I received an invitation in the mail to attend my gay cousin’s wedding. I am conflicted about going. I love him, and his partner is a very nice guy. They both grew up as Christians. On the other hand, the Bible teaches against this, and I think I would feel uncomfortable at the wedding because of this. What should I do? Should I say anything? How do I maintain a relationship with them even after the wedding?
Mark – Atlanta, Georgia
life is truly becoming more and more complicated as society changes from more traditional values, based on a simple reading of the Bible, to a more postmodern reality filled with variations and multiple arrangements in relationships. The sexual revolution of the 1960s, a mostly heterosexual phenomenon, has given way to a number of alternative sexuality practices and arrangements, making life in the third millennium even more difficult to navigate.
So what is a Christian to do when confronted with a dilemma such as the one you have just posed? By your own admission, you would feel uncomfortable attending the wedding because of what you have read in the Bible about same-sex attraction and relationships. However, the question we should ask ourselves is: Would attending such an event convey our agreement with what is being done, or simply show support for the relative who was kind enough to send an invitation?
We hasten to offer that this is a dilemma each person will have to answer individually. Romans 14:23 states: “For whatever is not from faith is sin.” This means that whatever you decide to do must be based on the personal conviction of what you believe God is calling you to do. We cannot decide for you. We do know, however, God may have a special role for you to play in the lives of the couple getting married. It would be difficult to influence your cousin and his partner in the future if you simply ignore his invitation. Remember, Jesus frequently spent time in the company of sinners and people of ill repute, and the Pharisees were constantly accusing Him of being inappropriate: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners’ ” (Matthew 11:19).
The Gospel writer continues in Matthew 5:13, 14: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? . . .You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Salt is a preservative that can work only when next to that which needs to be cured and preserved; and light is valuable only when used in the darkness to illuminate the way.
We believe we must challenge ourselves to be salt and light. However, this reality will take place only when we live our lives as ministry in service to God for the salvation of others. It is not possible to save sinners if we hang out only with the righteous (let’s not forget that we too are sinners). We must press past the discomfort of our preferred perspectives to reach people where they are.
A prominent Christian writer of the nineteenth century declared: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence.
Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing [Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905], p. 143). Let’s follow Jesus’ example so that by God’s grace we might be used as instruments of His salvation and peace. We will continue to pray for you as you grapple with this difficult and serious dilemma.