If you have not been invited to a gay wedding, there is a good chance you will be. And then comes the agonizing decision, do you accept the invitation and attend or decline? It is even harder and seems more confusing when it is a family member that has invited you. What do you do? Is there any biblical guidance? I think there is. Is there a universal one size fits all yes or no answer? Sorry, no. But there are two helpful guidelines to help shape your decision – one invitation at a time.
So where do we start? I start with John 17 where Jesus is praying for his disciples and those who believe in him through the disciples words…so that includes us! In verse 15, Jesus prays this for us, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” And then in verse 18, he affirms to his Father that “as you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
I recently gifted one of my favorite toys to my son and his family – my canoe. In its prime…and mine…it made countless trips to remote canoe country. Its odometer maxed out and started over long ago. In my speaking, I often used my canoe to illustrate these verses in John. My canoe was meant to be in the water, but if there was a hole in the canoe and the water was in the canoe – that meant trouble. And so for us. We are meant to be in the world, but the world is not meant to be in us.
Jesus modeled for us what it meant to be in the world. He ate and partied with the most despised of the sinners. And he did not hide it…especially from the religious. The scribes wanted to know, “Why does this man eat with tax collectors and sinners?“ (Mark 2:16). He did it because his father sent him to. And he sends us to do the same.
But why are we sent into these repulsive worldly situations? Jesus gives the answer in verse 21, “so that the world all the world may believe.”
From these few verses of Jesus prayer, I think we can discern two guidelines for helping in deciding to attend a gay wedding…or any other distasteful event.
- In my going, is there an opportunity to advance the gospel? For example, will my presence reaffirm and strengthen my relationship with friends or family who don’t yet believe in Jesus? Will it keep the door open for continueing to share the gospel in this environment into which I have been invited? Will my going continue to enable me to eat with my tax collector and sinner friends. Will not going harm or break realtionships along which the gospel can flow? If the answer is YES – then perhaps being there is a great opportunity to be in the world and to pave the way for bringing light into darkness.
- In my going, will it only be an endorsement of their values with no on-going opportunities and pathways to relationally advance the gospel? Then perhaps it is a good time not to be there, lest all we do is “hang out at Sin Saloon, and…slink along Dead-End Road” (Psalm 1:1, The Message).
It is obvious there are conflicting Biblical priorities, but perhaps these two guidelines can be helpful in making a judgement call as to what to do. What do you think?
A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU: Sue and I along with Baker Books have partnered to give you a special gift. My friend Lance Witt, former teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and leader of the 40 Days of Purpose campaign, has written one of my favorite books, Replenish – Leading from a Healthy Soul. A key chapter for me was Chapter 20, Identity Theft. In our identity as children of God, there is no language of performance or achievement. When we get a grip on this, then the grip of approval addiction begins to loosen. Sue and I, Lance, and Baker Books would like to deliver this chapter to your email inbox as a gift to you. All you need to do (if you have not already) is go to billtell.com and enter you email and click on the green sign-up box. Chapter 20 will be in your inbox before the end of the year!