And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13 ESV
For Father’s Day my son Daniel bought me a pair of on ear hearing protection that also has Bluetooth, so I can listen to my music on my phone as I mow or work with power tools and save what is left of my hearing. I indulged in way too much loud music in my youth.
I have quite a collection of music on my phone, rock, country and contemporary Christian music. I have been listening to my Christian playlist which mostly consists of older Christian music with some of the more recent music added. One artist that I love is no longer played by Christian radio stations. As a result, people are missing out of some of the best and most Biblical Christian songs in recent history. The artist I refer to is Ray Boltz who in 2008 came out as a gay man. He had separated from his wife of 33 years in 2005.
Now it is not my purpose to say homosexuality is not a sin, God’s Word clearly says it is. It is called a sin in both the Old and New testaments. But a lot of Christians tend to put homosexual sin as some how worse that any other sin. And let’s get this straight being a homosexual is not a sin, but homosexual sex is. That may be too fine a distinction for many, unless we want to classify all temptation as sin.
For most of us hiding our sins from others is relatively easy. We put on a smile and on Sundays we go to church and no one is the wiser. But we all sin. For the gay couple it is not easy to hide, I am reminded living in East Texas in the 70’s. I had long hair and all too often I felt the discrimination that was rampant back then. Just another long-haired hippy. Didn’t matter what I really was like they had judged me. I have a black friend who also traveled through East Texas back then and he was stopped for driving while black. Now I could cut my hair and suddenly I was okay, but my black friend didn’t have that option.
Are we as Christians doing the same to gay people? Judging them by appearance rather than what is in their hearts. When you stand out you are easy to judge. Most of us can silently go through life keeping our sins hidden. But God calls us to love each other. How can we show love if we are too busy judging?
Jesus used tax collectors and a pharisee who was persecuting the church to deliver His message. Jesus ate with prostitutes and sinners. In Mark we are told “and the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17 ESV) I don’t know what God has in store for Ray
We Christians tend to put or pastors and entertainers to a very high standard almost to the point of expecting them to not sin. Then when they do, we are quick to cast them out. But they are subject to the same sinful flesh as we are. Unless you believe as some do that a Christian no longer is capable of sin and if you still sin then you are not saved, and yes, I have encountered people that believe that, then what Ray Boltz and I write are of no account to you. But if you are like Paul was and are still in your sins even as the Holy Spirit works to make us into what God wants us to be then we need to look at how we treat those in the spotlight when they fall short of the goal. Today as I was doing yard work Third Day’s song Wire played on my headphones and I was reminded that they too feel the pressure to be perfect. Here are partial lyrics, “Turn on the spotlight strike up the band everyone’s looking my way. You came to see the excitement first hand hear all that I’ve got to say and oh it makes me wonder what if I slip will they catch me or watch me fall”.
I don’t know what God has in store for Ray Boltz. Maybe God wants him to minister to the gay community. Maybe God has other plans for him. What I do know after listening to all the music he wrote is that Ray Boltz is a brother in Christ. I still listen to his music and I find God and Christ in his lyrics.
When they fall, do we catch them, or do we let them fall and turn our backs?
Have a blessed day,
PS: Here are some of my favorite Ray Boltz songs in no particular order. “Thank You’, “There Stood a Lamb”, “Still Her Little Child”, “AT the Foot of the Cross”, “The Anchor Holds”, and “Where I Met Jesus”. If you don’t want to buy the songs at least look up the lyrics and let me know what you think.