By M. Newberg
I want to talk about violence against diversity. Violence toward someone because they may be different. Is it beneficial to anyone to be violent toward people that seem different? Is it beneficial to God? Is it beneficial to the victim? Is it beneficial to the offender? If I don’t react violently or in an aggressive way, am I condoning their diversity?
My daughter told me about such an incident recently at her cousin’s high school graduation. My daughter picked up her cousin’s friend for the graduation. This friend is having gender identity issues. The friend, I’ll call Audrey, happens to have recently attended church. This church also recently kicked her out of the congregation because of her issues. At the graduation the pastor of the church confronted Audrey and told her that she was not allowed to be there. The pastor had Audrey cornered, was very aggressive and used inappropriate language. My daughter stepped in to protect Audrey and to defend her; the situation came close to ending in a fist fight!
How did this violent behavior benefit the pastor?
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galations 6:1 NASB
This pastor has failed to study her scriptures closely. We don’t know why Audrey is struggling. We don’t know what may have happened to her, or why she is tempted in the way that she is. To approach her with violence and aggression does not fit with what God Elohim says!
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17
We are to gently restore those that have fallen. When we confront them, it should be in private not in a public place violently. What about the biblical laws that call for stoning sinners? I believe that all of God’s laws are still in place; however, what would supersede this stoning?
John 8:1-11 gives an account of a woman caught in adultery, which, according to the law, would be punishable by stoning. The pharisees and scribes tested Jesus whether the woman should be stoned based on the law of Moses. He responds with, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one they all left who were accusing her. She was left alone with Jesus who says, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
So why didn’t Jesus stone the woman? He could have stoned her because He was without sin. I submit that it was better for her to repent and to be saved than to die in her sin. God’s grace. It is better for people to be gently restored unto salvation than to continue in their sin or to die in their sin and perish forever.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
Audrey is left with fear, shame, and possibly hatred toward someone who supposedly is a “Christian”. Has this drawn her closer to the Messiah? Has it healed her? I doubt it. She may never trust a believer again. More importantly she may never trust God Elohim again. What kind of witness was this behavior to my daughter?
This time violence has not solved anything. The scriptures teach us to be like Jesus. Was this pastor lady being a good representative of Jesus? Not according to Romans 2:4.
I’m sure you have heard the old saying, “you catch more bees with honey than vinegar”. Just because I am not violent or aggressive towards someone because of their sin doesn’t mean that I condone their behavior. I believe that I can be a better light with gentleness. Talking to and witnessing to someone, I believe, involves listening to them interacting with them, and showing them the love of God Elohim.
Believers, have you considered how to react when you encounter diversity? Something to think about!