And then God struck …. Not.

firefromheaven
Minutes after the US Supreme Court handed down their ruling overturning bans on same-sex marriage, posts were already going up on Facebook and across the blogosphere about “Spitting in the face of God” and “God’s impending wrath on America.

*Sigh* Really? Of course, this kind of reaction is not surprising. There are a surprising number of people who are invested in preserving tradition and a strict moral code that does not allow for love between two people of the same gender. It’s a religious thing, not a rational one. Not a civil one. Not a constitutional one. And frankly, not a godly one either.

But there it is.  Wrath. Christians who on most days of the week boast about living in God’s grace, now suddenly focused on the doom about to be unleashed on this now pagan America.

But let’s forget about the bantering back and forth about “WWJD?” or what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about homosexuality. We’ll never agree on that anyway. We will always read and interpret the Bible in ways that agree with what we already want to believe. Let’s just look at our own history in Europe and America, and judge whether God is still in the wrath-inflicting business.

When Europe was filled with terror over religious wars in the previous centuries, with people being brutally tortured (Spanish Inquisitions, Holy Wars, Crusades, etc), did God hurl lightning bolts at Rome or London or Castile? Did comets plummet to the earth, wiping out vile Europeans? Or during the Holocaust in the 1930s and -40s, with millions of Jews (“God’s chosen people”), Gypsies, gay people, and others were exterminated, and their ashes literally rose to heaven as their bodies were incinerated — did God inflict his wrath?

In our own illustrious American history, with the genocide of Native Americans, with centuries of slavery, with witch hunts and burning people at the stake, oppression of women and racial minorities, of anti-Semitism, of Islamophobia and homophobia, of lynchings, of gay-bashing and public violence… What about our neglected poor, and those who fought so hard to make sure the poor among us would NOT have food or shelter or medical treatment? Yeah, Social Security is part of our national existence now, but it was strongly resisted when FDR tried to bring it about. Same with Medicare and Medicaid. Just look at the fight over Obamacare, or the hostility directed at “illegal aliens”.

The Bible is full of examples (and commands!) concerning treatment of the weak, the helpless, the widows, orphans, the poor, the aliens in the land. The prophet Ezekiel even declared that that was the reason for God’s punishment on Sodom and Gomorrah — for the citizens of those cities’ lack of concern for the vulnerable among them, while they fattened their own purses and stomachs. Greed, gluttony, selfishness, and turning a blind eye to the needs of others is what irks God. (Ezek 16:49)

Jesus came along and turned a spotlight on these concerns close to God’s heart. Love for our neighbor became a motto. “What you do unto the least of these …” was a standard against which we would ultimately be judged in the next life.

And about “imminent judgment” for sins committed, Jesus pointed at examples in his own day, and said “NO! Those people hurt by disasters were no more sinners than you” (Lk 13:4). And when his own disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven upon those who rejected God’s Good News (listen up, Mike Huckabee!), Jesus smacked them in the face: “You don’t know what Spirit you belong to”  (Lk 9:54).

If America were to invoke the wrath of God — whether by drought or famine or hurricane, flood, earthquake or other natural disaster — it would not be over passing laws that allow people to love and celebrate each other. If anything, we’d fall under his curse for our neglect of the needy among us, the minorities, those illegal aliens who come here looking for a better life. He’d judge us for being the wealthiest nation in this history of this planet, yet 1 out of every 5 children in this country go to bed hungry. We drive our Lexuses, we buy bigger houses, we pad our 401K plans, and our neighbors can’t feed their children. Our grandparents can’t afford their medicines. Our youth are living on the streets, kicked out of their homes by angry parents.  Surely we deserve God’s wrath — but not for marriage equality.

Thankfully, God doesn’t seem to be in the wrath-hurling business. Grace is his trademark characteristic. Love extended to the unworthy, the undeserving. And judgment — by HIS standards, not ours — reserved for the Great White Throne in the next life.  And anyone who is predicting the coming wrath because their traditional moral values no longer hold force in this country, only proves that their traditions were built on sand. They don’t know the heart of God. The same words of Jesus apply today as well as then: “You know not what Spirit you are of.”

