By Rebecca Frazer, Staff Writer
In last week’s Collegian, Iris James wrote a moving defense of true love. She spoke of the pain and condemnation that those who identify as LGBT have faced and wrote, “Our friends will be rescued. Our families will be rescued. It’s a militant hope that we have…I’m fighting for true love to be seen and felt.” While I admired her vulnerability and passion, a key definition was missing: true love.
What does Love do when your friends have chosen sin as their embraced identity? If your friend says, “I like heroin and that’s just who I am” or, “I enjoy watching porn every night—it’s part of how I’m wired and I need that stimulation” does Love respond, “I’m so happy you’ve found the freedom to be yourself—let’s get ice-cream!”?
No. Love explains to the friend that heroine could kill her, that pornography is tearing apart his future family and that by embracing earthly pleasures she is rejecting eternal community with the One who can truly make her whole. Love says, “I will walk with you in this struggle and never leave your side. I love you unconditionally, no matter what you do. But as part of that love, I refuse to sit by silently and watch you destroy yourself.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Further, 1 John 3:9 explains, “ No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” This is a difficult doctrine for much of the church (and even Asbury) to embrace. Yet Scripture is crystal clear: true Christians don’t make a practice of sinning. If we embrace sin—including homosexual sin—instead of fight it, we place ourselves in eternal peril.
Am I saying that if you have been an adulterer, an idolater or committed homosexual sin you are doomed? Absolutely not! ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23)—the beauty of the Jesus’ sacrifice is that we are washed clean when we repent, deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Jesus. And if we fail again, God’s grace is abundant—always cleansing us when we repent: “[I]f anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). But sin is no longer our embraced lifestyle: it is something we are called to resist to the death (Heb 12:4).
So the question remains. Asbury, have we encountered the true God and died to sin with Him? And when we love, will our love be painless but powerless, or a holy love that truly heals? At Asbury, and to the farthest reaches of the earth, may we lay down our lives for true love and nothing less.