Priest Or Samaritan?

It seems impossible in today’s society to experience a twenty-four hour stretch without encountering some form of violence in its various mutations. Violence however, does not necessarily have to be physical. I believe that some of the most heinous and brutal crimes against humanity have been of a psychological and spiritual nature. Just today I witnessed what I feel was a spiritual mugging, perpetrated by a Christian against another human being. I felt as if I had just walked around a corner only to catch the tail end of a brutal beating, feeling helpless and out-of-breath as I watched the assailant run away.

Here is how it unfolded. As I was eating lunch I turned on my radio, tuning in to a popular conservative radio talk show. My mind began to absorb the conversation, and as I began to mentally pan across the scene, I witnessed the crime. The topic was same sex marriage and whether or not it should become legal. It seems that everyone on the planet has a strong opinion about this topic right now, and it seems that you would have to be hanging out with the mars rovers not to have a viewpoint. There were two people in the debate. Almost trite, there was the homosexual advocate and the extreme right wing conservative Christian. Of course this is the type of match-up that makes for good radio. But as I tuned in near the twelfth round, I witnessed the Christian come out of the corner and doing his best Mike Tyson impression, ended the match with an ill-timed, illegal bite at the other contestant.

The debate was about the legality of same sex marriage, and the same sex advocate had just wrapped up a monologue on why she believes that homosexual couples should reap some of the same societal and legal benefits as heterosexual couples. Then the Christian was given the floor. The Christian began to tell this woman that God would not stand for this type of sin and that marriage is between a man and a woman because the Bible unequivocally states this, even though it was obvious that the woman did not consider the Bible to be any type of canon in her life. He went on to say that before ending the conversation (mugging) he must “share” with her that Jesus loves her and that if she, or the rest of the homosexuals, just gave Him a chance He would change their perverted ways and allow them to enjoy the beauty of a real marriage. This person, who should have been representing the love of Christ, just used the cross as a baseball bat. And isn’t it ironic that the cross, which represents truth and love, when used in the absence of love is a source of torture and pain, both in antiquity and present?

The woman ended the “conversation” by saying in a mocking tone, “thank-you so much, I am so glad that you shared that with me.” How absolutely horrible! I believe that this woman was spiritually and psychologically mugged. This Christian brother beat her with “truth” and ran off with her spiritual purse, only to pad his witnessing wallet. I wanted to run to her and comfort her, telling her that Jesus really did love her, but not in an abusive and brutal way. I think that this is something that the whole homosexual community needs to hear from the Christians. That Jesus does love them, and that His love is so complete that they do not have to fear coming near Him. In His perfect love He will bring about the needed change. Don’t you think that homosexuals have experienced enough rejection to fill many lifetimes? Wasn’t Jesus’ death the opposite of rejection?

What is missing in the lives of many Christians is acceptance and love of fellow humanity. By acceptance I do not mean acquiescence of sin; however, we cannot expect to affect change in people, communities, and ultimately the world without love. Love covers all sins (Prov. 10:12), and it should be the very thing that marks our lives as Christians. Doesn’t the bible mention something about being known by our love (John 13:35)? Love seems like a desert mirage in much of the church today. Shouldn’t we be much more than the vain hope of refreshment to a thirsty world?

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[Nathan and his wife live in northern California. They are both recent graduates of Colorado Christian University and have an intense desire for missions and ministry.]

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