Pet The Gator
By; Danny Wallace
There is always an issue. When there is an issue, as would be our God-given right, we each have an opinion regarding that issue. Opinions are first formed in the heart. It remains our decision as to whether or not they stay there, or if we will decide to release them by the power of our tongue. As it has always been in this world – the hotter the topic – the greater the release of our varying opinions.
Not so long ago the hot issue was gay rights and gay marriage. As would be expected, Christians came rushing to the front of the line to offer our opinions. We were not alone. The entire world was getting dressed and putting on their make-up for a little camera time on this controversial topic. We all wanted to look our best for our 15 minutes of fame regarding an issue that is not “new” at all.
My journey on this earth has led me to touch both the homosexual and heterosexual sides of life. I won’t begin to tell you that I understand everything there is to know about either side. What I can tell you is that both sides contain people that breathe, making all of us the same in the things of life that truly matter.
I have been married for 43 years and I still learn something everyday about how to make my wife feel more loved and affirmed. Likewise, I spend a large portion of my life in the homosexual world doing the same, watching precious people desperately try to hide their struggles in life from the opinions that would likely come from every direction should their private struggles be discovered.
What I do know is this. Every person who is living on this earth wants to feel that they matter. We often go about it in the most bizarre ways. I often say that our greatest achievements and our greatest failures come from our desperate need to matter. We want to be relevant. We want to feel that we are loved and appreciated. As we can see with the issue before us, we each want our opinions to be considered as being on the right side of public opinion. Pet the gator.
If love is what we seek – surely love is what is needed. Love neither condemns, nor endorses sin – Love…loves. Our love takes broken lives by the hand and leads them into the presence of the One who changes everything for our good, and for His great glory. Love simply says, “You matter, just because.”
I read so much today from well meaning people who simply seek to talk long enough to land on an idea or solution to this, and a multitude of issues that will be popular and reasonable enough to satisfy the masses. These same people often step outside the box of any reasonable authority to speak on behalf of what Jesus would say if He were here today. Well, Jesus “is” here today. His body may have ascended, but His sweet Spirit is with us. Truth is with us, as is the true heart of His eternal love and sacrifice for “all.”
Many say that if Jesus were here in body He would surely change his mind about marriage. However, this change would have to come from the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It would come from He who is Truth, and from He who is from everlasting to everlasting. The main reason we follow Jesus is likewise, still the same. We follow Him and we love Him simply because He first loved us. Jesus walked among us for 33 years. He was not at a lack for words. In fact, He chose them well. What would Jesus have to say about this issue? Most likely what He had to say regarding the adulterous woman, would be the very same words offered should a gay man, or woman be tossed at His loving feet.
Jesus accomplished more in that one exchange than all of our legions of arguments and opinions could accomplish in a million decades. He spared this woman’s life and set her free to live another day without condemning the self-righteous men who brought her to be judged, or the woman who was guilty of adultery. He did it without naming either their sin or hers. He also did it without giving a long speech about what He “did” or did not condone. I don’t know of a single Christian who could have managed that. We simply MUST tell you what we do not condone. In fact, as far as most Christians are concerned, “that” is the most important part of the conversation. When Jesus asked us to go and tell the Good News, many Christians decided to offer their opinion instead.
Jesus did not take this great opportunity to express His opinion about the sin of adultery. Neither did He use it as an opportunity to speak on behalf of adultery. Jesus simply gave what He left Heaven to deliver.
Jesus loved this woman into freedom. He let her know that she mattered just as she was – just because she breathed. Where would we be on this issue today if we would take to heart what Jesus said? His words summed up all of the Law – all of the Prophets – and most surely, all of our vast opinions.
Where would we be if we treated all people the way we would like to be treated? What if we loved people in a way that extended to them a glimpse of just how God sees them? “How does He see them while they are in their sin,” we ask? He sees them the same as He sees us in ours. The Word is clear. Jesus didn’t just die for our sins, but for the sins of the entire world. Jesus came to save the world, and that’s exactly what He did.
We are all in need of the Father’s great love. In His presence there is fullness of joy. In His presence there is peace of heart and healing for the soul. Though we have opinions and are well entitled to them, joy and healing are not found in their presence. If so, surely the world would be covered in peace at the rising clamor of our crashing cymbals of self-righteous opinion.
Jesus died for Jew and Gentile. Jesus fulfilled the Law and poured out the Father’s blood for the sinful souls of all. We all have our favorite issue. Jesus died and rose again for every issue. Render unto Cesar what is Cesar’s. Render unto God what is God’s.
The Law does not heal. Jesus heals. What is your hot topic? Is it abortion? Touch the woman – touch the child. Is it the dangers of alcohol? Touch the heart of the drunkard and his drinking will no longer be an issue. Is it gay marriage? Touch the heart of the homosexual with the unconditional love of God and the “issue” evaporates for this man. If a change doesn’t come to merit the thumbs up of our opinion it changes nothing of a person’s worth. Every person is an equal treasure to God.
Who is right and who is wrong? Each man shall decide his own destiny. It is the gift of God; otherwise, He would have decided it for us with no option for us to decide for ourselves. If we ever decide to love all people just as God loves them our issues will evaporate.
Call me shallow – maybe I am. We can stand against our favorite sin or we can lift high the Savior. We can’t do both. We can spend the remainder of our days adamantly testifying as to what God hates and what we do not condone, or we can testify of God’s great love poured out through His only Son, “Jesus,” on the cross, and His absolute forgiveness for all of our sins.
We can argue or we can rejoice, but we can’t do both. The choice has always been ours, and that is the real issue. Therefore, since the “verb-action” definition of condone is; “to pardon and forgive,” I believe it’s safe to say that Jesus came to condone our sin, inspiring religious men to take His life.
Religion is nothing more than appeasing an agenda to receive approval. To “appease” the agenda of religion is to pet an alligator hoping that he will eat you last. He WILL eat you; you’re just hoping that he’ll devour a few other sinners first.
To follow the heart of Jesus is to rush in with the Good News of the One who has come to pardon and forgive our sin. He has come to condone our heart and set us free. For me, the choice is easy. Want life? Hug Jesus. Want death? Pet the gator.