This article is an installment of Holy Joys Questions. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: We have become good friends with a gay couple that lives near us, and they just love our family. One of them is a University professor who has said that he’s highly impressed with our girls. He’s never seen girls like them. The other day we received an invitation from them that read “Mr. A & Mr. B request the honor of your presence at their marriage.” As you might imagine, we were shocked! We discussed what to do about this as a family and would like to compare your insight and advice with our thoughts. I never thought I would be faced with something like this.
I gave a good bit of thought and prayer to your question. I don’t have “the” answer. What I do have is a sense that this is a Baal-Peor moment for your family (Num. 25). The Moabites weren’t Israel’s enemies, nor were they on the must-kill list of Deuteronomy 7. They were going to be Israel’s neighbors. Like all of us, the Israelites wanted to be friends with their neighbors. Then came the invitation: “they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods” (Num. 25:2).
God did not intend for the Israelites to be hostile in their response (cf. Deut. 2:9). However, He did intend for them not to attend such sacrifices (cf. Deut. 7:5-6), and most definitely not to get involved in the accompanying “celebrations” (Exod. 34:14-16).
As a result, my suggested course of action would be to provide a polite response of the variety: “Thank you for your invitation; [regretfully/unfortunately] we will be unable to attend.”
If a polite decline receives inquiry, sharing the following parable might be of help.
There once were two Jewish families living on the same street in Paris, one was Orthodox and the other was Christian. They were wonderful friends and often had each other to their homes. The Christian family would on occasion join their Orthodox friends to celebrate the Passover Seder meal and Hanukkah.
One spring the Christian family decided to celebrate Easter in a big way. They planned a short ceremony in which they would recount how Jesus came as their Messiah, and then pray to Jesus and thank him for dying for their sins and rising from the dead. After the ceremony, there would be a feast with barbecued chicken and pork. They excitedly sent a personal invitation to their Orthodox friends down the street.
The Christian-Jewish family was disappointed to receive a note thanking them for their kind invitation, but regretfully informing them that they would be unable to attend. When the big day came, the Orthodox family was out-of-town.
If the parable prompts inquiry into why Christians oppose homosexual behavior and marriage so much that they can’t even countenance a private gay marriage, then I would start with definitions: distinguish orientation (which is not sin, though it is brokenness as a result of the fall) from behavior. We oppose gay marriage on the grounds that it is contrary to God’s intended design for marriage (Gen. 2:24); and it necessarily involves a sanction upon homosexual behavior, which is condemned by God (Rom. 1:23ff; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:10).
Let me encourage you with Isaiah 51:7-8:
Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them like a garment, And the grub will eat them like wool. But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation to all generations.
I believe there is a seed of great boldness for the truth in this text. The greatest obstacle many people face in standing up for truth is the fear of being mocked, reproached, or reviled. But this text says that we should consider the source of such derision. Such views and the people who hold them will ultimately perish. The issue is will we value God’s truth or the opinion of perishing men.
Originally published in God’s Revivalist. Used by permission.