Inviting God’s Judgement

Photo: Chick-fil-A

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the folks at Chick-fil-A are in the middle of another firestorm.  This one revolves around President and CEO Dan Cathy’s public assertion that legalizing same-sex marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise because the folks that run Chick-fil-A are proud “God-fearing conservatives” who do good business in a country that has made a big business out of giving people the freedom to do whatever they feel they need to do.

The folks at Chick-fil-A felt they needed to make a statement about marriage.

Not surprisingly, many people didn’t like their statement.

As an American I believe that the people behind America’s best chicken sandwich not only have a right broadcast to their opinion, but that a same-sex marriage supporting chicken supplier does as well.

Where things take a bit of a left turn for me is when I weigh these American freedoms against being a God-fearing man myself.

While I believe that everybody has a constitutional right to present their opinion, and some have the money and prestige to present it to a national audience, I also believe that God-fearing people have the additional obligation to so in such a way that draws people to God, as opposed to slapping them across the face.

For example, Scripture makes it very clear that whenever humans sin, we are inviting God’s judgement on ourselves.  It also presents that there was a time before the sacrifice of Jesus that God actively poured out his wrath on entire nations.. immediately.

What is not often presented alongside these truths is that the Biblical nation most often on the receiving end of Divine Judgement is the nation of people that he chose, then consecrated for himself.  After establishing a covenant with these people, God held them accountable to their end of the bargain.

When his people failed, they were met with Divine punishment.

More often than not, people groups with no covenant relationship with God rose and fell, suffering the natural consequences of their sinful choices.  It was indirect punishment, allowed by God, as a result of the human curse, bondage to sin.  Sin giving birth to death is something that has happened of its own accord since the fall of man.

God has never entered into a covenant relationship with the people of America.

A significantly less offensive, yet still true, statement could have been made: “Legalizing same-sex marriage is likely to cause many people in our nation to continue to suffer the painful consequences that sin brings, but there is still hope in Jesus Christ.”

I say “less offensive” because the statement “…inviting God’s judgment on our nation”  carries the implication that “God is going to judge our nation (me) for something YOU did wrong.”  The idea that we should do our best to avoid suffering for the misdeeds of others is actually much more “American” (“why should I have to pay for someone else’s unemployment?”) than it is Christian ( I wish that I were accursed for the sake of my peopleRomans 9:3).

There are certain people in America (Christians) who have entered into a covenant relationship with God.

Those people are held to a high standard in regards to accurately representing the righteousness and holiness of God.  We will not merely suffer the natural consequences of poor choices, but the divine punishment of our Heavenly Father.

Invoking the judgement of God as a preemptive measure against an entire nation, to oppose a specific act of “sin legalization”, actually makes a giant leap over the many sins committed daily by people who have entered into a covenant with God, common sins that no one is going on T.V. to talk about.

Doing this makes us out to be the good guys, and leaves everybody else painted black.

Sometimes we make an impassioned statement, knowing that we are on the right end of an issue.  When we do, we often reveal the self-righteousness that lives at the end of “human arguments” for self-preservation.

Less often we make impassioned statements about the nature and glory of God, because we know that he is the only one wise and worthy.  But when we do we reveal HIS righteousness, and begin making spiritual arguments for a divine intervention that leads people away from destruction and into salvation.

God does punish sin.

He also allows the sin of others to negatively impact us.

We demonstrate human nature by fighting against people.

We demonstrate his Divine glory by fighting for them.

Today, have a sandwich and tell somebody that there’s freedom and life to be found in Jesus.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:17

19 Responses to “Inviting God’s Judgement”

  1. Andy Schreiber July 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    God has always judged nations (not just individuals) for their sins. You can’t read the Old Testament without running into that truth on a pretty regular basis.

    Why is it so often assumed that just because someone takes offense, that the statement must have been made in a self-righteous or unloving way?

    The Truetts have been vilified by some in the homosexual community simply for their financial support of pro-marriage/family organizations. Where is the outrage over that?

    And I have to wonder if the same hand-wringing would be applied if the group in question were those of a different sexual sin preference (e.g. adulterers, pedophiles, etc.). I highly doubt that. If not, why not?

