This is not the first case of its kind, but it certainly is causing a stir, especially with the boldness of the statements made by the justices involved. In New Mexico, the State Supreme Court has ruled that a Christian couple may not conduct their photography business according to the dictates of God’s Word.
Here is the article: N.M. Supreme Court: Photographers Can’t Refuse Gay Weddings
In short, the court has determined that if you run a business and someone lifestyle runs in opposition to your faith, your faith has to get out of the way. “Keep your beliefs out of your business!” Claims Justice Bosson, “it is the price of citizenship.”
Well, those who love and stand up for freedom and free speech in our country are certain to find reasons to be upset here. I’ll admit I am quite disturbed by the news. On the one hand, as a citizen of this nation I have a bit of a problem with a justice telling me that “the price of citizenship” is being forced to show support for same-sex marriage if my business has anything to do with marriage at any point. On the other hand, I’m concerned about the difficult position in which this places many Christians.
Let me be clear – if this is a form of persecution we have to face as Christians in America, we should count ourselves blessed that we have the opportunity to stand up for Jesus’ name, and blessed that the persecution is not more severe (though, if the severity of the persecution is tied to intensity of blessing, which direction does that really go… hmmmm?). But my concern is not that we must face persecution. My concern is in how many might capitulate because of it.
Here’s what I mean: Some Christians will see this kind of thing as an opportunity to stand up for their faith, give a solid testimony, and whatever negative impact they have to face, they will hold unswervingly to the faith they profess. But others – and I am concerned at how big that number of “others” will be – will throw up their hands and say, “Well, if that’s the rules I have to follow, then I guess I have to follow them. What else can I do?”
See, for all that we confess that we will stand up for the Word, we are still so very, very weak.
How many will buckle under the pressure? How many will give up without a fight? How many, when faced with the choice between their business and their Lord will choose their business?
But I need to remember something my Savior said – that the very gates of hell itself cannot overcome His Church (Matthew 16:18). See, my fears and concerns over how some Christians might react are not really well founded. Oh, certainly, some who profess the name of Christ might demonstrate their human weakness. Some might even prove that they were never truly professing his name at all. But the Church will stand.
And the Gospel will be proclaimed.
That Gospel which says that even when we fail to stand up for marriage God’s way, we have a bridegroom who calls us his bride.
That Gospel which says that even when we let money become our master, we have a Savior who values us more highly than all the riches in all the world.
That Gospel which says that even when we are faithless, God is faithful.
That Gospel which says that when we sin in these ways and more, we have a God who died to take away our sin.
That Gospel which says that when we are broken down under the weight of the world, we have a Lord so strong that even the grave could not hold him in.
So what do we have to fear?
But then let us not take that Gospel for granted and foolishly say, “Well, then, might as well just accept this new law of the land.” No. We are Christians. We bear the name of Jesus. And it is right to stand up for his way.
So what should we do? Well, here’s a suggested action plan:
1. Use your rights as a citizen to be salt and light. You have every reason to cast your votes and speak your opinions in a way that is in accord with your faith. God’s Word is clear about marriage – be just as clear!
2. Stand up for what is right no matter what it costs. If you run a business, and you find yourself having to make a hard decision, make the decision that says who you belong to. Don’t let someone else tell you to keep your beliefs out of your business. That’s just foolishness.
3. Speak the Gospel in words and actions. Standing up for the truth of God’s Word when it comes to the same-sex marriage debate is a good thing. But don’t let it become the dominant message. Let Christ and his Salvation ring clearly from what you say and do. Only the Gospel can change lives. When you are clear about your stance on homosexuality and your testimony that Jesus is the Savior, you’re in the right place.
These things will happen. It is the way of the sin-darkened world in which we live. Jesus had some words about that, though, too: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).