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“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

August 19, 2012

"It would have been too easy to misinterpret," she said. "Our concern was that proverbial law of unintended consequences and what could happen to our patients."

This quote is from the third to last paragraph of a news item from FoxNews.com titled California law barring parents from "curing" gay children moves through legislature".

Some of the unintended consequences mentioned in the article include charges that
"[The law] unconstitutionally prohibits speech…violates privacy and personal autonomy rights, intermeddles in theological disputes, clashes with other laws and creates significant unintended consequences," according to the Pacific Justice Institute.

Some proponents of the bill look at it as solving a health issue. They cite things like
"We pass laws saying minors can't buy tobacco products; anyone under 21 can't legally drink alcohol and we force parents to put their very young children into car seats while they're driving".

But then - what about another unintended consequence?

Before Jesus sent His disciples out to preach to the world, He gave them a number of instructions and reminders.
The entire list is most interesting.
It's in
Matthew Chapter 10.

For purposes of this article -
let's look at two of them.

Mt 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

While it may not be popular or politically correct to look at life this way -
it is important to live life the way God intended -
it is important to follow His commands -
because ultimately -
He is going to decide where we go after we die -
after our time in this life is over.

Not that smoking isn't bad for your health -
but smoking - in and of itself -
isn't going to send one to Hell.
It isn't really taking care of your body as God's Temple -
but I don't know anywhere it says smoking will prevent entrance into Heaven.
As Christians - we are told to take care of God's Temple - our bodies -
so we probably really shouldn't smoke.

Drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is interesting.
Drinking alcohol - at any age - to excess is a problem.
If one drinks too much - there are plenty of instances in the Bible where it warns about the dangers of what that can lead to.
However - there are also plenty of examples where drinking wine was a normal and acceptable part of life. After all - Jesus would not have turned water into wine if drinking that wine was automatically a sin.
Again - as Christians - there are things we shouldn't do - and drinking to excess is likely to make us more inclined to do some of those things -
so we shouldn't do that either.

The car seat - I don't know that's a health issue - maybe more likely a legal one.
If you were alive long enough -
you remember when seat belts were first put in cars -
and finally required.
It was to keep people from being thrown from cars in an accident and being killed.
These same seat belts weren't doing enough to protect little kids -
and could cause even more harm.
Sort of a health issue I guess - maybe.
Certainly a life and death issue.
Again though - as Christians -
we should be taking care of the people in our families -
or others who are relying on us to take care of their kids if we are driving them -
so seat belts and car seats are things that we should be doing.

The issue with this particular law though -
barring parents from "curing" gay children -
one of the unintended consequences -
is that it leads to a conflict between what the law says -
versus what we - as Christians - are told by God.

I don't even know about kids deciding they are gay.
Is it that they really decide and "know" that -
or is it because there's so much stuff on TV where they are told it's not only OK -
but it's something to embrace -
and in the case of one new TV show - it's the New Normal.

We are taught - going back to even the early parts of the Old Testament -
that there are all sorts of sins related to sex -
one of them being engaging in sex with someone of the same gender.
Of course -
there's also the part about pre-marital sex -
which is a issue here as well -
because two people of the same sex cannot be married -
at least not as God defines marriage.

One of the comments on the FoxNews.com site when I read this said that the person knows that God loves homosexuals - so leave them alone.

No argument there about whether God loves homosexuals - He does.

However - He also says it's wrong.

Jesus died so that we may confess our sins - repent - sin no more - and live with God again.

In the Parable of the Two Sons - Matthew 21:28-32 - Jesus said -

Mt 21:28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

Mt 21:29 “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

Mt 21:30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

Mt 21:31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Essentially - Jesus is saying it's the actions - not the words - that count.

When we say that we'll accept Jesus -
His teachings -
His commands -
that we will follow Him -
and then we don't -
that's a problem.

When we say that God loves homosexuals -
that's absolutely true.
He loves everyone -
why wouldn't He love them too?
He loves even the worst people that ever lived.
I dare say - if even Judas had asked forgiveness from Jesus -
he would have received it.

The problem comes when we say that God loves people who sin -
but that they don't have to change.
He does love them -
He loves all of us -
even though we all sin.

But -
He loves us -
all of us -
too much to leave us the way we are.

He doesn't want any of us to stay the way we are.
We are all so far from living the life that Jesus did -
we all commit sins -
we all must ask forgiveness -
we all must move towards living a life centered by Jesus.

No one is exempted from this.

Some would say that Christians hate homosexuals -
even some Christians would say this.

If they do -
then they are not following what Jesus says.
They are like the son who said he would go work in the vineyard -
but then didn't.
They said they would follow what Jesus taught -
they said they would move towards life as He wanted -
but they didn't.

Some would say that there's nothing wrong with being homosexual -
even some Christians would say this.

If they do -
They also are not following what Jesus says.
They are like the son who said he would go work in the vineyard -
but then didn't.
They said they would follow what Jesus taught -
they said they would move towards life as He wanted -
but they didn't.

The ultimate example of how we're supposed to live comes in a scene where the Jewish Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was caught in an act of adultery. We see this in John 8:1-11 -

Jn 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Jn 8:9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

Jn 8:11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

And there we have it -
we are not to condemn people ourselves -
and the one who has violated one of God's laws -
that person will be forgiven -
and that person is commanded to leave their life of sin.

No more -
no less.

While Satan would be most delighted with this new law -
the people who are in favor of it are bringing about what I can only hope are unintended consequences.

With a law like this -

parents would be breaking a state law when trying to follow God's law to protect their children from His commands.

mental health professionals could be breaking a state law by even discussing this with their clients - even if the client brings it up.

Christian based health professionals could be breaking a state law on both of the above counts.

In the end -
the other laws referenced as health concerns essentially served two purposes -

they did result in presumably healthier (or just simply still living) people who could have suffered grave consequences with their earthly / carbon based bodies.

they also were in line with God's commands to us as His people.
True enough - the reason for doing these "healthy" things should be because it's His desire for us to do them - not because the state makes us do it.

So - the motivating factor isn't the one that God would want from us -
but at least they aren't in conflict.

With this proposed law -
the state law is in direct conflict with God's law.

This reminds me of Jesus' warning to the Church in Pergamum -
Revelation 2:12-17 -

To the Church in Pergamum

Rev 2:12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

Rev 2:14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in Pergamum.

The comfort to those of us who live here and truly try to follow what God tells us -
that comes at the end of the Letter to the Church in Pergamum -

Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Unintended Consequences