For better or worse?

I was munching a grilled salmon salad when the lunch conversation casually turned to rehearsal dinner plans for a child about to marry — a member of the same sex.  The partner-to-be is smart, good-looking, from a wonderful family.

“They’re going to be so happy!”

I’m not homophobic, but I was surprised. I was raised in the Deep South, where such things simply aren’t discussed in “polite conversation.”

Everybody may know the bank president is a closet drinker, that incestuous uncle Lou invites young nieces to sit on his lap, that the handsome young school teacher embraces an alternate lifestyle. But nobody talks about it publicly.

After some thought, it occurred to me that this parent had no more reason to conceal joy over a homosexual union than a Christian parent who is joyful about their child marrying an unbeliever.  Both practices equally flout God’s established order.

Yet, church people who are up in arms over homosexual marriage and/or civil union are mum when it comes to commonplace church weddings between believers and unbelievers. The Bible, however, is pretty vocal.

When God was preparing to give His people the land He had promised, a land inhabited by idolaters, he said plainly: Don’t intermarry with your unbelieving neighbors. “They will lead your young people away from me to worship other gods.”

Their unsuitability as spouses was all about the direction of their lives: away from the true God.  It had nothing to do with their race, education, socio-economic status or sexual preference.  And the prohibition on intimacy with such people didn’t end with the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, Christians are warned not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. It’s a farm analogy. Picture an ox and a donkey yoked together at the neck for the purpose of working together. These animals have different temperaments, builds, strengths.  They do not bear the load equally. Instead of working together, they pull against one another, at odds rather than in sync.

In a marriage, that’s a hell of a life, literally.

At least in a homosexual union, the two ostensibly share a common lifestyle. The unequally yoked scenario attempts to forge a lifetime connection between two people headed in opposite directions. It’s like getting on a plane to Maine hand-cuffed to someone whose connecting flight is going to Miami.

Yet, so-called Christians routinely marry handsome, well-to-do, “nice” unbelieving people. Any wonder the divorce rate among Christians is no better than the national average?

My response to the wedding revelation? I smiled, said “Oh, really?” and listened to the rest of the story. No right-wing lecture from me. Too many people who preach against homosexuality have their own problems. My job as a Christian is to love people and to personally live “soberly, righteously and godly” before them.

Besides, I have my own children, and I’m mindful of the Bible admonition: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin.”

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