Scripture Verse of the Day

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day After Flag Day

Yesterday was Flag Day. I posted on Facebook an image of a flag waving proudly with a message about it being Flag Day. One of my friends in jest suggested that I put away my flag before I offend a fellow American! I replied: Oh, YES, SIR I WILL GLADLY offend any American who does not appreciate our flag and what it stands for!    And then a couple of emails came. : /

They could not believe that I would willingly offend a fellow American with my flag and what it stood for. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I got to thinking about it. Why not?? A flood of thoughts came to my mind about why I would willingly offend a professing American who does not appreciate our flag and what it stood for.

For ALL of our faults, I believe America is still the greatest nation in which I live. I believe that our nation represents and parallels a time similar to which God sent Abram to an unknown land, assuring him that He is choosing him and his wife, Sarai, to be the parents of His chosen people, even though they were barren. God needed to remove them from their familiar land, their family, their customs and cultures, so that He can give them a new life full of blessings. Our beginnings consisted of people who left their homes, their families, their cultures and their customs (although carrying some of them), to begin a new life in an unknown land.

Our colonies started much like the tribes of Israel. For the most part, each colony (tribe) had their own way of governing themselves, even among native inhabitants of the foreign land. This went on for about a hundred years, and then it became important to join the colonies together against a common enemy. This is much like Moses being chosen to free the Israelites from  the Egyptian pharaoh. God gave them the victory; God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians. Despite insufficient resources, God delivered the colonies (like the Hebrews) from Europe/England (like Egypt) and they gained their Independence.

Now what?

Like the birth of the Law of Moses to the Israelites, the birth of our Constitution gave us an identity as the United States of America.

It took a little time before the people Israel were given the Laws of Moses. These laws were what helped create unity in a people. Not that the laws were always obeyed, but the uniqueness of the laws set these people apart. There universal laws (common laws which were divinely understood by mankind) and then there are laws of a people. In this case, we're speaking of the people of Israel. Some of the laws mentioned in the Talmud pertain to the making of the sons of Levi' priesthood raiment and the prayer shawl. From the inspiration of the prayer shawl eventually comes the flag of Israel.

Unlike Israel, our national flag came before our national constitution. The history of our American flag is an interesting study, in my opinion. The celebration of Flag Day is one of many reminders of how we've grown as a nation, encompassing everything about our nation. Our flag identifies not only our nation as a whole, but it also uniquely acknowledges our individual states that make up this nation via stars, and even stripes! Our flag acknowledges our beginnings (the 13 stripes for our 13 colonies) and our contemporary standing now (50 stars for all 50 states that make up our nation). While our colors were not clearly defined when our flag was developed, the Congress of Confederation in 1782 noted meaning for these same colors when developing the Great Seal of the United States. WHITE stood for purity and innocence, RED stood for valor and hardiness, and BLUE stood for vigilance, perseverance and justice. George Washington is often said to believe that the stars were taken from the skies, the red from the British colors, and the white stripes signified secession from the home/mother land. The original 13 stars were circular to indicate equality of the colonies-states, that none should be viewed above another.  

For the fair youth of our nation, we have a very rich history initially developed by a determined people, passed onto determined generations, who learned how to live, and how to govern, and even how to be governed. Our United States Constitution is an extremely unique document which has seen very little change up to today. Our Constitution represents how we live, how we govern, and how we celebrate our history. While it seems to be hotly debatable, our Constitution largely represents the Providence of God for our nation. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." ~Psalm 33:12~ In our freedoms expressed by our founding fathers, we are a blessed nation from the smallest of us to the greatest among us.

Our flag represents EVERYTHING about America--our liberties, our blessings, our charity, our victories--EVERYTHING. Unlike our constitution, our flag is easily accessible for individuals to express our pride and patriotism in this greatest nation called The United States of America. To say that you are an American and you take these things for granted to the point that you are offended by our flag, and what we stand for, can be seen as treasonous. But we are a genteel, civilized folk...we can humbly escort you off our shores.


