Softness and love aren’t synonyms

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. -Proverbs 27:6

My sister informed me that someone said this on Oprah today: “Being gay is a gift from God.”

Says who? Not the Bible.

American culture has imbibed this phony gospel of tolerance, which is really nothing but universalism in new packaging. It’s the belief that God will eventually save everyone and our responsibility to others is to be nice to them. Many evangelicals are influenced by this, telling us that God is love. True, but incomplete. They may go so far as to say sodomy isn’t natural, but we all have our struggles, and really, who are we to judge?

The answer is that we judge no one. God does. He has judged sodomy in His word. We just proclaim that judgment.

Our culture equates love with softness and hugs. Bluntness and solemn warnings are seen as hard and hurtful, and thus expressions of hatred. Love is soft, hate is hard. Even those who admit that sodomy is sin will often say that it just bothers them how “hateful” so many act. Press them and they’ll mutter about the late Jerry Falwell and those nutty folks from that tiny, uninfluential Kansas church who carry the “God hates fags” signs.

Certainly we should humbly acknowledge that we are foul sinners, and vary our methods maturely (Jude 1:24), but you simply can’t square with Scripture this idea that love is nothing but softness. When David says “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,” is the shepherd using the rod to scratch the sheep’s back? Are the “faithful wounds” of a friend caresses? Much of the Old Testament involves God warning people of judgment. Jesus warns people over and over again, in quite brutal terms, of what will come of the unrepentant. The common pattern of preaching episodes in the Gospels and the Epistles was a warning of the judgment to come and a call for repentance, and then the hearers responding with shouts, stones, and clubs. The Apostles weren’t doing group hug seminars, but were they loving people by warning them? Of course they were!

Some Christians tell us that the Gospel needs to be our offense. That is, we shouldn’t offend people over “side issues.” Well, a more Biblical stance is to offend the world specifically in those areas (if they are indeed sins). That’s what Christ did. He didn’t talk about homosexuality with the Pharisees, but he did spend a lot of time attacking self-righteousness. Why? Because the Pharisees were guilty of that sin. Peter and Paul warned the Gentiles often against fornication. Why? Because that’s what they were tempted to do.

When we speak against sins the culture doesn’t get too upset about (bestiality and theft for example), but avoid cherished sins like sodomy, abortion, feminism, and unbiblical divorce, aren’t we just being fearful? Don’t we need to act like men and stop pretending like fearfulness is love?

Either we’re going to follow God’s way or we aren’t. As Ryle put it:

Holiness is the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing with God’s judgment – hating what He hates, loving what He loves- and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. The person who most completely agrees with God is the one who is the most holy person.

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