Hello! So I guess I am heating up with questions at the moment as I read through and contemplate different things this morning. I always look to Daniel for help in how to navigate honoring God in a culture and society that doesn’t, because he didn’t use feigned heroics (“I’m a real martyr”) to honor God, but he was humble in how he approached anything he felt was directly contradicting his faith. However, that does not mean Daniel did not participate in that culture. He worked in the palace as a high-ranking palace official! That being said, I can’t imagine that some of what he participated in indirectly participated in cultural practices that were not necessarily God-honoring. So…my question is, in a culture in which homosexual marriage is being presented as normal and okay and being protected by the law, how far do we go in having a hand in that? In other words, was the florist right to refuse to arrange and sell wedding flowers for an engaged homosexual couple? Was the clerk right to refuse to sign a marriage certificate or marriage certificate request (I can’t remember what exactly it was) for a homosexual couple? Or were there other actions or avenues that could have been taken? Are we only participating in the sin if we are the ones marrying the couple? Just by opting to live in a nation where the law is “okaying” homosexual marriage, it could be said that we are indirectly participating in that sin, so where do we draw the line as to what is actually dishonoring God with indirect/direct participation (if that makes sense)? Do you think Daniel could shed any light on how to handle these situations?
I like how you captured the essence of the struggle we all feel. While I was reading your post I remembered the movie called “Hacksaw ridge”. If you haven’t seen it, you should! It’s a biography about war time. A guy wanted to join the army yet didn’t want to hold a gun because of his belief. He managed to do so amazingly. Let me know what you think about this idea in the movie as it resonates with what you are saying.
I assume that the florist could have arranged the flowers for them without agreeing on that belief but as long as he couldn’t find that ease in his heart towards it, then it’s okay. Coz if you are selling bread in a bakery to a lot of customers who could be adulterers, thieves or liars, would you be condemned for doing so? The clerk’s situation is completely different I guess as his “business” is a spiritual one. What he does actually has an authoritative nature. And if he does so, he is implying to his flock that this is a biblical thing and it’s ok to do so. He would be misleading his people unlike the florist whose situation could be more understandable.
What do you think?
Hey, there, Sara @saraisaac! Finally, I am able to respond to this! You have some great thoughts here, so thank you for that, and yes, I’ll look into watching that movie! I rarely have time to watch movies these days, so I will add it to my list .
So, my issue with comparing arranging flowers or making a cake for the wedding of two people of the same sex with selling bread to a sinful humanity is that those two are not comparable situations. It is important to be able to make clear distinctions with situations so that we are not comparing apples to oranges. In this comparison, the first could be considered to participate in celebrating someone’s sin since it is directly serving the sin act (the Bible expressly points out that love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth–1 Corinthians 13:6). (I could argue with myself on that point here, but I won’t because it will con volute things a bit too much). The second–selling bread to people even though they are sinners–has absolutely nothing to do with supporting their sin. Selling bread to someone who is engaged in adultery does not help them celebrate their adultery. If we refrain from arranging flowers or baking a cake for a couple that is homosexual, we are refraining from participating in sin (according to some). If we refrain from selling bread to people because of knowing they are engaged in some sin, we are not refraining from anything but, rather, engaging in punishment–which we have no right to do.
My question I have for you here is, how are you discerning between which situation has a spiritual nature and which one does not? Is it just based on whether or not one has authority in the situation? Or do you think there are other factors? Do you think we are we only held accountable for participating in sin when we do so from a position of authority? Do you think that a situation is only spiritual when it has to do with the actions of one in authority?
Also, the court clerk that signs marriage certificates here in the US is a purely governmental position, in case you didn’t know. It is not a clergy or ministerial position in a church, so he/she is not leading a flock :). I was wondering if that would change your opinion in light of my understanding of your view of spiritual responsibility of ministers and those who are not official ministers of a church.
Thanks so much for responding! Looking forward to hearing from you
@psalm151ls this is an excellent question and something I myself have spent a lot of time contemplating, praying about and attending teachings on. We see many accounts in scripture of people who are used by God in powerful ways while serving ungodly governments; Esther and Daniel are good examples as is Joseph who became the prime minister of Egypt! What we learn from these stories is that these saints who went before us (when I say saint, I mean as you and I are saints), did not conform to the ungodly practices of the country and obeyed God’s law.
Some of the examples you have given are not clear commandments in scripture so here we need to pray and ask what Holy Spirit would want us to do. Obviously, the bible teaches us that homosexuality is a sin but so is living with someone you are not married to, stealing, coveting somebody’s spouse. I cannot say whether the clerk was right or wrong as I can see scriptures to argue for both sides (Romans 1:26-27 v Romans 13:1).
I myself, like Daniel and Joseph, work for a government in a faraway land. At times I am asked to do things that are contrary to scripture and my conscience. To this point, I have refused and instead of getting in trouble I have been promoted (like Daniel and Joseph). Please pray that I can keep this up because, at the end of the day, it is Jesus who I will judge me when I see him and to whom I will give account to.
You are most definitely right to be looking to these saints to find the answer to your questions, but the individual needs to pray and seek the Lord’s guiding in each situation. I hope this helps to answer your question somewhat
Oh I didn’t know that. It’s different here. I mean the pastors usually handle the paperwork and the signing and stuff. So I figured out the clerk is a pastor or sth. Thanks for the clarification!
I think @brianlalor really said it well. I second every word he said.
Every thing we do has “spiritual imapct” or arise from spiritual urges but not every thing we do is “spiritual business”.
We all have authority over something or someone. Does it vary? I don’t think that needs an answer.
There’s an absolute Biblical teaching about this type of authority when talking about church leaders.
Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Hebrew 13:17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
1 Timothy 3: 1-13 speaks of how those leading churches are somehow asked to be blameless in a way that maybe not the rest of the church members are required to live up to. Verse 6: Would we kick out a recent convert? No. Would you allow them to become pastors? No. The bible lays a higher standard there.
I think I disagree with you on what “participating in sin” means in this discussion. So, I don’t think I should answer this question.
But Daniel’s friends were asked to worship a golden image, he was asked to abandon prayer, Joseph was asked to commit adultery. The flourist is just doing what he is doing every day. The context of his job would be different, yeah. But he is not celebrating anything nor encouraging. I don’t think the analogy is like comparing oranges to apples. As the baker is not encouraging homosexuality by selling bread to homosexuals, the flourist is neither promoting nor agreeing on homosexuality when he agrees to provide his services. But a pastor would! I think the way you perceived it was, ‘No. I am mad about the sin not the sinner’. Will not selling the flowers combat the sin? A pastor’s actions have a different echo.