A few weeks ago, I spent time with two friends, one of whom has a gay brother. I was asked, “How should I respond if I’m ever invited to his wedding?”
To begin with, there are no easy answers. The Bible doesn’t speak directly to that question. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit, with the Bible as our guide, does give us some guidance on this question.
One of the responses you’ll hear from gay Christians is that the church seems to be very forgiving with the high rate of divorce and remarriage in the church. (Setting aside, that the Bible does allow divorce for some reasons.) And many pastors are marrying people who have been living together prior to marriage. It seems very hypocritical to them that heterosexual Christians draw the line on same-sex marriage, even attending a same-sex marriage ceremony. I think their charge is valid. Notice I did not say, their observation validates gay marriage. It’s just that they have a point.
However, they (some LGBT+ Christians or their families) try to make this comparison; If you’ll attend a re-marriage of someone who’s been the cause of an unbiblical divorce, which you acknowledge was a sin, why won’t you attend my wedding, which you also think is a sin?
My short answer? I wouldn’t. I have in the past but, I now regret it. It is inconsistent and hypocritical. But back to my friend’s question about his own brother’s wedding. What is a reasonable Christian response? Here was my counsel:
1. Sit down with your brother and assure him that you still love him. He’s your brother! (And in this case, the gay man and his friend are very active in their church and both claim to be believers.)
2. Also tell him what you believe the Bible says on the subject of both same-sex, sex and marriage. (Be warned, in all likelihood, your brother has studied these questions for years and therefore will come fully prepared to answer every question with what he believes is a biblical response. You will not “win” this debate. But, God doesn’t expect you to. He only expects you to speak truth and live the truth. So, simply tell him what you believe the Bible teaches.)
3. Assuming he still is wanting to get married and asking for you and your family to attend, this is how I’d respond;
John, I’m sorry I can’t attend your wedding, nor will my family. It would be impossible for me to attend a ceremony that I believe celebrates a union that God prohibits. And it would put a damper on your day for me to sit there stone faced and quiet.
I’ve warned you as best as I know how, but if you make this choice, I can’t celebrate it. You’ll have to answer to God for this some day, as I’ll have to answer for my willful sin. But here’s what I will do. Once you’ve made that decision and are married, I will promise to be as kind and gracious to you and your spouse as I can possibly be and welcome him into our family. The love of Christ compels me to do that.
However, I do plan to sit down with our older children and help them understand why I believe what you’re doing is wrong. I wouldn’t want them to think that by welcoming your spouse into our family that I, or the Bible, condone same-sex marriage.
I’m sure my response disappoints you, but my conscience and my biblical convictions give me no other option. Someday both of us will stand before God and have to give an account for all our decisions. I can’t be responsible for yours, but I am for mine and my family’s. I’m sorry. I love you.
Question: So, what do you think of my advice? What advice would you have given?
How following Jesus works in real life.
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