Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's Not What We Do

I had occasion last week to address a very touchy subject--among Christians particularly--with my 26-year-old niece. I am so grateful that she asked questions that led to this discussion. It was a good time to put into words the truth that I know regarding our heavenly Father's love for us. She was so receptive to the discussion, and that in itself let me know that this was a God-appointed time for us to talk about this; she's never been interested in discussing it before. Her leading questions, via e-mail, was, "Do you think I'm going to hell because I'm gay?" Below is my rather lengthy response.

God never intended for people to lie or murder or molest children either, but if people who do those things confess Jesus as their savior, they're going to heaven too. Satan takes things that God meant for good and perverts them--God meant for you to have healthy relationships with the men in your life (from your dad on down), but Satan has perverted those relationships (not as in sexual perversion, but as in "a change that is unnatural or abnormal.") God also intended for you to have healthy relationships with the women in your life, but Satan is having his way in some of those too. God loves us so much, and He wants to have a relationship with us; Satan hates us and wants to keep us from God any way he can. By confusing you with homosexuality, he keeps you confused about your relationship with the Father and thereby keeps you ineffectual here on earth. He can't keep you out of heaven--you do that if you choose to reject God the Father and his son, Jesus; but the less influence you have on the people around you, the better he likes it.

Some (maybe most) of the garbage in our lives is a result of the fact that we reap what we sow. (Some of it is simply because we have an enemy who hates us.) That's a law of nature and a spiritual law too. If we sow weeds, we get weeds. That's part of the reason that even though you are doing better now, maybe, than you have ever in your adult life, you're still having to deal with a bunch of garbage, because in years past, your actions sowed a bunch of weeds. Because you are sowing good things now, you will reap some good things in the future (some sooner, some later), but the law of sowing and reaping continues to operate in us and in everyone around us, so when we sow things that aren't good, we are going to reap those in the future as well. Now as important as all of this sowing/reaping stuff is, Satan again perverts it and makes us focus on doing the right thing in order to get into heaven--and if we have to do the right thing to get into heaven, then doing the wrong things must send us to hell. Right? WRONG!

God doesn't require us to do anything to get into heaven except John 3:16--Jesus did everything that needed to be done at the cross. All of the sowing and reaping stuff has to do with how we live while we're on the earth and what we get out of life while we're here. Satan knows that the more we have a relationship with our Creator, the less vulnerable we are to his garbage, so he keeps people tied up in trying to do enough good stuff to get to heaven so he can keep us from really knowing the Father. His lies in this area are what make people say that homosexuality will send you to hell. (This is where Marlo's theology breaks down; he says you have to live by the laws of the Old Testament where they did have to do the right thing--that was before Jesus died on the cross and made the way for us to get to heaven through grace, not works--the things we do .)

So can we accept Jesus as the savior, then live any way we want to and still go to heaven? Maybe. The devil's first goal is to keep us from salvation in the first place, but if he can't stop that, then he wants us to live as if we're going to hell so we won't influence those around us for Christ--so they won't see the love of the Father and be influenced by that. And we miss out on so much if we do it that way. Being saved is not living by a bunch of "Thou shalt not's" and preaching to people. It's about a relationship with our true Father, the Creator of the universe--a relationship that makes life while we're here so much better, richer.

Thank you, Father, that you love us so very, very much. Thank you for this opportunity to minister to this young woman that I love with my whole heart and for beginning a work in her to bring her to a place of peace and freedom in You.

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