    There is nothing unloving about calling sin “sin.” It may just be the thing that the Lord may use to draw someone to faith & repentance.

    • Jon July 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      I don’t disagree with you Andy, which is why I pointed out that all sin is inviting judgement. It’s just that no one can determine what that judgement looks like; sometimes God allows sin to run its natural course, and sometimes he steps in to quickly and severely interact.

      God promises to step in and act with his chosen people. To point out that one specific decision invites judgment without acknowledging that “we’re all bucking for a lightning bolt”, especially christians, is a subtle demonstration of hubris.

      When we make the “gay issue” all about the judgement of God, we’re basically saying that, “we’ll stand over here while you get your lightning bolt.” We do this to win human arguments as opposed to winning souls.

      Cathy could have made a statement about the righteousness and grace of God, as opposed to jumping headlong into the single interest politicization of one specific sin. In my experience that only serves to draw people away from the only hope they have.

      • Leslie D. Martin July 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

        When we make the “gay issue” all about the judgement of God, we’re basically saying that, “we’ll stand over here while you get your lightning bolt.”

        Except that they didn’t make the homosexual issue all about the judgement of God. As I read it they simply made it an issue of judgement. Rather like one kid telling another, “You’re gonna get us all in trouble if you do that.”

        As far as “standing over here while you get your lightning bolt”, unless I read the story wrong, I think that is essentially what God did for Lot and his family — he told them to “stand over here away from the lightning bolts”, protecting Lot and his family from the misdeeds of others.

        • Jon July 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

          They didn’t make the issue about the love Christ. Without the love of Christ, there is only judgement to be talked about. That’s what I’m talking about when I say we are held to a higher standard when we talk about the glory of God.

          As for Lot and his family, they weren’t called to live like Christ the way you and I are. I don’t recall Jesus standing aside while we all got the lightning that we deserved. The advent of Jesus makes all of the difference when it comes to how we live today.

  2. Leslie D. Martin July 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    “…less offensive”? I believe that falls within the boundaries of “the eyes of the beholder”. Based on my observations, I’d say that to supporters of the homosexual agenda anything less than 100% support of their agenda is 100% offensive and the only people who would consider “less offense” a statement such as you propose would be amoung those who oppose the homosexual agenda…but don’t want to offend anyone by actually opposing that agenda. I think that’s euphemistically called “go along to get along”. Or put another way, “wishy-washy”.

    • Jon July 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      There is always something offensive about pride Leslie. There’s a significant difference between being disappointed that someone doesn’t agree with your opinion and being offended by the messages packaged alongside it.

      My homosexual friends understand that we won’t agree about the issue of homosexuality, but they aren’t offended by my pridefulness. This means we can still communicate on a lot of really important topics, including Jesus.

      Your point isn’t about offense, it’s about agreement. You may be referring to activists you have observed, but I’m speaking in regards to people I love. They’re disappointed by our belief, offended by our overwhelming sense of pride and superiority.

      • Leslie D. Martin July 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

        “They’re disappointed by our belief, offended by our overwhelming sense of pride and superiority.”

        But my point is that they are “offended by our overwhelming sense of pride and superiority” even when it doesn’t exist. For it isn’t pride and superiority to say that something is sin.

        I’m reminded of the old saying, “Tact is the art of telling someone where to go and making them look forward to the trip.” But as a warning of the danger of ones actions (to themselves, to be sure, but also to others) “tact” is useless: What good is a “warning” of the consequences of sin if that warning is made “inoffensive”? If the warning is “inoffensive” then the message is clear that the so-called “sin” probably isn’t a sin and is itself “inoffensive”.

        Warnings are meant to be offensive, shocking and “in your face” to the person to which they are directed; They are meant to get a persons attention is such a way so that there is no excuse for misunderstanding. Anything less is no longer a warning but simply conversation for the sake of conversation.

        The consequences of legalizing homosexuality — making it “normal” — go far beyond just the consequences to those who are homosexuals. There are tremendous impacts on those who are not homosexuals; It isn’t just “do[ing] our best to avoid [our own] suffering for the misdeeds of others…”, it is also doing our best to avoid allowing innocent people to suffer for the misdeeds of others.

