Love, Slavery and Kim Davis

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten no where. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”          1 Corinthians 13:3-7 MSG

I just finished a really great book, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It’s set in the early 1800’s and is a work of historical fiction featuring the life of Sarah Grimke. Sarah was born into an aristocratic family in Charleston where slavery was the norm. From a very young age, she was appalled by slavery, becoming the first female abolitionist, speaking for equality for slaves and also for women. (True story.) One line I just love: “Now gentleman, if you will kindly take your foot off our necks…!”

The United States of America has many things to be ashamed of. The whole story of bringing men, women and children to America and enslaving them is at the top of  the “abhorrent behavior list” if you ask me. I think what is even more appalling however, is the way good Christian saints used the Bible to justify enslaving human beings. Scriptures such as “Slaves obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling,” (Ephesians 6:5) and “Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters in every respect,” (Titus 2:9) were common verses plucked from the Bible to justify their sin.

Involuntary slavery is sin, isn’t it?

I mean, pretty much everyone, Christian or not, would agree that the slavery that existed in our country, followed by years of continued injustice even after the slaves were emancipated was sin and is something we should be ashamed of.  The scriptures that were plucked from the Bible were inappropriately applied to justify sin.

(Switching gears) I have been thinking a lot about the whole Kim Davis thing for many days. Yesterday, this image made me sick to my stomach.

Huckabee-Davis

Now, I don’t talk politics much. I happen to have been a fan of Mike Huckabee. But quite honestly, Kim Davis, along with her supporters such as Huckabee, is exhibiting some pretty big abuse of religious power, not to mention the waste of tax payer dollars in her quest to not do the job she was elected to do. I could go on and on about the abuse of her position, how I believe that she should have asked for a reassignment or resigned her post if her strong beliefs kept her from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. But what I feel most strongly about is this,

How much of the love of Jesus did Kim Davis show those people standing at her counter asking for a marriage license?

None, that’s how much! She had a beautiful opportunity presented before her to extend the love and grace of Christ Jesus to couple after couple (gay or straight) and instead, she chose hate and judgment. What Kim Davis did, in effect, was step on the necks of men and women in the name of Christ in her attempt to enslave them by her religious rhetoric. I think she forgot this,

“When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God  has made you also an heir.” Galations 4:4-5, 7

Now we can pluck out scripture after scripture to justify wagging our fingers at those who are gay and tell them all about what’s wrong with them. Sadly, that happens, and I’m afraid that we are following in our forefathers footsteps when they plucked scriptures out of the Bible to justify slavery. We could have a good long debate over that. But that’s not my point. My point is this: Regardless of what you believe, regardless of how you think God is going to judge people, above all things,

Love first. Love wins. Love is our command. Love NEVER fails.

Love is what Jesus called us to. Judging those whose lives are different than ours is not our call. Neither is condemnation, politicking, nor being a martyr by staying in jail for five days for your beliefs. The Apostle Paul said,

Without love you are nothing more than noise.

I want to be about love, not noise. How about you? Will you join me in being the love of Jesus to those whom the Holy Spirit sends to our schools, neighborhoods, workplaces and churches? You don’t have to agree with me or with someone’s lifestyle to choose love. But if you put love in first position, I believe the rest can fall into place the way only the Holy Spirit can do.

 

Tell me what you think

%d bloggers like this: