February 27, 2014

Veto-ed Arizona Bill...Not so Bad

The news is just chocked full of crazy, polarizing events these days. So much so that I quit watching. I used to tune in at 6:00 to watch Brian Williams, or have the Today Show running the background while I puttered around the house each morning. Finally I decided it was just too much listening to all these stories. I would get emotionally wrapped around many of the issues. Some stories even triggered my inner voice to actually well, speak out loud. To the television. With no one else around. Probably should have that checked out... 

Anyway, I happened to turn the TV on this morning as I got ready to leave for the day. Matt Lauer commented on the bill Arizona was trying to pass that would allow businesses to refuse service to people who live a gay lifestyle. It was vetoed yesterday by Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer. Her reasons? The law would cause more hurt and damage than benefit, creating a culture of discrimination. 

You know, I thought I would be upset over this--after all, it is important to me that we help steer the country on the right moral path. HOWEVER. Yes, that's a big however. HOWEVER: I think this leader happened to make a pretty smart move. If the bill were to go into affect, the entire state of Arizona would be playing into Satan's hands. They would create an environment of hate. Instead, Gov. Brewer opened the door to more conversation. 

What kind of conversation? Some might view it as a conversation of accepting all types of people. Some might say this move (or lack thereof) is a step in the right direction. But Gov. Brewer did not say she was vetoing the bill because she wanted to "get with the times."  She simply stated that the bill "'...could divide Arizona in ways we could not even imagine.'" And I agree with that. If states started refusing services to people based on one type of sin, well shouldn't we start refusing service for other kinds of sins too? Divorce, murder, lying, squandering, same sex behavior, premarital sex, the list goes on. A sin is a sin, is a sin.  

It is curious that our society does hold people to certain moral code. Murder, for instance, is against the law. Stealing and fraud are against the law. Rape is against the law. Society has deemed these behaviors as harmful as a whole. The moral code has ebbed and flowed throughout history. Some cultures did not believe killing other people was wrong. Some cultures did not believe having multiple sex partners was wrong. Our culture used to believe that drinking alcohol was wrong but smoking tobacco was okay. It used to be illegal to divorce one's spouse. It is currently acceptable to kill an unborn baby. My point here is that the human race--since the beginning of time--have revised what we understand to be right and wrong. We are constantly discovering God, while constantly being lured by Satan. Our history is an incredible reflection of that battle. 

As humans, we are called to love our Creator. If one is not raised in a Christian family, it is more abstract for a young child to recognize that the goodness in his/her life is God. But people realize God is love every day. A child, teenager, and even an adult will question where love comes from. The answer may not always be clear, but eventually--in life or upon death--people will see that love is from our Creator. Throughout our lives we have opportunities to encounter His love, to learn how to love Him, to share in His love. Constantly building a stronger, more trusting relationship. Many times, we can't keep this profound love to ourselves. We can't help but want others to also know God.

I think this is why many Christians work so hard to correct sinful behaviors. Those who know God, who have a relationship with Him, understand that sin drives a wedge between us and God. Some people may not realize this, so logically education is key. The most straightforward path seems to be educating people about what is wrong. While these crusaders might proceed with the best of intentions, they constantly encounter unexpected blockades. See, God created all people with free will--the freedom to choose how to live, whether to act out of love for Him or not--and a plethora of emotion. Hurt, anger, joy, grief, jealousy, awe, peace, pride, excitement. As freely as we choose to love God, another person freely chooses to not love Him. Therefore, our goal of sharing God's love can be shot down. Over, and over, and over again. This may lead to discouragement, frustration, bitterness. Without realizing it, people who started out with the best of intentions begin to spread God's love out of hurt. Those people translate their hurt into acts of judgment. Discrimination. Hatred. 

These intentions of love have just been hijacked by the Evil One. Satan is merely using the pain we feel--the pain expressed as discouragement, frustration and bitterness--as fuel for his fire. He latches on, feeding us lies about how we can "better" fight the fight. Satan can tell us that men are only out to use women for sex, better provide an avenue for "freedom" with birth control. He tells us that babies will ruin our lives, taking time away from what we want to do. Therefore, he provides "rational" thought for terminating pregnancies. Satan can even feed us lies about how to defeat him. He might suggest that we must be aggressive. That we should take up war with sinners. To fight in such a way that proclaims the good news and corrects bad behavior. Yelling at women from the safety of our computer screens, shaming them [unintentionally] for succumbing to their fear, their pain. Or, creating laws that allow businesses to ban people who choose to partake is same sex practices. Those who love God are angry that Satan appears to be winning if people are legally allowed to behave in a sinful way. That anger is exactly what Satan is counting on. 

It is important to continue to help others see how sin can be bad for us, how sin just feeds the fire of anger, isolation, unrest. But. It is more important to show others how God's love will heal. To show them who God is. That He Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior. That He is a new born child. That He is the Creator of all things. That God is LOVE. 

We all must learn to share God's love by loving. 

Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated. It is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Legally protecting people who choose to live the gay life style is incredibly controversial today. It is disheartening to me because same sex behavior--and the support of that behavior--can drive a deep wedge between a person and God as well as between God and the children who are part of such a lifestyle. I like to think our laws are meant to protect the well-being of all people, but that is not always the case. Nevertheless, we can still love the person who chooses to sin in such a way. We can do our best to welcome them into our lives, seeing them as children of God, a children like you and me. We can love them the same way we love a person who chooses to partake in pre-marital sex. Or a person who chose to terminate a pregnancy. Or a person who swears or says spiteful things about others. Because we all slip up. We are all sinners. Sadly, we are all sinners. 

But there is hope. So much hope! We can stumble. We can crash and burn. And yet, if we want to, if we chose to, we can change our hearts. We can tell Satan no. We can ask God to forgive us. Then we might stumble again. And again, we ask for forgiveness and the grace to live more Christ-like. Today, as part of the vast human race we continue to be players in the greatest story ever told. I am grateful that Gov. Brewer offered an act of love rather than hate in this week's history. She reminded us to love the sinner, reject the sin. 

P.S. if you're looking for more lovely musings check out the other contributors at Conversion Diary - 7 posts, 7 days! 

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth,

    The depth of your wisdom in combination with your true talent with words just continues to amaze and humble me!

    Your insights into a matter fraught with so many complex ities speak to the very heart of the matter without diversion by the many accompanying arguments and side bar commentaries.

    My heart and soul applaud your words, I feel awed, honored and blessed to call you family, and I thank you for all of the ways that you use your courage and love to help make this world a better place.

    p.s. did you see ? LA Times last weekend... once people start determining who they will/will not serve based on matters such as same sex partners, etc. then we risk all of the rights and freedoms that our country was founded on..... and like a snowballbgrolling downhill, it rapidly gains size and momentum taking on a life of its own...