People's opinions are all over the map. You know, there is an old saying from an ancient philosopher, Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry) that comes to mind. "Opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one." [Sorry about the bad word popping in there.]
Why is this issue attracting so much attention? Because a Christian said it? Before I tell you what MY opinion is on the whole LGBT / gay rights / free speech issue, I thought it would be a good idea for us to take a deep breath and read a wee little story about a wee little man - Zacchaeus.
"19 He (Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” - Luke 19:1-10
Let's glean some facts out of this "short" little story. (How can I be this funny at 5:00 AM?!)
- Zacchaeus was a sinner. The crowd knew it (v2, v7). So did Jesus . . . even before they met.
- Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus (v3). And Jesus wanted to see him as well (v5).
- Zacchaeus went out of his way to see Jesus (v4)
- The crowd had an opinion about Zacchaeus (again v2).
- The crowd was also forming an opinion about Jesus (v7)
- Zacchaeus repented of his sins (v8)
- Jesus forgave Zacchaeus (v9)
- Jesus came to save every sinner, not just Zacchaeus (v10). Also see Romans 3:23 - "For ALL have sinned and fall short . . ."
While "the crowd" was unforgiving and accusatory towards Zacchaeus, and even Jesus, Our Savior met Zacchaeus with love and understanding. Then, over an evenings dinner conversation, explained things in a clear concise manner, to the point where Zacchaeus realized his sin and repented.
That is exactly how we should handle situations with ANYONE caught in ANY sin. The tax collector, the person cheating on their taxes, those having sex outside of marriage, those downloading songs without paying for them . . . even those who print off copies of the family Christmas letter at work without compensating the company. We are ALL sinners. We ALL need Jesus. We were ALL created in the image of God.
A few interesting facts from this "ducky" situation . . .
One headline I read exclaimed, "Robertson equates homosexuality with beastiality." That's actually a little inaccurate, attributing that statement to Robertson. The newspaper should learn to check its sources more correctly. Robertson was merely quoting from Leviticus 20. GOD is the one who said it. Both of those activities, along with adultery and dishonoring your father or mother, were punishable by death under Levitical law.
Christianity is not the only religion that frowns on a homosexual "lifestyle." Present day Islamic homosexuals are treated a little differently from the Christian church of today.
In 1991, the Iranian Government adopted this not quite so LGBT friendly law into their Constitution (articles 108-113). It stated that "Sodomy is a crime, for which both partners are punished. The punishment is death if the participants are adults, of sound mind and consenting; the method of execution is for the Shari'a judge to decide."
It will be interesting to see what happens next. My guess is that the Robertson family will stick by the head of the family. A&E will be forced to either retract their suspension (that, in my opinion, will never happen) or run the risk of losing their #1 hit show to another network where it will be assured of having a top ranking because of all of this publicity. I feel like A&E has lit a fuse that leads to a great big pile of smoldering Christians.
But whatever your opinion is on this issue, when it comes right down to it, all of us are sinners. We are all deserving of death for our sins. But by placing our faith in Jesus, the one perfect lamb who already received our punishment, our sins are washed clean. But like Jesus told the woman caught in adultery . . .
"Go, and sin no more."
And my opinion? Well, my opinion on this entire issue is that . . . I'm with God. Whatever he says is good enough for me. And that, again in my opinion, is how ALL Christians should feel. Jesus is our King. We are his subjects. He is our teacher. We are His students. He is our shepherd. We are His sheep. Let us listen for the sound of His voice in whatever we do. If we are truly followers of Christ, we know the sound of God's voice. Our call is to simply obey.