It seems over the last week, there have been endless articles, blogs, and posts about the NFL draft last weekend. The only problem…very few of them are about football. Instead, most have been about Michael Sam and his now infamous kiss with his boyfriend. Some of the writings have sought to encourage him, others to discourage him. Some have been about the obvious double standard of the media and its coverage of Tim Tebow. In regards to the latter, it is blatantly obvious that Tim Tebow was unfairly tried in the court of public opinion for his faith and it was clear that the national media only used his faith as a fiscal opportunity to create controversy. It is true that Michael Sam has been exalted as a hero for his decision and it is true that Tim Tebow was ridiculed. But none of this surprise us, as the church. The world loves sin and the darkness, and darkness hates the light.
While I don’t pretend to have much more to offer to the conversation that has already been written endlessly about, there are a few thoughts that have run through my mind over the past few days as I have taken everything in.
First, Michael Sam is a human being in need of the Light and Love of Christ. I do not know him personally, I do not agree with his lifestyle, and I do not view him as a hero (even if he were a heterosexual male). I do not know of his spiritual condition, whether he professes to be a believer in Christ. But, he is a human life, created in the image of God. He was created for a purpose, that purpose was to bear the image of the One who created him. God created Michael for His own Glory, just as He created you and me. My prayer for Michael is that he will find the satisfaction for his soul in Christ Jesus. As John Piper often says, “God is most magnified when I am most satisfied in Him.” Satisfaction in Christ comes with complete surrender of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus. It comes when we trust in Jesus Christ, Him alone, for the salvation of our souls, for the deliverance of our sins. With that trust and faith comes a new standard that is God’s standard – we die to ourselves and our selfish desires, we live according to God’s standards, as given to us in His holy Word. My prayer is that Michael will be satisfied in life and satisfaction can only come through Christ and His redemptive work on the cross.
Second, the issue with “the kiss” goes much deeper than the conversation has taken us so far. On the one hand, we are told by the homosexual community that what they do in the privacy of their homes and who they love is “none of my business.” On the other hand, in this case, it is flaunted in front of my eyes at an NFL draft. It seems to me to be a logical conundrum. I heard an interesting debate over this very issue the other day, sparing you the minutes of details….one of the commentators said it “is time that we get comfortable with seeing homosexual individuals kissing in public.” He continued…”As a society, we have decided that this lifestyle is acceptable and now we must give to them the same benefits of public displays of affection as we would a heterosexual couple.” I thought about this for a few moments…I agree. Before you start throwing stones, let me explain. Isn’t the problem much deeper than just the homosexual vs. heterosexual debate? Isn’t the problem our increasingly televised and published sexual displays of affection in general? There was a time it was considered scandolous to show a couple in the same bedroom – they would at least be shown with two seperate beds (remember “I Love Lucy”?). Then it became acceptable to show them in one bed, but never under the sheets. Soon it was acceptable to show them under the sheets, but it was clear they were clothed…but alas, the slippery slope had begun…today the sheets have been removed along with the clothes. But for all of the complaining about the kiss, where is the outrage for the heterosexual pornography our families are subjected to while trying to watch the SuperBowl? My point is this: we lost the ability to complain about homosexual displays of affection in public when we made it acceptable for the media and entertainment industry to broadcast “ALL” sexually charged displays of affection in public. In my opinion, the entire culture needs to take a step back to privacy and allow some things to be kept secret, within the boundaries of marriage.
Third, while all of the conversation has been about equality, sexuality, and freedom in the media; the church missed a great opportunity. Our conversation should not be driven by the culture, because the world loves sin. There is an old addage, “He who holds the microphone last wins the argument.” We gave the microphone to the media and allowed them to guide the conversation. In reality, the issues that surround Michael Sam could be summed up in one issue…the Gospel. If the church (speaking of the whole bride of Christ and not just the local assembly) would focus on preaching the gospel, if we would be burdened for the lost, stories like this would decrease. The reason…the media always reflects the values of it’s subscribers. In order to change the media, you have to change the values of the society as a whole. The only way to change the values of our society…the Gospel. The church needs to be passionate about presenting the gospel to all people, even those whom we disagree with. We need to be more passionate than ever, because we are losing ground, about making famous our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we make Jesus famous, He will deal with the sin. He will change a person from the inside out. Only Jesus can heal the pain of our society. And so…let’s make Him famous.
My conclusion: Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am the worst. On the cross of Calvary, the love and justice of God met face to face. There on that cruel cross, He satisfied the wrath of God the Father that was against me for every sinful thought and deed I would ever commit. He saved me not because of anything good or redeemable about me, rather, He saved me out of His lovingkindness towards me. I accepted this free gift of salvation through simple, childlike faith in Jesus. I believed that what He did on the cross, He did for me. And I placed all of my trust and dependence fully upon Christ, for without Him I would be lost eternally. When I had not the faith to believe, He gave it to me, because even faith itself is the gift of God (Ephesians 2). Because Christ saved me completely and perfectly, I am satisified and live for Him. I am not perfect, not even good. But because of what Christ did, I stand before the Father justified and accepted. This is my prayer for Michael, it is my prayer for you. Let’s make Jesus famous!
Held By Grace, Pastor Chris