        • Jon July 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

          You really can’t support the argument that warnings are meant to be offensive. Warnings by nature are confrontative or interruptive, but they certainly don’t carry any intrinsic offense.

          Stop signs and high voltage notices aren’t offensive, but if you write, “I’ve stopped, but go ahead and die if you want to” on a sign is. Obviously someone can choose to be offended for no reason, and some do, but overlooked by almost all of your writing is the point that I made in the post: “We aren’t the best at realizing the implied messages included in our words.”

          Is it possible that your statements about Lot demonstrated the implicit message that it’s our job to stand by while God destroys the wicked? Because that’s the kind of message that it sent. Isn’t it also possible that you implicated me as a wishy washy person? Because that’s the message that you sent about me and anybody else who would have preferred a response from Mr. Cathy that included the hope of Jesus Christ.

          Each of those statements is an illustration of personal pride (from being on the perceived “right side” of an argument) that seeps through, and alienates listeners.

          This is the point of my entire post.

          Being “correct” usually gets in the way of speaking the truth in love.

          • Leslie D. Martin July 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

            I had a brilliant response :) but it got lost due to an error during posting. So, rather than trying to recreate the entire response, I’ll simply say this:

            Tough love is still love, and often more loving than trying to avoid “offending” someone (which is usually more about making sure that they love “us” than caring about them). Being “correct” may sometimes get in the way of speaking the truth in love; Being “politically correct” to avoid offending someone usually gets in the way of speaking the truth in any form.

            • Jon July 19, 2012 at 7:34 am #

              We keep “jumping tracks” here. I never advocated for Political correctness. I advocated for Grace and Truth as opposed to judgement and condemnation. Arguing that the Truth is more important than Grace by trampling on kindness and tact for the sake of not being “pc” is separating the ministry of Jesus into two halves.

              We don’t have to choose between being honest and gracious. We are called to do both. When we don’t, people stumble over Christ as the “stumbling stone.” That’s their issue. When we do separate them, people get offended by us, not the Gospel.

              The Bible says,” Woe to the one through whom offenses come…”.

              We never have the right to use truth as an excuse for curt, critical, approaches that can mask our self righteousness. We always offer Jesus, because the world already stands condemned.

              • Leslie D. Martin July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am #

                We keep “jumping tracks” here.

                Therein lies part of the problem with these sort of discussions (in my opinion). I do not see this as “jumping tracks”. I see it as all part of the same set of tracks. But that’s just me, I guess.

                • Jon July 19, 2012 at 11:35 am #

                  That’s ok man, I’ve got no problem with you. Hope you’re having a good one.

  3. Andy Schreiber July 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I don’t think that we should necessarily single out homosexual sin as THE sin to end all sins. In other words, adultery, fornication, etc. (which are rampant) are also sins worthy of condemnation. Even lust in the heart. And we in the church should be warning people about *those* sins too.

    But in a sense, Romans 1 does in some way place this particular sexual sin in its own category – it is itself a judgment from God in giving a people over to its desire to not have God.

    So the fact that so many today are pulling out all the stops (including using the coercive power of the state) in order to somehow legitimize this particular sin as (to use the title of yet another sitcom coming to a TV network near you) “The New Normal” is, in fact, a bad sign. It is a symptom of a society that is moving farther & farther from God. And that does invite judgment, doesn’t it?

    I agree that we are to be gracious and not self-righteous in our approach to sinners of all kinds, but I think that must necessarily involve calling them to repentance from specific sins, including homosexual sin. And that is no easy task, to be sure.

    • Jon July 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

      agreed

  4. Andy Schreiber July 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Leslie: Good point. Again, the Cathy family was vilified prior to this statement not because of ANY negative thing that they supposedly said, but simply because they made charitable donations to organizations that support the traditional view of marriage and family. They were accused of being *hateful* simply for doing that.

    There is no “getting along” with many who are pushing this agenda. The supposedly “tolerant” and open-minded are really anything but that.

