Friday, April 12, 2013

[my two - no wait - make it 100 cents]


I want to write about a topic that has been on my mind lots lately: same sex marriage.

I find that there is so much misunderstanding about my view on this topic. I’m after all one of the many who don’t believe in same sex marriage. I’m going to do my best to try to explain my side of this issue.

I belong to a church that teaches that same sex relationships are against God’s laws. God’s laws are there for a reason. Just like children don’t always understand why their parents say no to some things they want to do, so it is with us here on earth. We don’t see the eternal picture. We only see this short, mortal life. Sometimes we don’t understand why God gives certain laws. The more spiritual knowledge and understanding a person gets, the easier it becomes to see why God has given us certain laws. Spiritual maturity comes with study, prayer, life experience and trying to live the gospel. People who don’t understand the gospel (which basically is God’s plan for our happiness), won’t understand many of the gospel laws. Those people will see some of God’s laws as silly restrictions or even mean spirited, “non-loving”, rules. Exactly as children sometimes feel when their parents are saying no to something they want to do. Because they are young, they don’t yet fully understand why the parent is saying no to them. They don’t see the protection and wisdom behind the rules yet. Eventually they gain life experience and then they will understand why the parent said no to them. Thus it is with God and us. With our limited perspective, it might be hard to understand why we shouldn’t live exactly as we please. Only with that spiritual maturity will we understand the “why” behind the “no”. I hope this makes sense. I’ve never been very good with words.

Many Christians believe that same sex relationships are against God’s laws. However, there are many different kinds of Christians out there. Some are the kind who think “I’m holier (better) than thou. You are so bad because you break God’s laws.” Some defend their faith by being mean spirited and discriminating. Some Christians even believe that it’s ok to shun someone who isn’t living the way they should. They cut those people out of their lives and show their judgment against even loved ones in this most cruel manner. Some Christians become so self-righteous that they spew venom around them for anyone who seems to live differently from them.

Well, I believe that being a Christian means something totally different. I believe that many Christians aren’t Christians at all. To me, a Christian is someone who tries to follow Jesus Christ. His teachings and his loving example. It is clear in the scriptures that Jesus Christ would never be mean to someone who struggles with ANY God’s laws. Jesus Christ was all about love and kindness! He taught God’s laws but he was there to uplift and edify people, not to pull them down.

A great example of this is the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery. 
John 8: 3 – 11.
“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

Jesus often taught about not judging other.

Matthew 7: 1-3
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

A beam is much bigger than a mote!!

Some wise person has said that there is only one quality a person must have to correctly judge someone else. The person needs to be omniscient which means they know EVERYTHING. Not just what you can see on the outside. But also what is in person’s heart. What sorrows that person bears. What understanding does he or she have. Someone might look “good” on the outside (meaning doing the right things) but could be rotten on the inside (meaning his or hers heart is rotten, nothing good there). Also, someone might look “bad” (especially to some Christians who enjoy judging others) but in reality have a loving, kind heart and is doing their very best to live to the best of his or hers knowledge and understanding.

We need to leave judgment to God. Period! If we truly are Christians, we need to try to live as Jesus Christ lived. Yes, we need to teach what God’s laws are. But we should never, ever be mean or belittling to someone. Our heart should be in the right place: wanting to do good and spreading the “good news” instead of spreading judgment and any kind of hate.

Everyone on this earth is a sinner (which just means that none of us is perfect, we all have our weaknesses and break God’s laws in some way or another). We cannot have an “I’m holier than thou” attitude and then say we are Christians.

If we only let perfect people in the church, every last one of the churches would be empty! We all need Jesus’ Atonement to cover our sins and misdeeds. We need to be merciful and kind if we expect God to be merciful and kind to us. Read the Bible all of you Christians who bash others! Read the Bible! Humble yourself and stop acting like you know it all and that you are somehow better than someone else! Be loving! Be kind! Be merciful! Forgive and forget! Love those around you, don’t put them down! Uplift and edify them, don’t drag them to misery! If you truly want to be a Christian, then be one! Always ask “what would Jesus Christ do in this situation?” If your heart is in the right place, you will see that Jesus would show love, no matter what!

For ANYONE (Christian or not) who hates ANYONE for ANY reason – STOP IT! Stop and ponder what puts that hate in your heart. Does it really make you a better person? Do you really believe that you are a great person when you hate someone? Are you really that silly that you think you are somehow better than someone else? Because of the color of your skin, perhaps? Or your sexual orientation, perhaps? Or because you’re richer, better looking, better dressed, perhaps? Because you believe in certain religion? Because you’re cool and in the “in crowd” at school?

