Speaking of... Life, Hope & Truth

Beyond a Red Equal Sign

The United States is embroiled in a war.

It’s a war that runs far deeper than any physical battlefield, where victory is claimed at the price of bullet wounds and bloody casualties. No, this conflict is a war of morality—a war that calls into question matters of right and wrong, good and evil. This war isn’t about whether we live … it’s about how we live.

Recently, you may have seen users of Facebook and other social networks changing their profile picture to that of a red-and-pink “equals” sign. The picture originated from the Human Rights Campaign, an organization which “envisions an America where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are ensured equality.” The HRC has been encouraging the use of this equal sign in support of recent Supreme Court hearings on same-sex marriage rights—and it has spread like wildfire.

It’s no secret that the Bible defines homosexuality as a sin—just as it does heterosexual adultery and fornication. “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God,” wrote the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). What so many seem to have difficulty understanding is why God is so opposed to a lifestyle of homosexuality. Prohibiting thievery, adultery, and extortion makes immediate sense—those who practice such things damage themselves and the society around them, some argue. But what’s wrong with a man loving another man? Or a woman loving another woman?

“We should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry,” is the mantra of many who can’t understand how a loving God could be so against two people sharing love.

We could list a number of reasons, but in this short commentary let’s look at one of the less familiar ones: understanding what marriage is in God’s eyes. Very few people seem to comprehend that the institution of marriage is intended to mirror the relationship Jesus Christ has with His Church. Husbands are instructed to “love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25), while wives are told that, “just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:24).

In short, God’s gift of marriage helps us understand our relationship with Christ: The husband is to emulate Christ’s unfaltering love and sacrifice for His bride, while the wife is to emulate the Church’s love and submission for Him. The ideal marriage is one that accurately reflects the love and respect shared between Jesus Christ and the Church for which He gave His life and she gave her commitment.

So what happens when we start changing those roles around? Two men or two women, regardless of the roles they may agree to fill, simply cannot produce the marriage relationship God intended any more than Christ could marry Christ, or the Church be led by the Church. He carefully designed men and women each to be able to fulfill only one of these roles—never both. Same-sex marriage is like trying to force together two puzzle pieces that were never designed to fit together—while you may eventually force a union, the result is confusion instead of a reflection of God’s purpose in marriage. When we take it upon ourselves to rearrange these God-ordained roles, we don’t just lose our view of what marriage should be—we lose our view of what our relationship with God should be.

God designed the marriage relationship so that husband and wife would be equals. But He did not design it so that they would be equally interchangeable.

For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Ralph Levy.