No doubt you have heard different opinions and arguments on same-sex marriage. Often folks say that as Christians we are to just love people and to be loving, we are to be a people of tolerant acceptance. However, there is a difference between showing a person Gods love and accepting someone’s behaviors and beliefs. In other words, loving others is not the same as tolerating sin.
At a conference a while back, well-known evangelist Louis Palau invited Portland, Oregon’s openly homosexual mayor Tom Potter onto the stage to speak about their partnership in addressing the cities issues of homelessness, trafficking, etc. The Louis Palau Association, a Christian organization, partnered with a progressively secular city government to serve the needs of the disadvantaged in their community.
The Mayor and Palau discussed that although they did not agree on the issue of homosexuality, they were able to work together. In this daring example the Palau Association demonstrated the ability to love others without backing down on their understanding of truth and the results have been astounding!
Being that SFC is a relationally based ministry we constantly talk about loving people in this way. But where does this love come from? Is it truly the love of Christ? If the love we are sharing with others is really from Christ, why are we afraid to stand on the truth that Christ proclaimed? Often I am afraid of rejection. This fear holds me back and excuses me from sharing truth. Far too often we rely on ‘relational evangelism’ to excuse ourselves from boldly sharing the truth of Jesus Christ because we fear rejection. We excel at building ‘relationships’ with people and disregard the ‘evangelism’ aspect. We forsake the gospel for the sake of the relationship. In essence we say that we love people, yet we withhold the very truth that will set them free because we fear our own rejection. My friends, that is a selfish endeavor not rooted in the love of Jesus Christ whatsoever!
Christ made it known that we would be rejected because of him. Relational evangelism is not building a relationship with hopes to someday share the truth. Relational evangelism is simultaneously sharing the love and truth of Jesus Christ through a relationship from day one. Throughout Jesus life we see him proclaiming the truth boldly and demanding immediate repentance from sin. No less, no more and at the same time Jesus loved people, took care of their needs and made disciples through a relationship over a lifetime. Love and truth cannot be separated. John Piper says, “Love lives by truth and burns by truth and stands on truth.” The two must exist together.