Rebuke and Love

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It all started with my post on Facebook that McDonald’s had entered the fray for LGBTQ rights by showing support for an upcoming march with rainbow French fry boxes. This led to a conversation/debate with a long-time acquaintance after she stated that she, too supported gay rights. At the conclusion, it reinforced to me that our defiance toward God, our selfishness, our ego, our sin is in fact deadly to us. Not just spiritually, but physically, as well. I believe that it you were to ask her, she would tell you that I am closed-minded, and unrealistic. (Actually, she stated that in the post.) It probably didn’t help matters that a few others joined in, telling her she was wrong. It was not my intent to attack or criticize her, but to lovingly express to her the problem with sin, and the results it causes.

The reality set in when one of my friends explained to her his side of the issue by citing the death of his brother. His brother had moved to San Francisco, because of his love for another man. He later contracted AIDS, and died of the complications associated with the disease. You see, it not only affects the sinner, but those of us who love them. It devastated him and his family.

And it doesn’t matter the sin, because all have deadly consequences. Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual sin, all can result in physical death. We love to gloss over the bad connotations by giving them acceptable names like “disease”, “affair”, or any one of another less offensive term. It still doesn’t make it right, or any more acceptable in God’s eyes.

But how do we correct those who believe that there isn’t anything wrong, and openly accept the sin? This can be especially tricky when the sinner is close to you, either family or friend. “What if your son, daughter, or grandchild came to you and proudly announced that they are gay?” she posed to me. My answer was, “I would continue to love them, but do everything in my power to convince them that what they were doing was wrong.”

Saying that you will continue to love them may be difficult. I’m sure that there would be a number of emotions you would go through, such as disappointment, anger, and frustration, just to name a few. How do you keep your composure through the conversations and arguments? How do you keep from alienating them? Keep telling them that you love them. Rely on God and don’t stop praying!

Wouldn’t it just be easier to ignore the sin and keep the peace? Maybe, but that’s not what we are told to do. “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” (Luke 17:3). This will require boldness on your part, but Jesus tells us that we can’t ignore it. Keep in mind that their life depends on it. Also, understand that they may not repent. They may have hardened their hearts to the point that they will not stop sinning. That is between them and God, and you may not have any impact on the situation. Don’t stop praying and loving, though.

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