Recently there have been a number of bakeries and cake makers/decorators being sued because they have refused to bake and decorate cakes for gay wedding ceremonies or for pro same-sex marriage functions.
My heart goes out to these Christian cake makers. It must be awful to be sued for something that you stand by. Something you fiercely protect. Something you believe you need to do in order to please God and protect His word. I understand where they're at.
But in the same position, if I had been the baker, I would have acted differently.
My perspective and personal opinion is that I think Jesus might well have baked the cake. Again, in my view, I think he would have attended the wedding.
From what we see written about the ministry of Jesus, we gather that Jesus didn't have a problem being around certain people, events or activities.
I really like this paragraph from PSI Columnist Brad Mills:
'I think Christians who are quick to judge and label and exclude always love to quote verses to shun, prohibit and justify their perceived status-quo. They will keep themselves in the 'right' and on top of the social, economic, religious or elite pile. This view of God becomes more about control, and less about what I think Jesus really came to demonstrate. Jesus started a radical revolution, a new way, a new idea of loving till it hurt. This servant leadership changed the world, and is still transforming it.'
For me the cake represents an opportunity to love, create relationships and support people no matter where they're at in their lives or what choices they make.
Loving, accepting and supporting me
Many people have chosen to do this for me along my path. They have loved and supported me through brilliantly happy and good times and also through very dark times. They loved and accepted me through choices I made that they did not agree with. They celebrated with me, they cried with me.
I experienced much pain that was delivered to me from others and also pain I put myself through. And there are still things I do that cause people to question and stand against me. We all experience this in life.
There are shining lights amongst it all.
Back in the 90s I had a friend who would come partying with me and my friends. She would dance all night and mostly not even drink. We were up to much more unwholesome activities throughout the night but she would not partake. She would not say anything against us and chose to be with us and have fun. And she chose to love me. She is still one of my best friends to this day.
Sadly there were many opposite voices in the background. Voices that had good intention and care for me, but played out through fear, disapproval and judgement. It made me feel unacceptable, unloveable and dejected.
It drove me further away from them and from God. It showed me anything but love and acceptance. If they thought their method would bring me closer to God and the truth, they were gravely mistaken.
Defending your disapproval and judgement, hoping it will help people realise things in their life just leaves you in the distance with no relationship, despite your greatest 'convictions'.
Acceptance and love does not mean...
Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, says of the Colorado bakery 'Masterpiece', 'No one is asking Masterpiece's owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple'.
Acceptance and support does not mean compromising your own faith and beliefs. My friend on the dance floor could have compromised. She could have joined what we were doing, contrary to who she was and what she believed was the right thing for her personally to do. But she did not. And I never expected her to. In fact, I admired her.
Stephen Covey said, 'The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.'
God is love. The Bible declares peace, love and grace. Jesus has given us example after example of how we are to love people. This is the main thing. Why do we lose sight of this with our perceived calling to judge others?
It was completely unnecessary and unfair to sue the bakeries for not making or decorating the cakes. And there are plenty in the gay community shaking their heads at the choice of those who have taken legal action. But it has brought forth an interesting discussion that has revealed much from each side.
Some from the Christian side declared the customers should have found a gay cake maker to provide their gay cakes. Why? Do I ensure my wedding cake is made by someone with exactly the same beliefs as me? Christians can't even agree on much so who would I go to? How exclusive and non-relational do we want to be? How far does this kind of thinking go?
Relationship or destruction
Perhaps we need to ask ourselves a few questions;
Is my view and choices creating or destroying relationship? Am I defending my view to the detriment of loving people? What will happen if I drop my judgement in favour of relationship?
What if we could trust God to defend and fulfil His own word? He does the changing of hearts and lives and displays His power and loveâeven despite our best efforts. He would love it if we could jump on board with showing love and acceptance for all His creations.
Thankfully some of my LGBT friends and relatives already know how much God loves them. This warms my heart each day. This is the message I want to spread to the LGBT community.
Belinda Croft has been writing for Press Service International since 2010. She lives a gypsy life with her husband Russell and their three children and will settle somewhere in Queensland at some point. Her passion for understanding the things of God in simple ways, social justice and current news influence her writing style.
Belinda Croft's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html