There are certain topics that really get us fired up. One of the latest “hot-button” topics is LGBT. When we hear about homosexuality and transgenderism, especially when promoted by society, we can really get our feathers ruffled. It’s outrageous that stuff like that is tolerated in our schools. Or, it’s horrible that content like that is allowed on television. Make no mistake, it should bother us. God has always been against such behavior. It’s why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). He explicitly condemned it in the Jewish law (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). And, God condemns it again in the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). As children of God these things certainly should make us uncomfortable and cause us to speak out against unrighteousness.
But, what about other behaviors? Does other sin bother us as much as the latest “hot” issue? Consider some other things that are clearly condemned by God and ask whether they bother us as much in the same contexts as homosexuality and transgenderism.
Once upon a time, divorce was almost as taboo and dirty as homosexuality is today. It wasn’t common on television and people spoke mostly in hushed tones when talking about someone who had been divorced. Why? Maybe because “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16, NKJV) Maybe because people used to care that Jesus said, “whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 5:32, NKJV) When was the last time we were bothered or upset by divorce depicted in our TV shows or in the movies we watch? When was the last time we would have had second thoughts about letting our children hang out in a home where the parents had been divorced and remarried for reasons that weren’t scriptural?
Adultery and Fornication
While we are on the subject, what about other unscriptural sexual activities? What is God’s attitude about those? Consider that under the Jewish law given by God, “The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:1, NKJV) This was a sin worthy of the death penalty. And as already noted, Paul said, “that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21, NKJV) Do we turn off our TV’s or avoid movies that glorify sexual relationships that God condemns? Are we taking the kind of stand that some are taking against the latest “popular-to-criticize” sin?
You’ll note that I didn’t simply reference foul language, cussing, or cursing. That’s because it’s not the only kind of speech that is detrimental. God has certainly never taken lightly those whose speech did not hold Him in reverence. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7, NKJV) While this command is not repeated verbatim in the New Testament, Jesus did say, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37, NKJV) Certainly, we must conclude that using God’s name flippantly or carelessly calling on Jesus name for worldly cares or vain expressions will not be taken likely by our God. Further, what we say and speak is treated quite seriously throughout the Bible. Consider Paul’s admonition, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) And, then there is the warning from James, “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6, NKJV) Certainly, cursing and cussing and foul language would be included these warnings about speech, but so is lying, derogatory and hateful remarks, speech designed to tear down instead of build up. How much are we bothered by the speech and the content of the shows we watch and the music we listen to?
A Final Warning
Let us be aware that we do not fall into the trap that we can justify abusive or hateful speech or attitudes toward anyone who might be guilty of any of the behaviors listed here. Many use the fact that people are sinners and outside of God’s will to stir up hate and strife and anger. Rather, let us remember the words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more [than others]? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48 NKJV)
– Dan Fontenot