The Sinking of a Great Ship
On April 15, 1912, the largest and, many say, one of the most luxurious passenger ships ever built went down in the sea in the North Atlantic. Almost 90 years before our generation experienced 9/11, a horrible tragedy was reported around the world and shook the hearts of people across every continent. They said it was unsinkable but making that voyage from England to New York, it went down and there, until this day, remains at the bottom of the sea. The number of people killed in that tragedy is not exact but ranges somewhere around 1,500-1,600 men, women, and children. For years, people have speculated and tried to discover what happened that night of April 14 that caused the ship to go down the following day.
In recent years, scientists with cameras that can be lowered to the sea floor have repeatedly examined pieces of the ship and, while there still may be things to be discovered, this they know: On that cold April night the ship struck an iceberg which made huge gashes in the hull of the Titanic. Those open gashes allowed the near-freezing waters of the Atlantic to pour in and within hours engulf the ship and pull it to the ocean floor. While some of the survivors say that there were people who were trying to keep calm on the ship and reassure everyone that this was the unsinkable Titanic and all would be fine, in other parts of the ship there were both crew and passengers who were in panic mode simply from instinctively realizing this was not good.
In our day, we have watched what seems to be new gashes in the hull of the mighty ship known as the United States of America. In fact, over the years of many of us — our lifetimes — we have watched enormous gashes in the ship of state. Just think about it, for over the past few decades we have watched decisions through the courts and other means that have removed prayer of any type from our schools. We have watched as God and any influence He may have in our history was removed from teachings for our children. We have seen the law of the land allow babies to be removed from their mother’s womb, never to take a breath. Recently we have watched as the highest court in the land by a 5-4 decision redefined marriage.
The latest ruling that now is called the law of the land was not a decision made about legislation but about definition that changed the biblical picture of marriage into a new social definition of marriage from one man and one woman to a person and a person. In the clear teachings of the Word of God beginning in the opening pages of Genesis, the Scripture says that God made them male and female and then in the garden God presented a woman to a man so that their lives would be fulfilled and their futures would be bright as they would be blessed with each other and populate the land.
The Supreme Court decision not only was a change in America but a change from every culture and every religious teaching — even beyond those who hold to the Bible as the Word of God. Sounds of ecstasy and agony were heard all across the land when the ruling came down. Another huge gash ripped the fabric of American society, and the hull of the great ship was damaged. Now, most of these decisions over the years have supposedly been made to ensure freedom and civil rights for people. The right of a mother to choose whether or not she wants that baby to be born. The right of other religions to be respected so nobody gets to pray. The right of a man who loves a man or a woman who loves a woman to have their union described as a marriage under the banner of marriage equality.
What has in cultures around the world been a foundational piece of society and the civil relationship of marriage, how it takes place, and how it can even be undone by divorce, now has no parameters and obviously will be battle-fought in the courts and probably again before the Supreme Court in decades to come because of the open-ended interpretation of marriage. Within one week after the ruling there were applications being made and people discussing how to go about getting a marriage license to include a polygamous second wife. They supposedly love each other and so now a man who has a wife wants a right to another wife.
Then there are the discussions of group marriages – for example, two men and two women or four men and four women. For those who say in astonishment, “Well, that would never happen,” take a short step back ten and especially twenty years ago when virtually all of us would have said what happened a few days ago before the courts would never happen, but it did.
What are we supposed to do? All is not lost and while there are gashes in the hull of this great American ship, you and I can be a part of the rescue to keep her afloat. While there are many things that can be done, let me just suggest three:
One – Return to God. Let God work in your life individually. What God wants to do in homes needs to be brought into the laboratory of your own life, to let Him work with you and your mate and your family. If the passion and outrage against the court decision were to be turned into spiritual fervor to follow God and let Christ be the center of our lives and our homes, what an incredible difference that can make.
Two – Reestablish the biblical home. I mean by that to help day-by-day create an atmosphere of love and care for you and your companion and you and your offspring. Help keep your children focused toward the will, plan, and purpose of God in their lives. Don’t just use all of your energy to get them on the best sports team or push them in some specific academic pursuit. All of these things come under the governance of God as our Leader and our Savior.
Three – Resist hate. Do not be caught up in a web of hate against people who may not share our values. Don’t be on a tirade of hate and exclusion of people from your church or fellowship. We seldom do that with any other group of sinners. We welcome sinners to come to the house of God and hear the Good News from heaven that our sins can be forgiven and life can be different in Christ. If you’re going to exclude a specific group or a specific sin, think about that in terms of the sinners we already allow in to our churches. Do you welcome people in your church who may be struggling with some addiction? Do you have anybody come and worship where you go to church who may have had an affair and damaged their home? Do you let people come in who have been convicted of some crime, or do you allow people to come and worship in your church who may have, during the week gone by, used God’s name in vain or cheated on a business deal or had a bad attitude or maybe ignored the teaching of Scripture that we are supposed to tithe? Most of those folks get a free pass and beyond that, we even love them.
After the Supreme Court announcement was made, there were rainbow banners that went up from the White House down to local celebrations that said “Love wins.” Well, I’m not sure if that ruling is a true expression of love winning and time will tell what it means for a society, but I can tell you this for sure: There are those of us who know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and gather together to share His Good News that there is hope in the midst of despair and there is love that comes from heaven itself that can make a difference in everyone’s life. It is a different kind of love. It is a John 3:16, Jesus-on-the-cross-for-us, and us-loving-others-in-His-name, kind of love. It is not an easy love, but it is a genuine, life-changing, eternity-changing love. He has put us here to preach it, teach it, express it, and be the embodiment of His love at work.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.