feelings about all kinds of things. This past week I worked my way though a huge lesson in God's law and His love through blogging.
I wrote a blog about the idea of refusing someone service because you disagree with their plans for the product.
In particular, the idea of loosing your business and risking huge fines and maybe even jail time because you refuse to bake cakes, take pictures or create flower arrangements that will be in any way shape or form a portion of a gay wedding.
The first time I read about a situation like this was over a year ago and I thought it was ridiculous. Why didn't the potential customers just go somewhere else?
Another fine example of people not understanding the word no. Why force or ridicule someone into doing something that is against their principals when there are plenty of other shops around who can accommodate your request. But my attitude did not seem to jive with the world around me. I kept and continue to keep hearing those words...their Constitutional Rights. Who's rights are more valid? The baker or the customer?
After that initial story, I didn't really pay much attention to all of it until about a week ago when I read that one of the people who had refused to bake a cake was being fined $135,000.
I thought of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
The Parable of the Good SamaritanLuke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Is denying the cake loving your neighbor as your self? I thought not. But I wasn't certain!
All I could think was, maybe God wants us to treat everyone with kindness and not refuse them and maybe He is testing us to see how we will treat others who's views are different than our own. I thought about how saying no wasn't exactly treating our neighbor in a Christlike fashion and I even asked myself the question...What would Jesus do?
I convinced myself that Jesus would want us to be kind and press through the tough situation. So with that in mind, I wrote about it. My thoughts were on what Jesus would do and how we are supposed to love our neighbor as our self. With that in mind, baking a cake is after all your job, so if you're going to be a good neighbor...just bake the cake.
On Sunday, I took advantage of my time at church and other outings to ask people what their thoughts about it were. The response most frequently given was, "It is their constitutional right to refuse anyone service." Yet I wasn't really satisfied with that answer given all the strife the entire situation is causing. The battle over what our Constitutional Rights is dead in the center of it. The gay rights movement think it is their Constitutional Right to have a cake and the baker thinks it is his Constitutional right to refuse to bake it.
The second most frequently given response was, "It's my job." If the idea of writing scripture on a wedding cake for two people of the same sex, or decorating the cake with plastic statues of two men or two women causes you stress and you feel like you are disobeying God, do you have to do that job?
So I came home and reread my blog and then I rewrote it,and reread it again and rewrote it again. I have never changed my thoughts or my blog so many times. Every time I read it I changed something about it and as I changed the things about it, my opinion changed as well.
On the third day, someone verbally attacked me for my blog. The person said he could no longer consider me a sister in Christ because of my view. I was very upset because I was already confused and this person attitude just made it worse. How could anyone say such a thing to me, I love God.
Then I scanned over the news and saw that Franklin Graham was defending the bakers and I knew in my heart I was treading in very deep water. So with 45 minutes to spare before work,
I called my pastor and asked him to please help me. I read him the verse I had been studying and he said to me, Lori, start with verse 27 and read it again.
So I read, 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.
Then my pastor asked me to repeat the first part again, so I read...
"And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind"
And then he asked me, " O.K. Lori, what does God say about homosexuality?"
I quickly replied, "He says it is an abomination, it is despicable."
And he replied, "So if you love the Lord with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all of your mind, you're going to love what he loves and hate what he hates, are you not?"
"Yes, you will," I replied.
I was still somewhat confused, why were so many people being arrested for something they believed? So then I asked him his thoughts on how Romans 13:1-7 (ESV) related to this situation.
Submission to the Authorities :13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
And I asked him, "Doesn't that mean that God put those rulers in place? And if so, don't we have to submit to those laws?"
"Certainly He did, but the laws you must obey to please God, are the laws of God". (Additional reading on this topic.)
So I took the blog down.
I hope this and the additional reading link above help anyone who may be confused about who to listen to and who to obey. I mentioned once that I don't wear a seat belt because I believe that if God wants me with Him, the seat belt will not prevent that from happening. And if He wants me injured for whatever reason it's going to happen somehow. At the time I wrote that, I added that I only wear my seat belt because it is the law. I have sense had my life threatened by friends and family who insist I wear a seat belt so the jury is still out on that one.
It is up to us, individually to determine the depths of our faith and which things in life are ripe for the battle. If I get pulled over I will be given a ticket for failure to wear a seat belt and I will have to pay a fine, thankfully it won't be $135,000.
My fight in this situation is religious freedom. It is the ability to live and work by the dictates of my faith without being punished by the government and all Americans should be free to do that.~ Aaron Klein ~
Updated information, added June 15, 2015, http://personalliberty.com/forcing-christians-to-condone-sin-is-tyranny/
These people are currently challenging the courts ruling because, at the time of the incident, the same-sex marriage law had not yet passed in Oregon. Regardless of the outcome, God is watching and very much aware of this families commitment to his laws.