  5. Richard July 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Help me here Jon.

    In the Old Testament, God destroyed the world and saved Noah’s family. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorra for their wickedness and saved Lot and his family. Was prepared to destroy Nineveh for their wickedness until they repented. If I remember correctly, none of these were God’s chosen. Granted, God’s chosen managed to get themselves into their own fair share of trouble. Something about being carried off into slavery more than once. The Old Testament seems to be full of Prophets confronting large scale sin and warning of the consequences.

    In the New Testament, John the Baptist cried “repent” in the wilderness. Then Christ came. In Corinthians, Paul put the slap down on the Church for being complacent in allowing immorality to exist in the Church – something about a mother and her step-son. I do believe Paul went after the misbehavior of the members of the Church more than one. In Acts, Ananias and Sapphira are struck dead for their misbehavior. Somewhere between John the Baptist and the Church in Corinth, Christ died. Was Resurrected.

    What I think I have noticed is a marked changed between the New Testament and the Old Testament. Correct me if I missed something here. In the Old Testament, God’s wrath is poured out onto some pretty wicked people. In those circumstances, the faithful were saved. God’s chosen seemed to forget themselves, God punished them. He didn’t punish them for the unchosen’s (Assyrians, Egyptian, etc) behavior – but their own. Now in the New Testament Christ came, I don’t see God’s wrath poured out onto any group for their wickedness. I don’t see the Prophets warning cities to repent from their wickedness or be turned to ash. (or least not after Christ’s sacrifice.) What I do see is God (mainly through the Apostels) putting some harsh rebuke onto the members of the Church – those who claimed to be saved. God put Ananias and Sapphira into the ground for lying to Him. I don’t see the harsh “language” (for a lack of a better term) in the New Testament – except when directed at the Church itself. I did find this:

    ” I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with aidolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or ban idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”

    Unless, I missed something? The whole condemnation thing, since the New Testament, is directed to believers. Yes, if you fail to accept Christ’s gift, there are some very harsh consequences, but they don’t seem to be reserved for this world – not till at least the end and I don’t plan to be hanging around for that.

    Personally, I seem to be unfaithful to God at some level almost every day. I don’t think I could condem.

    Granted, I am still not happy about this situation (legalization) on this topic and am greatly disappointed in our nation, Hollywood (The actors in Friends had 85 sexual partners in 10 seasons) , our schools, our legal system…

    Maybe the thing to do here is pray for these people and activists, share the Love of Christ, Vote, put my faith in God, help raise a generation of God fearing children, and shed some tears.

    Those are my thoughts…

    • Jon July 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Hey Richard,
      I’m not sure that you are missing anything here. The difference between the Old and the New Testament judgements do seem to be about God’s patience in waiting for men to come to repentance. That change is largely centered around the definging moment of human history, the sacrifice if Christ.

      There will be a day of judgement for each of us, and God still can strike a nation, but to use those truths as a weapon is incredibly short sided and self centered.

      It seems that our recent evangelical predilection for diagnosing calamity and disaster as signs of God’s wrath is usually aimed at America on behalf of homosexual sin and abortion (two very politicized subjects) and away from the personally sensitive topic of sin in our body.

      When the sin of an unbeliever is approached with Grace and Truth, we can find ourselves battling for souls, as opposed to dividing grace (trying to find favor) and truth (trying to win arguments).

      Appreciate your perspective.

      2 Peter 3:9 -“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

  6. Jen Wiersma July 28, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Very interesting to read all of the commentary. What we better get pretty nervous about are mayors and political figures seeking to shut down businesses and franchises with a “litmus” test of where owners stand on this particular issue. I agree in speaking truth with grace but when the government starts to step in and shut down a business with this kind of justification –it surely is the beginning of the end. And those of you in pulpits will be pulled as well. Christians better darn well figure out how to speak up and not necessarily be overwhelmingly concerned with whether they speak truth in the PERFECT way.

    • Jon August 1, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      I get where you’re coming from, but I’m pretty sure that perfection is the standard that we are held to, and I’m actually expecting/anticipating to be persecuted for righteousness sake.

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