are they being discriminated against because they are not gay? If so, then anyone who wants to, regardless of the way they express their love for each other, whether it is sexual or not, should be allowed to get a marriage license. If three, or four, or five guys want to get married can they? Some people are probably fine with this, but really, want kind of legal nightmare will it be when twelve or fourteen or twenty people want to get married, they are all filing taxes together, all on the same insurance plan and then some want divorces? Maybe none of this concerns you. But what if, in the name of love, someone wants to marry a child? What if a large group of people who all prefer to express themselves sexually on children get together and fight for their "rights"? I know this is illegal now because our current cultural morality protects the innocence of children. But what if a day comes when the desires of this large group of adults become more fought for than the rights of the small children? What if that group of adults claims they "love" those children? If morality is an evolutionary thing, this could one day be deemed ok. You might not know it, but there is a movement where pedophiles are claiming that this is their "orientation," and are beginning to push for rights. Once you re-define marriage and take it out of the context it was always meant to operate in (between one man and one woman), the sky is the limit with how ridiculous "marriages" can begin to look. I believe that those who live a homosexual lifestyle are usually people who are deeply hurt. My heart aches to see them set free. The legalization of their sin only further entraps them, and in my love for their souls I grieve for them. It is because I love these people, because I love this country, that I cannot remain silent. You understand, right? Please don't call me un-loving. It is because of my love that I must speak. How can I remain silent when I see priceless souls walking a path to destruction?

True love has a definition, it is found in 1 Corinthians 13 and the person of Jesus Christ. I am absolutely positive that Jesus would have been friends with people who were homosexual. He would have gone out of His way to talk with them, to show love to them. But He would not have left them as He found them. Just as the prostitute repented of her lifestyle after encountering Jesus, and the taxpayer who stole repented of his, just as so many more who were living lifestyles of sin changed their ways at the experience of the person of Jesus, I believe He would have lovingly called homosexuals to a higher way of life. One that brought them life to the full, and not pre-mature death.

If you wonder why I believe that homosexuality is harmful to those that participate in it as a lifestyle, you can read this article or this article or this article, amoung many. All you have to do is goodle "why is homosexuality harmful?" for a plethora of information. I could not bring myself to write about the very heart breaking physical consequences that come from a homosexual lifestyle, and I caution you if you are going to read these articles, as they are quite descriptive of exactly what a homosexual lifestyle entails and why it is so dangerous, both to the individuals who participate and to our society as a whole. I will say this: the Bible forbids sexual practices that cause harm to the human body as we were not designed to function in that way. It is not to limit us, but to protect us that these boundaries are in place. Break the boundaries, and there are serious, measurable consequences.

"Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the ability to choose to do what is right."

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