by Amy Hyles
Since Friday’s historic ruling, my social media feeds have been splashed with rainbows and rants. Everyone has an opinion on the issues, and no one is shy to express it.
But buried beneath the paint swatches and debates is a question we Christians began asking but have yet to answer. When the confetti has settled and we are left to live with the mess we are not permitted to clean, how are we supposed to interact with our society? Do we accept or reject those who oppose ourselves and the teachings of the Bible?
On one end of the spectrum are those who want to bar anyone who disagrees with them from entering their doors. They mistake hatred for holiness and cannot discern sin from sincerity.
On the other end are those who, in the name of love, welcome every religion, lifestyle, and opinion into their church family with open arms, refusing to condemn anything as wrong or sinful or to ask anyone to change. They market to the masses and wrap truth beneath layers of political correctness and popular culture, because after all, we don’t want to offend anyone.
In the middle stand the majority of us, being tugged in every direction by the other two. Those who believe sin is sin, but who also believe in the forgiving grace of God. We want to share the truth with others. But we are caught in the middle of a culture war and simply do not know what to do.
So how should we Christians approach those who oppose ourselves? Should we accept or reject those who disagree with God’s Word?
The answer is simple, yet shocking.
We do neither.
It is not the Christian’s job to accept or reject anyone. It is the Christian’s responsibility to present the Gospel to everyone and allow each person to decide to accept or reject Christ.
The decision is not ours. It is theirs.
Contemporary Christianity has it backwards. We have been a Christian society that has decided that it is our responsibility to accept or reject individuals into our churches, our social circles, and even into the family of God. But that is not what God ever intended.
God does accept and reject individuals–but on one condition–their acceptance of Christ. God accepts all who believe in His Son Jesus as the Savior, and He rejects all who reject Jesus. After all, Jesus is the one and only way to the Father–no man comes to the Father but by Him.
Christians are in conflict today because instead of preaching the Gospel and allowing everyone who hears to make their own decision, we have tried to coax unbelieving hearts into joining our cause. We have been so desperate to keep anyone from rejecting Christ that we have taken away their choice, their free will to take or not take salvation, and have instead accepted them–without God’s one condition of accepting Christ.
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Except they accept, they cannot be accepted into the family of God.
The truth is it is Christ who is accepted or rejected. He came into the world, which was made by Him, but the world did not know or accept Him. He came unto His own, but His own did not receive Him. But those who did receive Him were made sons of God (John 1:10-12). He came to be accepted or rejected by men.
Jesus is the only factor. He is the One who has been discriminated against. He is the One whose rights were stripped away. He is the One who was denied by many. He is the One who was tried wrongfully, beaten, mangled, spit on, mocked, and hung like a criminal on a tree for everyone to see. He is the One who poured His blood for the very people who killed Him. And He is the only One who needs to be accepted, for He provides forgiveness and life to everyone who believes on Him.
No, Christian, it is not our job to accept or reject the sinner. It is our job to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every Creature–so that every person on this earth has the opportunity to hear about our Savior and accept Him.
It is not our job to hide our Christian paraphernalia to make unbelievers feel comfortable in our church home. It is our job to offend them with God’s free offer of grace.
It is not our job to turn away everyone who thinks, dresses, or lives differently than us. It is our job to tell them how they can be transformed by faith in Jesus Christ.
And it is not our job to accept or reject the homosexual. It is our job to tell them that all have sinned and all deserve eternal death. But God loved all of us so much that He sent His Son to die for all. And all we have to do is accept Him and His salvation.
The Great Commission is not to accept everyone. It is not to reject anyone. It is to go into the world and preach the Gospel to everyone. The fabric of our society has been stained a multicolored blotch, but Jesus commands us to seek the unbelieving, find the sinful heart, feel compassion for the lost, and do everything within our power to reach down and pull them out of the pit they are dangling over. Extend the love, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to all–and let them choose their own fate.
Except they accept, they will not be accepted. Accept that.
by Amy Hyles