Please. Don’t be ridiculous! You are no better than anyone else! Even the homeless person on the street. You can’t even say that you’re better than them. You haven’t walked in their shoes and gone through what they have gone through.

God is no respecter of people. To Him, we are all His children. He loves us ALL! Yes, He wants to teach us His laws so that we can gain eternal happiness. But God is GOOD and He is LOVE. He will be more merciful to all of us than we could ever imagine. Yes, there will be justice too. If you have ever hurt someone and not repented of that, you will pay for it. Mercy can’t rob justice. But that being said, God loves His children! He will do all in His power to give us any goodness He can possibly bestow upon us or we will accept from Him. All of us. Even the meanest of His children.

When you find yourself thinking that you are somehow better than someone else – pause for a moment and try to think more clearly. How does God see that person? What could make that person act or be certain way? What don’t I know that God knows that would make me see clearer who this person is? Where does hate come from? Is it ok to hate someone? Is it ok to hurt someone?

Just grow up people! Let’s be good to one another. Let’s take care of each other. Let’s uplift and edify each other instead of tear each other down. Let’s choose love over hate.

I feel like I have so much to say on this topic. This is going to be a long post.

Now I want to talk about how the world is treating Christians and others who don’t believe according to the “popular” belief system. Right now it seems that it’s ok to bash Christians and others who believe in God and try to live according to the commandments they feel God has given them. Sitcoms, comedians, you name it, feel it’s ok to bash believers and belittle them. How does that help anything? You think because you “tolerate” something, you can “not tolerate” something else? You think that as long as you speak politically correctly, you can then go ahead and bash some other group of people? How about throwing mud on a happy young Mormon (Latter-Day Saint) couple who just got married in the temple? True story. It has happened many times by people who thus protest what our Church teaches. Is that ok? Is it ok to ruin their special day because of the way they believe? Oh, grow up, people! Can’t we just all live in peace and be kind to everyone? Why is it all of a sudden ok to hate believers and bash them? Even the ones who have been ridiculous in their own “holier than thou” behaviour? How does any kind of bashing or negativeness help this world of ours in any way? Can we just stop the hating and judging already?

Let the Christians and other believers believe the way they do.  Let everyone believe the way they do. If you believe differently, sure, go ahead and try to help someone see things your way. But don’t start spreading hate and intolerance.
If anyone is violent, abusive or discriminating to anyone else, the law should deal with that person. They should pay for their crime of hate.

We should guard the freedom of speech and the freedom of belief. We can’t become tyrants who tell others how to think or what to believe in. We can all just do our best to live a good life and if we believe there is some kind of injustice happening, then sure, speak out. But don’t do it spewing filth and hate. Act like an adult. Respect others. You don’t have to agree with them but you can still be civil towards them. If we stop being civil, then what will happen to our “civilization”? Let me tell you what will happen. Mob behaviour. More hatred. People will become more like animals instead of human beings.

I feel like I should be singing the “Imagine” song. Imagine a better world. Imagine a world where there is no hate. Imagine people living in peace… Call me na├»ve. Call me a dreamer. But that is the world I’d like to live in!

The schools here in Canada don’t seem to have Christmas concerts any more. To be politically correct, religion is being thrown out of schools. I don’t get it. How does that help tolerance and understanding? Why can’t we celebrate the various cultures and religions instead? I have no problem of our child learning about Hanukkah, Kwanza or whatever else someone believes in. How can we learn to be more tolerant and respectful of others if we don’t learn more about people who are different than us?

After 9-11, I wondered to myself about Muslim terrorists and realized I didn’t know much about Muslims. I couldn’t believe the negative news I heard and wanted to know for myself. Someone can call themselves Muslims (or Christians…) but they might not actually be living their religion. I found a Muslim blogger and read about her faith and her life. The more I learned about her and her faith, the more respect I had for Muslims in general. Same with Jehovah’s Witnesses. You always hear snide remarks about them and it drove me nuts. So next time they knocked on my door, I invited them in and we had some great discussions about faith and religion. I don’t have to believe the way they do, but I can be understanding and respectful of them.

