What Manner Of Love Is This?

What’s the best recollection of experiencing “love” you can remember?  What was at the root of this “love?”  Was it self-gratifying, or did it involve humility and encountering God?  I fear we have drifted far from the Author and His divine plan.

In post-modern world chaos, everyone seems to be trying to find themselves and their value. As a Christian, it’s important to think beyond the present, considering our eternal value.  As we hear all the news streams today, they seem to culminate in a “Tower of Babel like” atmosphere of turmoil, confusion and finger pointing.

Increasing crime, hatred, abuse and discrimination, make it seem that pretty much everyone is being “bullied” on some level.  There are groups and sects of people today who tout pride for “being yourself.”  You’ve heard these voices. “Just be who you are!”  “Trust yourself!”  “Love yourself!”  Many groups and cultures are excelling making demands.  Some are working their way into governmental law and they seem to be shaping the entire world.  Those fighting for tolerance, have become the very picture of the person they once despised … becoming intolerant of voices that might not agree.

We seem to be drifting from the Creator of “love,” His definition and holy directives.

“The less spiritual, self-denying, and humiliating the doctrines presented, the greater the favor with which they are received.  These persons degrade the intellectual powers to serve their carnal desires.  Too wise in their own conceit to search the Scriptures with contrition of soul and earnest prayer for divine guidance, they have no shield form delusion.  Satan is ready to supply the heart’s desire, and he palms off his deceptions in the place of truth" (Great Controversy pg 504).

Fading from Christian organizations and denominations is the sovereignty of God and His Holy Word.  We seem to be forgetting that it is God alone whom we can trust and rely upon.  It is only by looking to Him and developing intimacy with Him, that gives value and meaning to any of our lives.  The Bible, to many, is now being described as “hate speech.”

When Christians fail to demonstrate a loving, compassionate, “practical Christianity,” the world’s solutions become more desirable.

Having grown up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church with same-sex attraction, this is what happened to me. Homosexuality was right up there with murder.  It was considered so vile that no one dared break the silence.  And this is where the devil begins to gain a foothold.  Not only on the suffering victim with such “feelings,” but on the church, refusing to break their silence and hold such lives close.  Teaching these precious people to love Jesus and His ways, denying the deceitfulness of the flesh, for Him.

In the absence of God’s “love in truth” message which endures across all time, communities like the gay community begin to develop, holding out to those who are suffering---total acceptance.  Militant activists sometimes paint a moral picture not evidentiary in gay culture from a Biblical perspective.  Many made their way out of church doors, into a community of like-minded people.  Loud voices eventually got louder making governmental demands for immoral and non-biblical rights.  Rebellious voices now want position and pontification inside the church.

This is sad and disheartening.  If we would remain true to God’s Word, we would see that He has provided the solutions for our weaknesses and temptations, contrasting His pure and righteous ways to our sometimes deceitful “feelings” (Jeremiah 17:9).  If only God’s children would weave themselves together in prayerful search of these solutions.  Yet today, even our teaching institutions are validating the defiant voices, instead of providing trust-worthy Biblical responses and teachings.  Groups are in place to support “sexual orientation,” instead of  an emphasis on an orientation to Jesus and His divine ways.

Recently, I read a pro-gay comment that was blasting a ministry they didn’t appear to know very well.  They made false accusations about those who choose to deny themselves for Jesus Christ, living in His love, instead of a self-love.  The accusation was bathed in curse words.  I wondered how a culture devoted to what they call “love,” could be so vile.  What kind of love is actually being offered?  I’m all about protecting hearts and souls that have been hurt.  I lived in the gay culture for forty years.  What I witnessed, was a “love,” whether it be lust, or focus on monogamy, being about self-gratification and self-glorification.  I never saw an uplifting of Jesus and His ways.

Everyone craves to belong.  We seem to find value in a group of people who will accept us for “who we are.”  But if I want to call myself a “Christian,” is this God’s direction to me, or does He instruct me to be His disciple? … His child.  I love His superior ways, not my own.

