On July 20th, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first human being to step foot on the moon. The words he uttered were actually, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” His statement is typically quoted as “one small step for man.” While Armstrong made a giant leap for mankind, it was just one small step in the progress of space travel. As a sinful, broken humanity, we take many baby steps in our walk through this life. Many of these steps end up taking us back instead of forward. Humanity’s selfishness often leads us astray. Our selfish nature compels us to be disobedient. Our selfish nature compels us to place our wants and needs above others. And our selfish nature consistently erodes away at our relationship with our Father. The selfish proclivities of a broken humanity are fed, not with the bread of life, but an affirmation of those immoral behaviors, by the former ELCA presiding Bishop, Herbert Chilstrom. Before all you tolerant and accepting Christians begin casting stones, know this, I am a far greater sinner than anyone who engages in homosexual relations. Yes, you heard it here, my sins are far greater than yours. But, it’s not about me is it? I cannot, by my own volition, earn my reward in heaven. Even though so many claim otherwise, this is not a matter about sex. It is a matter about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and what He did for all of us unworthy sinners.
As we take our baby steps in our faith journeys, we are faced with many forks in the road. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus said that this was the second most important command. Problem is, some of us are so concerned with loving our neighbor that we forget to love our Father first, which Jesus said is the most important command. Mark 12:28-31, “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
One step away from God.
Those who affirm that which God prohibits, simply encourage the innate human selfishness, placing human desire before the love of the Lord. Ignoring or acquiescing to unlawful activity is not a prerequisite to properly love one’s neighbor. Properly loving one’s neighbor sometimes involves correction, especially if that behavior leads them to love themselves, their identities and desires more than God.
One more step away from God.
For a man of God, once chosen to lead the largest Lutheran denomination in America, to read between the lines and come to believe and promote that the Bible merely addressed homosexual rape or abuse and condemned only those acts, is more than a giant leap, it is simply delusional. Chilstrom so desires the normalization of homosexual behavior, he ignores obvious and clear evidence in the written word. Romans 1:26-27, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” We have God’s law written on our hearts, whether we believe or not. This is what our “consciences” tell us when we engage in behavior that is not pleasing to our Father.
Take a step back to God.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and open our minds to the truth, we come to faith in the Risen Christ. We are simply empty vessels waiting to be filled with the love of Christ and we cannot believe without the presence of the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual awakening means the death of our former lives. The person we once were dies and we truly begin to live as a servant of Christ. He is all that matters. Ourselves, our time and our possessions are gifts from God. Everything we are or are going to be is based on God’s will for us. If we place our desires above the love of the Lord, we deny Him. If we place conditions upon God that He must accept us as we are, we deny Him. If we love ourselves more than we love Him, we deny Him. Romans 6:11-14, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Offer yourself fully to the Lord. Be an instrument for Him. Live to give God all the glory. Reject those that would have you deny the Lord as necessary to “properly” love your neighbor.