Please don’t believe everything you read or see in media. There are so many lies given to us as “news”. I’ve read/seen so many false things about my own faith/Church, that I have learned to become more critical of the media. Find out for yourself if something you hear is true. Ask yourself “is this really true what they are saying about these people or is this just a way for them to gain readers by being sensationalist?” I figured after 9-11 that the terrorists must be their own group of people as there are millions of Muslim people who live peacefully and kindly among other people. There are always extremists who make others look bad by saying they belong to that faith or group. Use your brain people. Believe that most people on this earth are good and don’t want to hurt others.

But back to the same sex marriage issue. Yes, I need to speak against same sex marriage because according to my faith, marriage should be between a man and a woman as ordained of God. There is a reason for that law. It doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t understand the eternal perspective of things. But I have learned to trust God’s laws. There is always a reason for them. 
I don't have a problem granting people in same sex relationships civil unions. Let the state grant them same benefits with their laws, if they so wish. But don't force churches to perform weddings or it would frustrate freedom of belief and freedom of religion.

By the way, I don't go around telling people that "hey, you're living in sin, did you know that?" I will voice my opinion on same sex marriage (or any other issue I feel strongly about) if there is a discussion going on about it. I have my right to believe the way I do. My beliefs and thoughts on this issue come from my spiritual experiences. We all have different experiences and backgrounds that dictate our belief system. 

Rick Warren has said: 

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”


Now, when it comes to me tolerating people who are in same sex relationships, let me try to explain that too.

I would never condone ANY kind of violence or meanness against ANYONE.
I think everyone has the same right for work (you can’t fire someone because of their sexual orientation or religious belief, etc.), etc.
Someone once asked me why I was listening to music that was sung by people in same sex relationship. Please! If your music is good, I will listen to it. If your show is good, I will watch it. If your work is good, I will adore it.

Then you hear the question “what would you do if your child was in same sex relationship?” Well, my love for my child wouldn’t change at all! She or he is my child. What they do doesn’t change that love in any way. Yes, I might wish that they would believe the way I do (just because I believe that it’s the way to eternal happiness) but I would continue to support and love my child.

I happen to have loved ones/friends who are in same sex relationships. So what? I also have friends who might curse (which I don’t believe in), or might live with someone without being married (which I don’t believe in), or might steal (which I don’t believe in), or might talk badly about someone (which I don’t believe in), or might have an abortion (which I don’t believe in), etc.

I look at myself. I see a person who I believe “has seen the light” and “understands God’s plan for us”. Yet, I often falter and don’t live up to my beliefs. I get angry. I speak crankily. I’m not patient. I get mad at people who drive slowly. I might think badly of someone or criticize them somehow. If I, who I think believe in God and His plan for us, falter so easily, then how can I expect people to always do the right thing when even I can’t? Remember: mote vs. beam. Those people who have more understanding/knowledge are more responsible than those who don’t. Think of juvenile and adult courts for example.

When I meet Heavenly Father after this life, He will probably ask me how much I loved people and how much kindness did I show them. He will probably ask me if I tried to make the world a better place somehow. He will probably forgive me for my million mistakes as He will know that I was trying my best. Which isn’t that great, to be honest. My best, that is. I’m so far from perfect!! But those are the things that will matter. Did I live up to the knowledge I had? Did I do my best? Did I make the world a better place or did I spread hatred and filth? We will all have to answer that kind of questions.

Anyways, maybe I’m done rambling now. I just felt like I needed to get these thoughts off my chest. I have felt so judged because of my beliefs and I felt that I should at least try to explain how I feel about all this. Maybe people will still judge me for believing the way I do (and they have the right to do that) but maybe at least in some small way you understand my point of view better. I have nothing against people in same sex relationships. They are God’s children, just like me. But I do need to speak against same sex marriage. There is a reason for God’s law about same sex relationships. God knows what is best for us. We don’t have the same eternal perspective that He does.

By the way, this is not an official statement by the Church I belong to. These are my ideas and my thoughts. My understanding of this topic. 

4 comments:

  1. well said, sanna-miina. i feel exactly the same way. and i also feel that to feel this way often labels you as a bigot. i, too, have LOTS more i could say about the political "correctness" of our country...

    good for you for standing up, i know it is very scary indeed.

    janna

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  2. t is so true that the backlash of tolerance is intolerance towards those that actually believe in tolerance but with a different perspective and reason of why. People are too black and white and society swings from one side to the complete opposite side without understanding the details between the two. Good on you for giving a voice to what so many of us feel!!!

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