Cohabiting outside of marriage is clearly out of line with God’s good way for us. He wants us to have something much better than such a hollow relationship. I was talking about this yesterday in a presentation to Michigan District assimilation workers and other church leaders. I noted there are many good arguments from reason and social science why cohabiting (including between homosexual couples) is destructive to individuals, couples and society as a whole. But, I then moved on to the heart of my presentation … that logical argument will never be a very effective tool to reach the heart of those who are cohabiting. Real care for such persons requires the building of a trusting RELATIONSHIP. We who’ve received the perfect love of Jesus (“Thumbs Up” to Him), must be willing to invest the time and care it takes to build a trusting relationship with others if we ever want to pass on the love of Jesus to them.
Reinforcing this point was one source I referenced, former Syracuse University English professor and author Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. As a formerly vocal lesbian who vehemently opposed the Christian faith, she was liberated from her ultimately hopeless worldview … by the patient and persistent love of a Christian pastor and his wife. Rosaria notes that it was NOT argumentation that won her over. It was the willingness of this Christian couple to accept her as she was, welcome her into their home and let her ask her questions in her own time. Their caring relationship opened the door for the Holy Spirit to work through the Word of Christ to change her heart and life forever. You may want to read more from Rosaria in her book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.
It’s ultimately the Spirit of God working through Word and Sacraments that will set sinners free and draw them into an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, it’s our caring RELATIONSHIP with people that can prompt hardened or simply ignorant sinners to listen to us as we point them to Jesus, the Gospel center of all Scripture. If you care for those who are cheating themselves by cohabiting outside of God’s Way for marriage, don’t start with judgment and argumentation. Pray for them and pass along to them the same sacrificial, unconditional and incarnational love that Jesus gives to us. Such a trustworthy relationship is the most likely door to their freedom!
To see MY POWER POINT I shared yesterday, use THIS LINK.