Okay. I have about had enough of the broad brush stroke over people who happen to disagree about the acceptance of homosexuality. Yeah, I'm going there. I figure if you are going to dislike me (or worse) for having a disagreement with you, I might as well present you with my full canvas.

Got that?

My issue is STRICTLY with homosexuality. NOT the PERSON.

EACH of us struggles with a stronghold of some nature, some are more prominent than others. EACH of us has issues we feel we can't overcome. EACH of us wonders if we are made to be the way we are. EACH of us struggles with worth in either God's eyes and/or society's (man's) eyes. Some people struggle with homosexuality. Even when they believe they must accept their condition, it's still a struggle no different than any other sin some of us may face in our lives.

I have some friends who are gay. I have witnessed goodness in these people as men would count goodness. One is a wonderful father to an adopted special-needs child. This child has blossomed under his care. He is a very dedicated father. His child's adventures have been very inspiring.
Another friend is also a very dedicated father to his family. His biological daughter is someone to be proud of. He gave his family his all. He is also a very intelligent man.
I have yet another friend who recently came out of the closet. He is an art genius.

Having said all of this, do I accept that they are gay? Yes. That is a part of them on which I choose not to focus because their personhood is SO MUCH greater than whether or not they are gay.
Do I accept their homosexuality? Absolutely NOT. This is where we respectfully part ways (yes, I said CAN happen).    

Even before I became a Christian, I believed homosexuality is wrong. It's just wrong. It goes against the natural physical course of life via procreation, for starters. Biblically speaking, it's morally wrong. It is considered an abomination against God. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their wickedness.

Moving into deeper waters......

Do I support speaking out against homosexuality? YES.
Do I support harming homosexuals because of their lifestyles? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

NO ONE has any business in bullying, harming, and killing anyone because they are gay. THAT IS WRONG, especially in light of being Christians.

I do NOT support gay rights (legally adopting a lifestyle with the benefits after the manner of traditional marriage, which I do believe is designed by God Himself). However, I DO support human rights (being able to live without being harmed). I will not go out of my way to support gay marriage/relationships, but I don't believe they need to be harmed because of how they live.
Speaking only as a Christian, every one of us has an opportunity for redemption. NONE of us are better than another. Each one of us deserves a chance to live unless God takes us out first. If someone kills another because they don't approve of their lifestyle, then their rap sheet will include murder. Jesus warns us that if we take it upon ourselves to kill what we consider ungodly, thinking we are doing God's service, we run a huge risk for, at the very least, displeasing God. ~John 16:1-4~ Ouch. 

Going in even deeper still...............

Do I believe homosexuality is a choice or something with which someone is born? Both.
I had always believed this, but I had always struggled with putting into words my thoughts on this matter.Then I heard a pastor expound on this very subject using Psalm 51:5 to illustrate his message.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. ~Psalm 51:5~     

By Adam, sin came into the world for mankind. By Jesus, salvation came into the world for mankind. 
David was born as a sinner. He was born with the nature to sin. We all are. David acknowledges, however, that he was shapen in iniquity. He acknowledges that he had influences that shaped how he thought about things and eventually into the acts he would perform. Alcoholism, adultery, murder, lying, are examples of ingrained tendencies which can be acted upon or rejected. If personal sin is not dealt with, then it eventually can become an issue of generational sin. More often than not, we are a product of our environment. If all you see is sin but you don't recognize it as sin and don't treat it as sin, then it can become a way of life for you, or develop into a tendency. Soon you have a generation who does not know they are sinning, and the sin then becomes perpetual because they see nothing wrong with what they are doing. Was I Born This Way? explains this so much better than I ever could. 

Having said all of this, I do believe that we all deserve compassion. God calls us to treat each other better. We are all individuals who can greatly contribute to this world and to God's purpose, whatever that may be. If our focus is limited to unrighteously judging the sins others commit, then NONE of us would have any value, NO good would ever come to mankind, and that is sinful in God and men's eyes.