 

[box type=”bio”] STEVE SCHMIDT is the Teaching Pastor at Expressions in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of the seminary at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and holds two masters degrees in Biblical Literature and Divinity. He did his doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. He is editor of IMPACT Magazine, and blogs here on the Cafe Inspirado column. Plus you can find him making random comments about life on Facebook. [/box]

43 thoughts on “And then God struck …. Not.

  1. The world kept turning after so many other countries legalized marriage equality. It’s only the arrogance of many from the conservative Christian movement that God holds the US “to a higher standard,” therefore the fact that we now have marriage equality makes all the difference of the world.

    So much for an impartial God.

  2. Ezekiel 16:49-50 – (49) Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. (50) Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.…

  3. How can people truly love a God who holds such hate against humanity? After the words of Justice Kennedy and the memorial service held in Charleston, I think the Holy One’s angels smiled.

  4. Now that this issue has been resolved, why can’t we turn our energy and focus to dealing with corporate greed and poverty in our nation?

  5. Yes! And also racism, the environment, and women’s equality in the workplace. There are so many issues that desperately need our attention.

  6. Do we think God loves America more than any other country that has legalized gay marriage that he would destroy us and not them ? Did God destroy Canada? The Netherlands? Brazil? etc?

  7. We Need to be less “Sin Conscious” and more conscious of our “Righteousness in Christ” that he “Imputes (Gifts/Gives Freely)” to those who just “Believe (Have Faith).” The Churches focus shouldn’t be on Sin anymore, because we all have it, but our Focus should be on our Imputed Righteousness, and His Love. If we really want to save the World, and lead People to Jesus, we can’t do that buy displays of hatred, or telling them how horrible they are. We can only lead people to a relationship with God by being Love personified, as Christ was… Love. Showing Love, Talking Love, Acting in Love, and Preaching by Love because God is Love. If we are to be God-Like, that is to display who he is… Love, which will give people a WANT and DESIRE to be united with him by Jesus Christ.

    – Pastor Joey Bauer.

  8. Some Christians seem to be under the misunderstanding that the USA is a Christian nation, and that it should run to their understanding of Christian morality.

    Which is legalism, when you try to make people live to religious rules, an idea that should be about 2,000 years out of date.

  9. What is wrong with you gutless emasculated whimps?! Thank God the Levites weren’t like you gutless wonders when He called for the idolators to be killed! At what point will wickedness start bothering you?!

  10. Timothy, bro… You just gave the PERFECT example of hatred that we were talking about. That post was just down right horrible, talking about Sin and Wickedness, in God’s sight what you just said is Sin and Wicked… Thats God’s law bro, that puts you in the same boat as a homosexual or adulterer. Sin is not measured in God’s eyes. The New Covenant, which came rushing in with Grace after Christ said… “It… Is… Finished” only taljs about Faith and Love being the Standard by which Christians should live. Faith and Love, thats it… Anything else is None of our business but rather between God and that individual.

  11. Just some historical information about one of the important stories we read in Acts is when ALL OF A SUDDEN, the Apostle Phillip was put in the exact place to preach Jesus, Save, and Baptize a Eunic… Those familiar with Eunics will know most of them were Homosexual or would Emasculate themselves. Right after Phillip was done, we see that he was seen miles and miles, on the other side of the country. The Eunic wondering what happened to him. If God cared so much about that one person who was reading the Scriptures to literally transport Phillip there and back, why wouldn’t he love and care for those people now??? I believe that Scripture and Story was put there just for this Generation of People who usr Sin as an excuse to be hateful.

  12. Give me a stinking break. Do you have any clue what sin is?! Jesus was right, in the last days evil would be called good, and good evil. This sick self-righteous attitude is wicked! At what point will you be ready to overturn the tables?!

