“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
I’m almost certain the Kim Davis is sitting at home right now feeding off this verse. Ms. Davis has decided that she stands for God’s law by denying marriage certificates to gay couples. I’m certain she feels persecuted, insulted and falsely charged by the world because she refuses to follow the laws of the United States and follow God’s law in its place.
One wonders, though, that while she is defending God’s definition of marriage from homosexuals, is she defending God’s definition of marriage from other forms of Biblical aberrations. I’m pretty sure Ms. Davis has issued marriage licenses to the divorced (Matthew 5:27-30) or Christians marrying non-Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14).
I’m sure she’s also issued a license to couples, who have no reason to be married. What about pregnant teenagers or horny grandpa and his teenage bride. She sure would do the world a favor and refuse an abuser from marrying his emotionally manipulated wife. But no, just gay couples.
I digress. Let’s return to the original verse. The blessing of the persecuted is the reward of heaven. Sounds real good doesn’t it. The problem is Ms. Davis has fallen into the trap of focusing on one verse as her personal treasure and disregarding the other verses around it. This is what we call in the world of Biblical interpretation as “Context.”
Matthew 5:11-12 is a part of the Beatitudes, which opens the famous Sermon on the Mount. Jesus describes the attitudes that Christ’s followers must take into their hearts to be a true follower. These are the attitudes: poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, shows mercy, pure in heart, peacemakers and the persecuted.
Let’s highlight a few attitudes: poor in spirit, meek, shows mercy and peacemaker. Now let’s take a look at the picture:
I sense a disconnect here. The Christian PR Team has decided that inciting controversy and denying the legal rights of the gay community is the best image of Christ the world needs to see.
What Evangelicals today fail to understand that our true calling as believers is the Christ-like life. We are living examples of Christ walking the earth today. Non-believers will know who Christ is by our example. The problem is our example is not that of Christ. More on this topic in the future.
Living like Christ is hard. No, it’s impossible. But it is by His Spirit that we can do it. When it comes to the laws of the land, you can not legislate Christ-likeness.
What Evangelicals today don’t understand is what real persecution looks like. Real persecution is having your reputation destroyed because you dared befriend a gay person; because you defended a gay person from being beaten by thugs; because you considered the life of a homosexual as more important than your own.