Monday, May 21, 2007

Love as Acts of Service

One of my good friends asked me recently, his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, why I was calling homosexuals "the enemy." I've tried really hard to figure out how to write this post without doing that. I don't believe that the gay community is my enemy, or the enemy of the church or of morality or whatever. As we discussed last time, it's not that simple. There are enemies of good in every community, inside and outside the organized church and the organized homosexual community. Evil is real. "Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you..." said God to Cain in Genesis 4.7 (NIV). Evil is in the world. And wherever it is, it can only be overcome with good.

We have been saying that love involves at least 3 things: relationship, service, and sacrifice. Today I want to write a little about service. Let's start back with the words of Jesus that originally launched this discussion:
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6.27-31 (NIV)
Our culture demands getting even. But Jesus radically says that getting even cannot be the Way of the Jesus-follower. The Way involves serving even those who mistreat you. When someone hits you, physically or emotionally or whatever, don't hit back and get even. Offer another opportunity to display the radical love of Christ. [I'm not here talking about relationships of abuse--that's not what Jesus was talking about either. He's talking about those who are treated poorly because they do good.]

So, those who follow the Way of Jesus need to figure out how they can serve the homosexual community in the name of Christ. And it should be radical. It will be criticized by those who believe the stance of morality is to try and use every means possible to stamp out or marginalize sin. Evil can only be overcome with radical good, which means acts of service.

How do we do this? Well, it starts again with relationship. We need to be with gay and lesbian people and build relationships with them and love them. What kinds of acts of service should we do? First, we should do the things we do for anyone we have a relationship with. Invite them over for dinner, give them gifts on their birthday, include them to family activities. Don't shun, don't ostracize, don't ignore. If you get called names, respond with love and service, not anger and hatred.

Second, as a community of followers of the Way of Jesus, we need to serve the gay community when it is mistreated. If a person is beaten up or mistreated because they are gay, it should be Christ-followers who are first to point out this evil. We should be involved in promoting laws that protect all those among us, regardless of what we think about their lifestyles. We should carefully consider how we can promote the liberty of all, not excusing evil in any form.

Only good will overcome evil. Only service to others displays true love. Even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

May my life be a river of service to the world.

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