“I don’t want to betray God. What should I do?” is a question (or a varied version of it) that I have been confronted with more and more often lately as a leader within women’s ministries (which often is a trusted source for wise counsel). The question typically comes from precious, children of God who diligently want to please God, but are surrounded by their loved ones choosing the way of sin and are then faced with complex decisions that seem to compete against both relationships.
I am not a trained biblical counselor, but in the wisdom God has generously given me (James 1:5), the default response in any situation is always LOVE and GRACE. For a believer in Christ Jesus, the quickest way to betray God and displease Him is to deny love and compassion. God IS love and His greatest commandment is to love God and love other people as ourselves. The full counsel of God’s Word says that loving others includes the unlovely, our enemies and those who may not return our love. It is by our unconditional love that we are known as God’s children and His disciples. Loving people does not equal concurrence to their sinful behavior. We are not held accountable to other’s sin, only our own actions. Love and grace never lose. Jesus Christ never rejected anyone from receiving His demonstrated love here on this earth; therefore, we are not called as His followers to shun or cast out anyone from our love put in action.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Dishonor toward another will not lead a person to the heart of Christ, but LOVE WILL. God will be faithful to expose and convict sin in the perfect time prepared for by Him, when it is the most probable moment to lead to repentance. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to do His redemptive work through restoration and reconciliation in His time…and our actions should be in partnership with His rather than a hindrance to His work.
With our culture no longer prone to hiding all forms of sexual immorality, most currently homosexuality (and it being touted as an acceptable lifestyle choice), more and more families are now faced with the reality of same-sex weddings being planned and/or simply how to navigate family gatherings with significant others in tow. The question arises for wise counsel, “Should I attend my child’s same-sex wedding? I don’t want to betray God. What should I do?” The answer should be YES, attend the wedding! That step is an act of love, honor and care toward the parent/child relationship and is NOT an act that proves that the sin is either loved or condoned.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Christ was not legalistic and neither should we be. In fact, God thought it worthy for us to know in His word that Christ publicly chastised and disciplined the pious, self-righteous Pharisees; the keepers of the law. It was they who condemned Jesus Christ for not keeping to the law in spite of what was right in the moment for the people He loved. Jesus had come to fulfill the law and showed us how the truth of the gospel sets us free and does not hold us in bondage to neither the law nor to a lifestyle of sin any longer.
Just as 1 Corinthians 13:6 says, “love does not DELIGHT in evil but rejoices with the truth.” It is not greatly pleased and happy with sinful ways. BUT it does NOT say that love ignores evil and will not stand in the same room with it. Love rather covers the evil by rejoicing with the TRUTH. What is the truth? Jesus is!! He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). We rejoice with Jesus while subjected to circumstances of evil, because we know that His love never fails and it will remain true through His grace by which salvation comes in faith.
We do not need to fear evil, turn our back on it, or even question that God would associate us with it when we have His love that follows us into those dark scenarios with the motivation and purpose of showing His love off in us. We can have faith that He will guide the way through the hard places of circumstance.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:4-6
God is HONORED rather than betrayed when we take His love into the enemy territory.