Friday, February 11, 2005

Love and Acceptance

I saw it coming. It was as plain as the Garfield balloon coming down Broadway toward Herald Square on Thanksgiving Day. And I winced, awaiting the final dramatic climax of the plot. It wasn't going to be pretty. Sure enough, I was right.

The show was er, one of my wife's favorite programs, and one that I still tolerate even though it is a shadow of what it once was. Last night's show saw Dr. Carrie Weaver finally meeting her biological mother for the first time after a four year search. Since the character first appeared on the show, she's had a strangely dark and lonely life. Finally she found a bright spot. She and her bio mom spent time getting to know each other -- mom, the formerly troubled teen turned Christian who had been saved from despair by the church and daughter Carrie, the lesbian. I'll bet you can see it coming too, can't you?

So the gay thing comes up, the Christian is horrified and the lesbian is disgusted at the intolerance of this fundamentalist. The daughter stormed off. The two made one last attempt at a reconciliation. Mom said she would gladly love her long lost daughter, but Carrie insisted, "But can you accept me?" The horribly intolerant, hate-filled, holier-than-thou, judgmental Christian refused. (At least that was the subliminal message I was receiving.) Then Carrie uttered the words which echoed in my brain: "If you can't accept me, I don't want your love."

Of course I realize that a television show is not usually going to handle deep theological issues very well, so the stereotypical responses from the mother character didn't surprise me. But I was taken aback by the beautifully summarized statement of sinful rebelliousness. "If you dare tell me that I'm doing something wrong, I don't want any part of you." Or better put, "I hate people who think I'm wrong."

I think most people would be able to handle God if there wasn't that whole pesky "judgment thing" which comes along for the ride. If God would just accept us as we are, then there would be no problem. But if God says that her greed is wrong, then it's "Forget you, God!" and that's the end of it. No need for God's love if He can't allow me to be my own lord.

That even looks weird to type it. What a freaky way to look at life, offering our token worship and devotion so long as I am never forced to live up to the words, "Jesus is lord." But what the average non-believer forgets is that God offers acceptance of the sinner, but still condemns the sin. If we choose the sinful lifestyle instead of our Creator then why would we even fantasize about God's love. Yet there are many who choose sin and will only accept God's love if He accepts their sin as "right" or at least right for him. A man basing acceptance of God's love on God not only looking the other way at his sin, but honoring his sin is a logical dissonance, to say the least.

In our own way, we all struggle with this issue. It may not be a matter of rejecting God's love, but we sure hate giving up our pet sins. Satan knows my weaknesses. And truth be told, I don't even need Satan to lead me to temptation because I can find it just fine on my own, thank you. But with His strength I can resist and not try to force my sinfulness down the Father's throat. I truly am loved. Despite God not accepting the sin, I thank Him that He accepts this sinner and offers me His love. And I am very grateful that He accepts the repentance of anyone who calls on Him -- especially me.

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