  13. Timothy, is Anger and Wrath from a Human Sin according to God’s Law? What about Idle Words which Show Hatred like what you said and the words “Fool, or Stupid?” That is Sin too my brother. Be careful my friend because the measure you meet is the measure which will be used towards you. There will come a time when you need understanding, patience, mercy, and love, but it might not be there because of the unwillingness to show it to others. If you really want people to come to Salvation and have a Relationship with God… Hatred is contrary to what you wish to Accomplish.

  14. you obviously don’t know me. You don’t know my heart. And if no one is there for me when I need it, God will be! But God knows who are His, and who are to be saved, and its not dependent on me to save people. But it is my responsibility to fight for the legacy I leave to the next generation. The perverts know this and are all in as far as fighting to get their debauchery accepted. How much are you willing to put in to fight for godliness and righteousness?! You’ll tell the perverts that God loves them while they’re on a road straight to hell? And what kind of world are you leaving for your kids?! Please don’t stand next to me while fighting the enemy, its enough to have to fight Satan, let alone having to worry that the guy next to me is going to stab me in the back to look loving to the perverts!

  15. Wow Timothy, just more Hatred… You didn’t even answer my question on if “According to God’s Law” is Anger, Wrath, and Hatred considered Sin? If you read the Bible you’d see that YES INDEED IT IS SIN! Anything contrary to God’s Law in the Old Covenant (Exd, Num, Lev, Deut. Ect…) is SIN. You are breaking quite a few of God’s laws with these post but according to the Bible you only need to break ONE to be guilty of breaking them all… So that makes you a sinner. So now you, as a sinner, are telling other people God doesn’t love them, nor accept them, but he does love and accept you because “They’re Sin is Different?” My friend, please read The Word, and get to know the Living Word so that youll know the depths of God’s Love. To God, Anger is the same as Murder. To God Wrath and Idle Words are just as Punishable as Homosexuality or Adultery. You are in the same condition anybody else is in, except youve placed Faith and Hope in Christ and thats great! But why wouldn’t you want to save, and lead as many people as possible to that same Salvation? If you do want to… You can’t do it by showing the World what you are showing them… Hatred. Its impossible to lead somebody to Christ through a Message filled with sentences calling them perverts, fools, wimps, and saying you are glad another Believer in Christ isn’t standing by your side. Bro, thats hateful and nothing but Condemning. Look up in Romans where Paul EXPLICITLY SAYS… “THE GOODNESS OF GOD LEADS TO REPENTANCE.”

  16. 19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God:
    depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly,
    and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee?
    and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred:
    I count them mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart:
    try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. (KJV) Psalms 139:19-24

  17. Timothy, I can do this too… Did you miss these parts in the Bible, especially the one about “Anger” or what about Romans 2:4, and calling any type of people God created “Unclean or Common”

    James 2:10
    10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend on one point, he is guilty of all.

    Eph 4:29

    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

    Acts 10:28
    And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.

    Psalms 37:8
    Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

    James 1:20
    For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

    Romans 2:4
    4 Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

  18. What does this have to do with moral outrage for the endorsement of perversion? Should we endorse perversion? Or should we be angered that it’s being forced on society? Should we oppose sin, or should we endorse it because it’ll be the “goodness of God that leads to repentance.”. Should I cite what Paul said to the Corinthians about homosexuality? Don’t you know there is a time to fight?

  19. Sin is failing to love God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and failing to love our neighbors as ourselves. Homosexuals are pursuing perversion as a substitute for true love. Doesn’t that offend you?! Will you not stand up for truth?! Don’t you know that if you don’t take a stand for truth, they’ll never respect what you have to say, as you try to water down the gospel to make it palatable for them? Be a man! Take a stand for God!

  20. I’ll just throw this in, tho I know it won’t change any minds. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with your whole heart and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. You don’t have to agree with their beliefs or their “lifestyles”. But if choose to deny them the same rights you have, then maybe we understand that second command differently.

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