To error is human.  We have all been stained with sin, committing many errors.  Whether living in sin, redeemed from sin, or tempted by sin… we all error.  But what if we could come together returning to God’s Holy Word, praying for one another, practically applying Godly solutions for the earthly dangers we encounter?

A world consumed with self is propagating a “gospel” that is no gospel at all.  It points to self instead of The Redeemer.  I have witnessed many conversations regarding gay rights and “sexual orientation,” eliminating any mention or uplifting of God.  We’re at risk of setting ourselves up as God.

I believe those identifying as Christians and those who have suffered from same-sex attraction, should consider how we got to where we are.  And by doing so, conclude that we desperately need to return to a focus on God’s trustworthy Holy Word, without desecrating it.

Praise God, there is hope!  There are solutions and promises that will teach us to walk together, not segregated by our unique sin temptations.  Isn’t this what the body of Christ is called to do?  We are not called to apply a hermeneutic that justifies what God clearly declares unholy. We are in grave danger of lying to ourselves and missing out on all that God has planned for us. We place far too high a value on “our” voice, instead of His.

Praise God that He is patient.  Praise Him for telling us that He is so patient with us, that He died for us right while we are slapping Him in the face with our sin! (Romans 5:8).  This is truly an amazing God.

Due to the proliferation of Satan’s campaign against God, we have unduly placed an abundant value on sexual persuasion or “sexual orientation,” not substantiated in God’s Word.  Sex was provided as a compass for us, but as an intimate gift , part of a Christ-centered union ordained by God.

LGBTQ…etc. are God’s precious children.  You are God’s special and unique child.  He calls all of us to minster to one another; not pointing at another whose sin we consider worse than the one we’ve personally white-washed.

I would like to urge LGBTQ, etc and Christians in congregations today to unite in compassion, empathy and love for one another.  Condescension alienates and ostracizes all who should be unified with every other sinner at the foot of the cross.

I am passionate about resolving differences by taking God at His Word.  Forgiveness is key in this process.  We must forgive one another and see the value that Jesus has placed on every single one of us.  My “pipe dream” has been this. 

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I believe the church needs to acknowledge its mistreatment of those who suffer from same-sex attraction, gender identity, etc.  God understands ignorance, not willful blindness.  I believe those who suffer must be sensitive to an ignorance that has not aided in walking with another.

A heartfelt apology is needed.  I would also appeal to the sin-tempted soul to recognize that every life is plagued with a personal, if not difficult temptation to honor self and our fleshy desires, rather than Christ and His ways.  His ways do not always culminate in a heterosexual “happy ever after” ending.  Many heterosexuals suffer sin’s temptations as well.  Whatever God’s plan for us, it will agree with His Word,… not a rewriting of His Word, accommodating sin.  I believe that we can come together in love, recognizing God’s invitation to humbly abide in Him and surrender all that is not pleasing to Him.

We must recognize the power the prince of darkness has had over this world.  He calls us to a lifting up of self.  Christ calls us to deny ourselves for Him.

Nothing compares to our identity in Christ, not self. I pray that more churches will hear the testimonies of those who point to Christ and uplift Him.

“By each of us responding to His love, we all draw strangely closer to each other. In blessing and serving you, I am drawn to Him. As my heart goes out to you, my heart goes out to Him. I understand Him better because I understand you better by getting close to you. And as I seek to obey God in response to His love and because of my compassion for you, I am connected closer and closer to Jesus and to the Father; and in turn, closer and closer to you” (Christ Our Righteousness, pg 182).

Let’s unite together out of our desire to love and obey our Creator.  Walking with God isn’t about our perfection, but His.  We may fall to the temptations and lies of the enemy.  1 John 2:2 gracefully reaches out to us, leading us to accept the gift of Jesus, and continuing to walk with Him.  And we desperately need to walk with one another, not giving up on each other.  Please pray that God will strengthen me daily and all who seek Him.

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After retiring from ‘Coming Out’ Ministries last fall, I remain passionate with a Christ-centered, redemptive focus.  I am currently finishing a book I began five years ago, and still writing the occasional article.  God bless!

Wayne Blakely